Let me get this out of the way and start off by saying that I am a huge Assassin’s Creed fan. I own all of the first-party titles and a majority of the spinoffs. Ghost of Tsushima (GoT for the rest of this review) is very similar to that of an Assassin’s Creed game in that you use a combination of stealth and combat to overcome your enemies and you gain a variety of weapons, tools, and skills as the game progresses to assist you in defeating tougher bosses, link together sweet combos, and explore what the world has to offer. With that said, GoT also has it’s own personal touches to make known that this is, in fact, NOT an Assassin’s Creed game. If you didn’t read the title for some reason, this review will have no spoilers since I, myself, am not that far into the story. I just wanted to get on here and share my thoughts on my experience so far and hope to help someone make their purchasing decision if they are on the fence about it.
I want to first get into the combat. The combat itself is pretty standard when it comes to 3rd person, open-world combat systems. There are several types of enemies that you encounter that have their own strengths and weaknesses (swordsman, shield, brute, spear, etc) that make make you parry/dodge and then attack. This makes you approach each enemy slightly different. Literally. GoT introduces Stances. There are a total of 4 different Stances that you can change into that help you deal with each type of enemy. There is Stone (used for Swordsmen), Water (Shieldmen), Wind (Spearmen), and Moon (Brutes). Each Stance gives you different combos and abilities that will, for example, help break through and Shieldman’s defense or parry a Swordman’s attack. To top it off, each Stance has their own upgradable moves that allow you deal more damage. The addition of Stances are one of the things that make you wonder what else can be added to this type of combat system to make it even more unique…? This is perhaps the most satisfying part of the game as you get the hang of it.
The stealth in GoT is only ‘OK’ I have to say. There’s items and upgrades that you can acquire to help you move more silently and lure enemies. It may be because I’m not that good at it, but I have yet to take down a whole camp/fort without starting some type of open combat. This is mainly because when one enemy finds a body, they all freak out and pair up, which makes it almost impossible for me to sneak up on. I feel as though the stealth in Assassin’s Creed is just a little more fleshed out but it’s practically the same.
The one thing that has captivated not only me but what seems like the majority of the player base is the world itself and the photo mode. I have played plenty of great games that look great and have a photo mode such as the more recent Assassin’s Creeds, Spider-Man, and God of War but this is the first time I have actually gotten into it and took some screenshots. The island of Tsushima is breathtaking and includes beaches, forests, mountains, and plains and then it is filled with villages, castles, and springs. The photo mode in GoT allows you change many aspects of your current environment such as the weather, time of day, and clouds but then really lets you get creative with filters, exposure, particles (leaves), and wind. Check out some of these screenshots I took:
For what it’s worth, GoT has everything that you could possibly want out of a samurai game and if you are into a game that lets you explore at your own pace, I highly recommend this. Along with the main story, there are plenty of side quests, collectables, outfits, weapons, and gear to be unlocked that definitely justifies the $60 purchase.