Why I'm Pumped for the Ghost of Tsushima
I’ve always loved feudal Japan and its stories. The concept of respect and honor, even in the throes of combat, is something I’ve always found particularly attractive. Something about maintaining a sense of control and poise no matter what you faced was the epitome of cool - even when your life is threatened. So you better bet your dadgum life that I was pumped to learn about Ghost of Tsushima! I can’t wait to get my hands on this in..well I’m a dad so let’s be honest…2023...when it’s 20 bucks and my daughter is 6.
It’s most likely the final triple-A title coming to the PS4 and I can’t think of a better way to to close out the console’s term than getting my fill of swishy-swipey-stab-stab-bad-guy-go-bye-bye.
For starters, it’s made by Sucker Punch, the developers of the Sly Cooper and, more importantly, the Infamous franchise. I had a blast with Infamous back in the day, so the company automatically garnered some goodwill in my book. I have lots of hope for dynamic gameplay and an engrossing story. This may be a lofty claim, but watching the trailers gave me a sense of a Rockstar or Naughty Dog's work. If SP sticks the landing, they may find themselves among the pantheon of video game greats.
Recently, I learned the game is historical fiction! Sucker Punch has placed an original story and characters into real events and real places, a la Assassin’s Creed. Based in the 1700's, the game will see our hero recover and retaliate after the Mongols invade the very real island of Tsushima.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. I know looks aren’t everything, but THIS GAME IS GORGEOUS! I may just buy it to stare at my TV and drool. For crying out loud look at the bead of SWEAT just idling down this dude’s face!
And because it looks so good, the producers at SP wisely opted for a minimalistic HUD. Instead of navigating with compasses and such, you will rely on atmospheric and environmental cues to find your way. Wildlife, weather, and wind will draw your attention to points of interest: a stiff breeze will show you the direction to travel; a bird or fox will draw your focus to potential piece of loot. Cutting out the clutter and innovating new ways to accomplish your goals in games is something I hope to see more of in the future.
Also, photo mode! I didn’t care at first. You can take photos in most any game nowadays, but then I learned at how intricate it was. Not only are you able to control the camera, but the emotions of the character, the color, the filters, the DADGUM WEATHER! I’m a filmmaker by trade and I’m ALL about 'dem compositions. SP has graduated the photo mode from something that takes screenshots to something that lets you create cells of a classic Kurosawa film! Makes a grown man clutch his pearls and gasp, "Oh my stars and garters"
Beyond the “Ooh! Shiny!” factor, there are two play styles. This one is going to be tough for me, because I happen to be a fan of both, which ensures that I play it multiple times (I see what you did there, Sucker Punch). I can either face my opponents head-on and glory in the deliberate, decisive sword slashes that bring bad guys to their knees, OR I can play stealthily.
Guys, I LOVE stealth games. I’m an enormous fan of the Splinter Cell franchise (do you hear me, Ubisoft? 2013 since your last installment) and the idea that you’re a one man army that can only be discovered when YOU want to be is such a rush! A threat to the enemy that they’re oblivious to? Don’t tell me that doesn’t make you feel powerful!
And so many great touches like being able to bow to your enemy after they’re slain, cleaning your blade after a battle, and one-on-one duels! Fun fact: You remember those classic duels you saw in the samurai movies? Where they pull their swords out and down a baddie with one swipe? There’s actually a name for that: Iajutsu - the art of drawing from a sheathe. See? The Dadgum Nerds brand is fun AND educational!
So, to summarize: yeah, I’m excited! Now I can pick up the controller and stop playing with stick in the yard -- I mean, uh -- I can stop doing push-ups and chopping wood and other manly stuff…Seriously, stop looking at me like that. I don’t use sticks for sword fights in my backyar -- STOP JUDGING ME!
There’s WAY more to this game, but those are the ones that appeal to me personally. Any thoughts? Let me know what I missed in the comments below!