Ghost of Tsushima is the symbol of PlayStation success

Ghost of Tsushima is the symbol of PlayStation success
PlayStation Studios, as they have been known for some time, are Sony Interactive Entertainment's biggest selling point. This is not a particularly strange or unexpected statement, we are sure, but we believe that often one of the greatest achievements of these "first party" teams is not highlighted: the ability to regularly create new successful IPs, which manage to be loved by millions and millions of players since the first chapter. In this generation we have seen the birth of big names like Horizon Zero Dawn, Days Gone, Marvel's Spider-Man and, recently, Ghost of Tsushima.

Ghost of Tsushima is considered by everyone "the latest. great PS4 exclusive "before the arrival of PS5 (we ignore the fact that multiple exclusives are and will be cross-gen), but it is also (and above all) the great redemption of Sucker Punch. The team from Bellevue, Washington is well known to PlayStation fans, but since the beginning of the PS3 generation they have never shone as the "big brothers" - read Naughty Dog and Santa Monica Studio -.

After three chapters dedicated to inFAMOUS, funny works but which never managed to leave their mark, Sucker Punch has "closed" the PS4 generation with a new title, as the Cagnaccis had done at the end of the PS3 era with The Last of Us. The end result was a huge success: with more than 5 million copies sold (between July 17 and November 12, data from Hermen Hulst), the game is the fastest-selling original on PS4 of all first titles. party of Sony. What are the ingredients of this success?

Between reality and poetic license

Ghost of Tsushima was quickly labeled, in the most positive sense of the word, as the "Japanese Assassin's Creed" that fans have been asking Ubisoft for years , but that never came. This is a simplistic definition, but all in all not incorrect. Like the works of the French company, Ghost of Tsushima has exploited a setting and historical events to create a wide world in which to roam freely and have fun.

The year is 1274 and we find ourselves in the middle of the Mongol invasion of Tsushima Island, which gives its name to the game itself. As a (fictional) Lord Sakai - Jin for friends -, we suffer a great military defeat. Dying, we discover that almost every samurai is dead and that our uncle, head of the island, is a prisoner. With the help of a thief and a handful of other allies, we will have to free him and chase away the invading Mongols.

Along the way, however, Jin will find himself at a numerical disadvantage and will have to give up his samurai honor (which does not normally rely on indirect tactics) in order to get the better of enemies. Ghost of Tsushima therefore wants to accompany us in a war story, but also in a more introspective one, where the values ​​learned over a lifetime collide with the need to save those who are dear to us.

The ways of the sword and deception

Jin Sakai, as we said, is first of all a samurai and, in fact, in Ghost of Tsushima the combat system is mainly linked to hand-to-hand clashes. But don't imagine the brutality of a God of War or even just the pleasant chaos of a DMC. With the katana out, we will have to perform in choreographic ballets, last second deviations and style changes: Ghost of Tsushima will send us four types of enemies, in fact, and each of them will be weak to a specific sword art. With a quick key combination, we will change our attack moveset to more easily get the better of the enemy we are facing. Sucker Punch therefore prevents us from attacking with our heads down, without thinking, but asks us to remain focused and alert like a real samurai.

Taking on entire armies face to face, however, is never recommended. Ghost of Tsushima will allow us to (and will encourage us to) play in stealth mode as well. Again we are not far from a classic Assassin's Creed, with the ability to perform eliminations from multiple directions. There is also a series of tools such as bells to attract enemies to advantageous points, smoke bombs to attack stunned enemies or to flee, but also explosive bombs to clean up entire groups of opponents.

L the approach is free during the clashes but it is even more so in the exploration. From phase to phase, Ghost of Tsushima will unlock a new section of the island for us: we should not be in too much of a hurry to advance, however, because each region includes a large amount of side missions, collectibles, extra challenges and upgrades to recover. Nothing innovative for fans of open world games, but Sucker Punch has decided to change the cards on the table by modifying the navigation tools.

In fact, we will not have a minimap and there will be no compasses or omnipresent directional indicators . Once you have chosen the destination through the menu, we can activate the guide wind: by sliding your finger on the PS4 touchpad, a breath of wind will be activated that will indicate the direction to follow and will move the vegetation that surrounds us. In addition, golden birds can appear around us: following them, we can reach various types of points of interest. On foot or on horseback, our exploration will be guided by the game world, rather than by intrusive HUDs: the final goal (absolutely achieved) is to strengthen the sense of immersion.

Never again alone

What has been told, however, represents only a part of the playful offer of Ghost of Tsushima. A few months after its launch, in fact, the game saw the introduction of Legends, a free cooperative multiplayer mode that takes us away from the "realism" of the main campaign and immerses us in Japanese mythology instead.

Sucker Punch has proposed, for Legends, a story mode, for two players, and survival missions for four players. The setting is still the island of Tsushima, but invaded by Onibaba, Oni and the spirits of fallen warriors.

The Legends that give the name to multiplayer are none other than the classes that range from the classic warrior to fighters with less direct tactics. What changes, however, is above all the setting and the atmosphere of the island, tinged with red. Legends takes us to the battlefield in a different way than Jin's adventures, letting us experience the excitement and tension of fighting side by side with another samurai.

Experience Japan

Ghost of Tsushima, however, focuses above all on the setting and on making us feel an integral part of this world. Sucker Punch not only wants to push us into a long series of clashes, but tries to make us experience Japan through its best known peculiarities. For example, Jin will be able to find thermal sources, useful for strengthening his Vitality, but also for meditating on a topic chosen from those made available. The game mechanics are at the service of identification and narration, as Lord Sakai's insights will provide us with new details about characters and the game world.

In a similar way, we will be able to compose haiku (typical poetic form) of Japan), train with bamboo-breakers, pray at Inari shrines (fox deities) and face honorable duels to the death. Each mechanic is a fusion of a playful component and the desire to let us completely immerse ourselves in a fictionalized version of 1274. Finally, there is a unique graphics mode, in black and white, which incorporates the style of the classic films of Akira Kurosawa.

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