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Ghost of Tsushima review roundup - stunning visuals, solid combat, but no masterpiece

Published: 18:03, 14 July 2020
Sucker Punch Productions
A horseman with a bow in front of pagoda in Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima reviews are in so we've tried to save you some time and gauge the general consensus, which we can tell you already is pretty uniform.

We're normally used to a wider array of opinions but a large majority of Ghost of Tsushima agrees on just about every point. 

Right from the get-go, let us clarify - not hitting pure 100 on Metacritic does not constitute a trash game. If you prefer that sort of black and white thinking, well, I don't know - maybe go for Kurosawa mode?  

Visuals

The first pretty much unanimous point is - Ghost of Tsushima is one gorgeous game, or as Eurogamer put it, "utterly, undeniably, oppressively beautiful". Sucker Punch have crafted a living, breathing visual masterpiece, which The Guardian called the "most beautiful version of Japan ever conjured in code", and try as we might - it's hard to disagree.

Simply stunning landscapes are filled with particles that evoke a magical feeling and add weight to air - heck, the wind is your guide. Literally.

Most outlets admit to being sceptical about the no-UI model of Ghost of Tsushima, but most turned into believers, even more so considering the breathtaking landscapes on display. 

Sucker Punch Productions A samurai and bowman standing in sunset in Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima

Combat

Ghost of Tsushima's combat looks like it hit Sucker Punch's mark. It's a deliberate affair that feels very much like some of Akira Kurosawa's iconic scenes. 

The four stances are helpful and learning to handle them feels satisfying. "Swords feel deadly and action is instant [...] You can interrupt swings to pull your sword up for a parry. It’s no button masher", VG247 said. 

IGN wrote that "swordplay manages to stay challenging, rewarding, and fun throughout", an opinion which is mostly echoed by their Japanese branch, who found katana combat to be unmatched so far. 

Sony screenshot from ghost of tsushima showing samurai in combat Ghost of Tsushima

Stealth

Same cannot be said about stealth, which ended up feeling like more of an afterthought than a playstyle. Jin's options make it somewhat of a formulaic experience, further held back by questionable AI. 

"If you creep up behind a man who’s crouched, he will politely stand up so you can stab him in the neck and play the animation out", VG247 said, which speaks volumes to those who know what's expected from stealth games today.

Progression

Once again, most outlets agree that the progression through Ghost of Tsushima can feel a bit jerky, with too little attention paid to side quests and their importance in immersing one into the world. "Anytime you're not engaged in combat, a lot of these quests, especially side quests, can feel like a drag", Gamespot said. 

The Guardian's take is perhaps most comprehensive, as it points at a greater issue that's very much common for the genre. "Ghost of Tsushima follows a dispiritingly familiar trajectory of a frustrating first few hours, where enemies are powerful and everything is difficult; an exciting middle act where the game feels thrillingly conquerable; and a tedious latter half where enemies fall like skittles before you", they wrote.

Sucker Punch Productions A man leading a horse across a field in Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima

Conclusion

We didn't list a smattering of issues such as no enemy-locking or camera glitches in confined spaces, as we expect Sucker Punch to address them soon, so the question is - is Ghost of Tsushima a disappointment? 

And the answer is - not by any stretch of the imagination. At the time of writing, it's at 84 on Metacritic, which is a quite respectable score. 

Ultimately, we're talking about a solid game that's not without its flaws, but whose look and feel are unique enough to warrant a playthrough. Just make sure you don't waste your life on Ghost of Tsushima's Photo Mode - you've been warned. 

Ghost of Tsushima, a samurai adventure by Sucker Punch Studios

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A man with an axe running through a forest in SCUM
Ghost of Tsushima

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