All about Ghost of Tsushima, the open world of samurai
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Ghost of Tsushima has been a mystery almost since its announcement in 2017, and it has still managed to attract all eyes of PS4 gamers. It is easy to understand the reason: it takes the fantasy of the samurai and ninja world to the freedom of the open world, with production values that no game on this theme has had, and moves away from the most common topics that we find in the action titles starring these warriors of feudal Japan: demons, curses, zombies ... The game that Sucker Punch herself dreamed of making and no one had dared.
A very ambitious and spectacular project within the reach of the developer of PlayStation Studios with more experience in this field, creators of the Sly Cooper saga –the fun platforms of PS2- and the inFamous series –inspired by comic superheroes, for PS3 and PS4 -. Ghost of Tsushima is the result of all those influences that we had seen in some way in these games: action, stealth, parkour, exploration ... Of course, this time all with a wrapper inspired by historical events.
Among the survivors of this first wave, we have Jin Sakai, our protagonist. A warrior raised with the classic techniques of samurai and combat with honor, strategies that in this case are not always effective against enemies who use weapons unknown to the Japanese. Jin must evolve not only as a samurai but also as the origin of the ninjas, with abilities that allow eliminating large groups from the shadows. Jin is determined to drive out the invaders and protect his home.
Although Sucker Punch has already shown a promising demo of Ghost of Tsushima, the latest State of Play has allowed us to take a much deeper look and with the most definitive version of the game, reviewing aspects that we did not know and clarifying doubts in sections that had not been touched. One of the most important points will be the exploration, which is done with a practically non-existent interface during these situations.
The designers have managed to awaken our curiosity - in case the stunning graphics of the island were not enough - through clues such as the smoke from the bonfires that guide us to characters who ask for our help - they will reward us with new knowledge or materials - or places burned by the Mongol army. In addition, you can mark the place that interests you on the map, but instead of the typical indicator superimposed on the image that warns us of the meters that you have left to get there, here we get the wind to take us to that desired direction. As usual, exploring forests and remote areas of urbanizations will assault dangers, including wild animals that are hunting; Approaching them will put you in their sights, but it will be rewarding to go through every meter of this island, either collecting resources from plants - for crafts, consumables or changing the color of clothing - or looted homes. A way to keep immersion and an eye on the landscape that is accompanied by subtle clues from the areas - strange trees, birds that attract attention, anything that is out of place with the landscape - that will lead us to collectibles or secrets. In the case of foxes, these animals have been shown to give clues to local sanctuaries, where meditation brings rewards and the ability to use the sanctuary for quick travel. Sucker Punch knows that players expect much more from Ghost of Tsushima than an action game with katanas: the experience of a virtual trip to Japan with all the possibilities it offers.
The combat: samurai or ghost
Jin offers two styles of combat, and it will be up to us to choose which one suits each occasion according to the type of enemy or the number. The protagonist has been a samurai and duels with katana in an honorable way will offer those moments that we have seen in many movies such as Yojimbo or Sanjuro by Akira Kurosawa: it is not about launching crazy attacks, but sometimes a cut is enough precise and lethal. That has carried over to Ghost of Tsushima, and our enemies will study our footsteps before launching themselves insane. The samurai is not afraid of his rival, he faces a duel and can eliminate small groups with the edge of his blade or bow, and even deflect enemy arrows. It is difficult to assess your combat system without putting your hands on the pad, but it is clear that this is not a Musou or an arcade in which to hit the button of good results. Nor does it aspire to the toughness of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but there are movements to deflect attacks, block, and different positions aimed at optimizing combat against a specific type of enemy ... It is a dance with a lot of tension and, at least the most common enemies - We have seen classes with better armor and shields - they only need a few slashes to be defeated. It gives the impression of brutal combat, without artifice.
The other aspect of Jin is "the ghost", the ninja techniques that the character begins to study, and that allows him to act from the shadows even in a dishonorable way. Everything is allowed here, including dirty tricks, and the experience is closer to what many might expect from Tenchu-type games. Throwing distractions with fireworks or stones that take the enemy away from his watch post, instilling fear, assassinations from behind, silent shots with the bow, climbing by constructions to assault from heights thanks to the climbing hook, smoke bombs, the launch of the kunais ... Perhaps not all situations can be completed in complete silence, but when the enemy discovers us, we will have already finished off a good part of the group. Furthermore, our figure will start to scare the Mongols, who will flee when they see this silent assassin. Sucker Punch has shown part of a sabotage mission with both strategies and each has its own routes or dangers. Another section that we have known about the game is the customization of Jin, which will not only be aesthetic. The samurai uses more striking armor and clothing, while the ghost wears darker and lighter clothing. Armor gives different mechanical advantages, and we assume it will have effects on damage resistance. We will be able to equip omamori talismans, a type of active or passive abilities that include slow recovery of health out of combat or with the launch of bombs, poisonous traps, etc. This will incline our character to develop a type of technique and strategy.
Other surprises: the black and white filter
Ghost of Tsushima will include photo mode, something that is not an excessive surprise because Sucker Punch created in inFamous Second Son this option that most Sony games have followed after. It allows you to adjust filters of color, depth, the emotions of Jin, the direction of the wind, its intensity, the type of particles that flood the scene - dragonflies, leaves ... -, and even the background music that plays while you are looking for your perfect photograph. It is the way we know from other titles, but with even more options to get the most beautiful snapshot possible.
Although we already knew it, the developer has reiterated that the game will include in all its versions the Japanese dub with the option to select subtitles in another language. Yes, it will come in full Spanish, but if you want the most successful immersion or you are simply used to subtitled Japanese cinema, you will surely lean towards dialogues in Japanese. Speaking of cinema, and this is a novelty, it is confirmed that there is an option to play in black and white with dirt effects, imitating the golden age of this type of film. The truth is that at first it does not seem the ideal to enjoy the color of nature that Sucker Punch has captured, but it is there as an option and perhaps more than one will take advantage of it in the replayed games.
On sale July 17
Sucker Punch promises to show us more of the game ahead of its release on June 17 on PS4. Much remains to be known, including the type of primary and secondary missions - The Witcher 3 raised the bar in this section and players expect more than just gathering or hunting orders - or the different areas that make up the island; We know that the State of Play demo takes place in the "forest of no return", starring stories with a dark tone. And of course, there will be time to talk about its fantastic setting with dynamic weather, procedural simulation of its skies, the constant movement of nature, the soundtrack of the composer Shigeru Umebayashi and all the possibilities of his combat. Little by little, Ghost of Tsushima is emerging as what could be the first in a new hit series within PlayStation Studios.