Ghost of Tsushima: The Near-Perfect Storm

The most impressive thing about Ghost of Tsushima for me, is the way everything in the game manages to always tie in to the cohesive whole — the experience felt so very consistent tonally and thematically, all the while keeping the gameplay from feeling completely dissonant from the narrative — which is quite the feat for a sprawling, expansive open-world game.

By the time the credits rolled for me, I walked away feeling like everything in the game had fallen perfectly into place, without a single moment ever feeling wasted.

Once the title sequence passes, the game’s second greatest strength also becomes apparent: making exploring the open world feel organic and rewarding by changing up formulaic genre staples through small innovations that sum up to create a refreshing experience.

Jin Sakai’s character arc, which follows his descent from an honorable samurai lord and dutiful nephew, into the titular Ghost at the cost of casting away the traditions he’s grown up with all his life, personally resonated with me more than any other video game character’s has in quite a while.

I suspect it’ll keep me awake just thinking about it for a long time yet.

I’d go so far as to say this might be the best combat I’ve played in an open-world game — I’ve certainly never played one before where I was constantly itching for a fight simply because it was so much fun.

This is “The Samurai Power Fantasy” meticulously crafted, and perfectly distilled.

There’s a lot of other things that elevate the experience too — the music and sound design is top-notch. This is the first game that isn’t a JRPG that actually had it’s soundtrack stuck in my head, probably because it’s used so liberally throughout the game instead of being drowned out by the gameplay.

And the track “The Way of the Ghost” with the vocal rendition? Positively chilling.

However, my greatest complaint is with the game’s platforming. It’s not a deal-breaker, but there are numerous times when it just felt… janky and inconsistent.

This, I feel, is the only section where Ghost of Tsushima is truly outclassed by some of its peers in the genre.

There’s also something to be said about the game’s impeccable pacing across both gameplay and narrative: the way it manages to introduce something new just at the point that I began looking for it.

The pacing almost uncannily felt tailor-made for me specifically, like it knew exactly when to dole out the parts to ultimately form an amalgamation of nearly everything I’ve ever wanted since I first stepped into an open world years and years ago.

For my self-indulgent thought-spew on video games and esports. Co-host at the Off Cooldown Podcast (https://www.facebook.com/gaming/OffCooldown)

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