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Ghost of Tsushima review
by Imants Ivanovs

Great game better than expected 11/10 hopefully any dlcs gonna come, took around 4 days to finish game. 
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
«Time-tested»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
«Sit back and relax»

Other reviews4

Buy it. Play it. Vote it for GOTY.
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»
Easily the best game of 2020 and just as solid a masterpiece in this medium as Seven Samurai was for film.
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
Journal Entry Review:

Generic prologue. Not bad, not good. But not that long which is appreciated. 

This game follows a very familiar open world game formula. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the formula works for a reason, it just needs to be executed well, and include minor improvements to keep it feeling newer and better than old games. Early on it feels like this will be the case.

The combat feels pretty sweet. I love the headband and the cape flapping in the wind look. Very cool.

Those final finishing moves they do on you are great. Also the load times are so fast which is awesome.

The wind, blowing leaves, and wildlife instead of waypoints is such a good idea and is very well executed. The games biggest strength so far is how amazing the map is and the wind compass helps you appreciate it. The graphics are amazing, not as good as RDR2 or TLOU2 but near the best graphics I’ve seen, the lighting and fog is especially well done. The art direction is fantastic. If anything in this game is 10/10 I’d give it to the art direction. The use of the different bright colours, the sheer number of trees, the leaves blowing in the wind, the tall grass swaying, the rolling hills and valleys, the very long load distance. It all comes together so well. The world feels alive. It’s very well done, it really feels epic traveling across this mystical island.

There are a few faults I’ve noticed early on though. The AI is quite bad when playing stealth sections. Enemies stand still staring forward for a ridiculous amount of time. I will be playing this game aggressively because I think the combat is great and the stealth mechanics, early on at least, are nothing special at all. I also wonder if some of these quests or activities like the fox, or haikus will get old. I hope there aren’t too many or they somehow continue to change things up. 

Story wise I still think it’s pretty generic. Not bad, but it isn’t drawing me in that much either. It’s hit and miss for whether the quest intros or conclusions are entertaining. I’m less concerned with individual peoples problems and more just taking in the vibes and tones of the game.

First impressions lead me to predict this will be better than jedi fallen order and days gone, worse than HZD, and probably worse than Spider-Man, but you never know. It might catch Spider-Man if it continues to grow.

This game is significantly more enjoyable when stoned. Some games get worse, some get better, for some it doesn’t really make a difference. This one is a lot more fun when stoned because the world and combat is so epic. The main character is very dry. He is supposed to be this Samurai who is in control of his emotions but sometimes it comes off as an emotionless boring protagonist when sober. When playing stoned I’m more appreciative  of his stoic performance. I’m more invested in the epic battle between the mongols and the residents of Tsushima. I’m more invested in the simple side quests like following that fucking fox, or chilling in the hot springs, or embracing my inner samurai and writing a haiku. They are nice little breaks from the hectic combat and because the terrain is so impressive I don’t mind exploring this world just to sit in a hot springs bath.

I love the combat. Its so smooth. It’s continuing to get better as I unlock more gear, stances, and moves. I’m playing on hard and either I’m really good or it’s not really that difficult a game because I feel like a badass Samaria who can’t be stopped. If I cant tell whether the game is easy or I am amazing at it thats the sign of great combat.

Wow the the tengu demon boss fight was amazing. I died so many times. Very epic sword fight. That whole long bow quest was great. Following the blue hydrangeas to those sweet locations felt like an epic journey and that boss battle was a great way to cap it off. 

This game has some high highs and then has some things that it’s mediocre at. The NPCs feel quite static. Their movements are static. Sometimes characters walk into walls in funny ways. It isn’t super polished in that regard. The villages themselves have an older video game feel to them. It isn’t fair to compare every new open world game to the greatest game of all time, RDR2, but it’s hard not to. The environment feels so alive in GoT, but the NPCs do not. 

The quest design so far has been quite generic. It is saved though by the interesting world and pleasing combat.

Also playing this game with the full 3D headphones makes it better. It has nice 360 degree sound. You can hear where arrows and swings are coming from which is helpful and immersive. The Japanese music when travelling is way better with headphones on. With headphones it’s peaceful, it’s what it’s supposed to be.

A couple of the main missions have been pretty good. The stealth sections were better but still not good. A couple large combat scenes took place and it was enjoyable to go full out and really test out the gear and new moves.

Yup I’m doubling down on my view that this is a great stoned game. One of the best.

I’m now starting Act 2.

The fox quests are probably my least favourite. The climbing to shrines have been getting pretty good though. I like those and the bamboo cutting. Haikus and hot springs havnt been too frequent as of yet, it’s still enjoying exploring the map to find them. The best quests have been the legendary gear quests. The intros are epic, they have led to some fantastic looking areas and the boss fights are great. All of the boss fight duels I’ve really enjoyed.

The cosmetics have been better than expected. I didn’t think I would care but I actually like experimenting with my ghost’s appearance. Jedi fallen order should have had this level of cosmetic customization. This is done way better. 

The map section in Act 1 was unreal and the opening to Act 2 has been just as good while also switching it up. Not only are the lush colourful forests amazing to play through but the burnt valleys of war, the swamps, the beaches, the bamboo forrest all look amazing and keep this world feeling fresh.

The enemies have gotten tougher which is appreciated and was necessary.

Stealth missions where you can’t kill the enemies suck. Straight up bad. Fortunately there has been very few so far. Hope it stays that way

Even more fortunately this game has some of the best combat I’ve ever played though. It’s not as good as God of War. But idk, for sword or melee combat this game is right near the top. Might be second place for me? 

Oh my god. I just did my first slaughter and it was amazing. Then it unlocked ghost stance which was equally epic. I fucking loved it.

I think duels are so fun. They have gotten less difficult as I’ve become one with the blade, but they still feel and look so good. I’m excited every time I get to do one. 

I’m loving unlocking the new gear cosmetics which I don’t usually care about but for whatever reason I’m really liking it in this game. Switching it up from the huge Samurai armour to the sweet robes and headbands has been fun and the outfit modifiers do make a subtle difference in how you can playz

Act 2 is definitely better than act 1. Near the end of act 1 I was a bit concerned that it was going to get repetitive and too easy, but it turns out I’m liking act 2 even more than the first. I continue to unlock new things and enemies continue to throw new tactics at you. I’m very much enjoying this game right now. Even though this game has some pretty glaring flaws and issues It’s still so much fun. The things I love about the game outnumber my complaints by a gigantic margin.

This is much much closer to Spider-Man levels of fun compared to jedi fallen order or days gone. This is top tier.

Overall the story is very meh. The side quest stories typically suck, there are a few exceptions. The main story doesn’t usually suck but usually it’s just average and generic, but with also with a few exceptions. “I am not your son. I am the ghost” was an exception. Very epic. Gave me nerd chills.

I am now starting Act 3. At this point I love this game.

It goes without saying but the map still looks great. The snowy sections and the new areas are also great. This map is probably my favourite open world map ever, the only competitor is RDR2. RDR2 was more grounded and felt real while this map feels like fantasy. Both are 10/10 for different reasons.

I am loving the game still but it has gotten very easy as of recently. Because I’ve done like every side quest and picked up like every resource I have had essentially a fully upgraded character for at least 3 hours and I would guess I still have around 4 hours of gameplay to go. So it is still fun feeling like a total badass, but act 2  was the best because the upgrades were coming in hot and heavy and the difficulty was a bit more challenging. I go into duels now and I’m like alright let’s put this guy to sleep fast, we’ve got a haiku to write just over this hill. 

I love some of the late game armour and customization. There are so many different options. It’s impressive.

You can mess around with different builds that let you play differently and it’s actually very well done. I have a pure health and melee damage build, I have an archer build, I have a resolve build where it’s all about generating resolve and using those combos, and lastly I’ve been using a fear build that has lots of ghost stance and people getting terrified. They all work well and play differently. It has made the late game fun even though it is pretty easy. I rarely die anymore, I’m a walking legend.

I’ve been playing this game for who knows how long. Feels like at least 30 hours, maybe 35 idk but it’s a lot. Anyways, I’ve only now unlocked the perk that lets you follow the wind to specific side activities so you can find the remaining ones. So before finishing the last few story missions I am travelling across the map doing the small side activities and I am still blown away by how cool this island is. I’m still riding my horse through these different sections thinking about how many crazy cool places they made in this map.

I just beat it. Final mongol mission was good not great. Again pretty generic and because I was so overpowered there really wasn’t a challenge. I don’t know if I died in the last 6 hours of the game from combat. If I did it was only once or twice due to not paying attention, it wasn’t due to the challenge. I thought the final ending with Lord Shimura was great, even though it was very predictable. It was still very effective and left me feeling the weight of my actions as the ghost.

Closing thoughts.

If I’m picking a single word to describe this game I don’t think you will be surprised by my choice: Epic. This game was epic.

If I was to describe this game as a sandwich I’d say its a pulled pork sando with fresh baked bread and fantastic slow cooked pulled pork, with a bit of generic coleslaw in there. Overall it’s a really great sando because the bread and meat is the focus. The veggies are just there because you need a bit of them and to facilitate a bit of crunch. It would be nice if they were fresher and better but the meat and bread is so damn good that I’m still looking forward to ordering it again and again.

Concise Review:

Amazing: The map, art design, presentation, and atmosphere are all amazing. The wind and wildlife as a compass is innovative. Ive never seen this amount of colour before and it works. The lighting is amazing. Load times are so fast, maybe 5 seconds.

Great: The combat feels great. Most of the combat aspects have been done before but they are executed very well. The use of different stances is innovative. Everything from the bow to the throwables to the swordplay feels right. Duels are fucking epic. Cosmetics are great.

Good: The gear and upgrades are well done. It doesn’t feel like a grind, the sense of progression and accomplishment is effective. The Legendary quests and occasional main story quests are quite good.

Average: general quest structure, majority of the side quests, overall story

Bad: The stealth gameplay and the enemy AI should be better for a AAA 2020 release. It’s noticeably bad and I made conscious decisions to not bother going in quiet. The NPCs at villages are stiff and lifeless, it takes away from the immersion.

Awful: non lethal stealth missions

Final Score: A
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