Ghost of Tsushima (PS4)

  • I’m finally done with Ghost of Tsushima. It’s a bad game. Here’s why.

    The biggest problem is lack of coherent vision, besides “let’s make a samurai game”. It tries to mimic cinema with long dramatic intros for each boss encounters, and simultaneously presents "100% videogame" climbing challenges for each shrine. It removes all HUD but keeps showing the same climbing tutorial even after you finish the campaign. It tries to cultivate “let’s go to that thing in the distance” exploration, but very often surround you with dense Morrowind-style fog. It wants to give you a faithful impression of wielding a katana, but spears send you flying like it’s a grenade explosion. And so on and so on. I can’t remember the last time I’ve played a game that felt so disjointed.

    Another problem is that the world feels completely lifeless and artificial. Every NPC in every settlement is completely stationary and doesn’t react to your actions. Different cities and different regions blend together, because they lack any distinct details. I would accept this if the game tried to mimic real location (nearby settlements in one country shouldn’t be that different), but when summer and winter regions are separated by hundreds of meters, you know that this map has nothing to do with real place. Especially with those Uncharted-style climbing challenges. Yes, there is a basic satisfaction of finding every point of interest in a region, but you can get this in almost any open-world game.

    The game is very lacking in animation department. I’ve already mentioned static NPCs, but it’s not just that. Each time you use a boat to reach a ship, or light a campfire, the game just fades in and out. Every boss battle is introduced with exactly the same animation. Character faces barely express any emotions.

    AI isn’t great. Companions are almost useless in combat even though they shouldn’t be plot-wise. Enemies can see you from the great distance but pay no attention to loud explosive battles right around the corner. And some enemies that see you are just standing, waiting to be killed.

    Many things feel unfinished. Wind can appear indoors. Enemy’s sound effects keep playing after you kill them. You can’t talk to a character while he’s running to the target spot. Your horse often fails to come to you if you summon it while running. Even in one-on-one battles your attacks often go in opposite direction.

    But the most disappointing are the quests. They are very repetitive, even the main ones: you listen to some dialog, go somewhere, kill some dudes, listen to more dialog. Maybe you need to sneak, but that’s rare. That’s it. The place you are fighting doesn’t impact the combat. Every story is about honor and/or invasion. There’s no choice and no surprises: you can see how your character will approach each situation a mile away. Reserved voice performance coupled with non-expressive facial animations make every character bland, which pushes quests even further from being memorable. Mythic Tales are much better, but there are very few of them. Co-op campaign is also good, but again, it’s short.

    If you in love with Samurai lore, this game may scratch that itch, but otherwise it’s a 5 out of 10.

  • @ffff0 Ah man, as someone who loves this game it's a bummer that you didn't like it. I can't say I agree with most of the stuff you said, but it's not uncommon to see those complaints among the people that didn't like this game (at least in my experience so far), so there's something there I guess.

  • @bam541 If someone doesn't like your favorite game, it doesn't make it any less special for you. So, don’t be bummed. After all games are art and art doesn’t affect everyone the same way.

  • @ffff0
    Your review has me a bit bummed too but after reading it, I feel like I’d get annoyed with all of those same problems. I don’t love open world in the first place and so the little things would likely grind me down.

    Hell, I’ve struggled to finish Horizon Zero Dawn twice now. I’ll be playing and those plastic Woody from Toy Story faces with very little facial expression just throws me for a loop. My girlfriend doesn’t even like when I play that one cause it creeps her out. And that’s supposed to be one of the good open worlds.

    Ghost of Tsushima looks cool to me because of the vivid world, animals running around, and the slow mo combat gifs I’ve seen. But I think I’d lose my shit if I had to bring my map up every 2 seconds.


  • @dipset By the way, at least when I played it the "animals running around" tended to be glitchy af. Birds animated like animatronics, had tens of dears running against me and my horse with 0 AI and often I would reach a zone where a group of dears were just frozen for 2 seconds and then coming alive as if waiting for me to "exist".

  • @dipset If it's any consolation, I rarely open the map since I usually just rely on the visual cues of the environment to explore the island, and I only open the map for like a couple seconds to track objectives and such every once in a while, so I think this depends on the player's approach to the game. I also rarely used fast travel until I had to find all the collectibles for the platinum trophy, and that also helps me avoid using the map.

  • I hit credits tonight. I need still need to mop up the last part of the map for the Platinum but overall I’m really impressed. Probably my favourite game this year so far. But I’ve still got Hades, Cyberpunk and Bugsnax to play.

    I think my biggest disappointments are that practically every side quest ends with a whimper. Like, they’re interesting sure, but I expected something with a bit more umph to really leave a lasting impression.

  • I just got the Plat, so now I'm watching the Spoiler Mode.

    I'm amazed at what I'm hearing.

    Buffer Buffer Buffer BufferBuffer BufferBuffer BufferBuffer BufferBuffer BufferBuffer BufferBuffer BufferBuffer BufferBuffer BufferBuffer BufferBuffer Buffer

    They ALL killed Lord Shimura. Am I in the minority here? I'm completely out of the Zeitgeist. It just doesn't seem like the right choice to kill him. Yes, it's the honourable thing to do. Being spared by the Ghost after being tasked with taking his head is without a doubt going to cause him a lot of shame for the rest of his life. But he's supposed to be Shito. He's supposed to be training the Samurai how to defeat the Mongols, a fact he tells Jin not 5 minutes earlier. It seems completely against the "Moral" of the story, that honour is important but not at the sacrifice of others. I absolutely hated doing it, but sparing him absolutely feels like the difficult but moral choice here.

  • @hazz3r spoilerspoilerspolierslorpsirserspoilerspoilerspoielrsjsoerpilspispoilers

    I definitely see what you're saying, but on the other hand, I think Lord Shimura's beliefs are so strong, to the point that he would probably either underperform in his duties as the Lord (maybe deviating to some sort of schizophrenic state, even) or resort to killing himself not long after Jin spares him. The man talked so much about living up to the honor of being a samurai and such, I just can't see him not living his life as a empty husk of a man if he didn't die honorably right there. Also, since he's being tasked by the higher powers themselves to kill Jin, I don't think there's much of a future for him in the government if he fails.

  • @bam541 That last bit is a fair point I hadn't thought of.