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drahkon

Ghost of Tsushima (PS4)

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84 on Opencritic as well with 71 reviews. Seems to generally be good with a few areas which aren't quite up to snuff, namely stealth, some technical issues and the open world not really deviating from the tried and tested at this point.

For me, that's good enough and I've already got it pre-ordered with it hopefully set to be sent later today/tomorrow. Whether I'll stick with the game fully based on some of the cons that are being mentioned about the game is another question, especially on the back of finishing The Last of Us Part 2. Hopefully I'll be able to put some of the issues about the open world aside and hopefully the stealth is at least manageable to make it doable for the most part.

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Interesting reviews. It seems like it's a stunning game but ultimately one where the game design is held back by the generation of hardware it's built on. Stealth seems pretty one dimensional.

I'll check it out on PS5.

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Insta-fail stealth sections?

Absolute no-go.

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Slightly lower reviews than I was expecting but still decent. I think the openworld formula in games like these needs a big shake up.

18 minutes ago, Goron_3 said:

I'll check it out on PS5

So will I, assuming it'll run on PS5, who knows

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One of the remaining first party PS4 games? Yes, it will run on PS5. It's been confirmed to various outlets this is the case even though it was submitted for review before the deadline a game like that is not just going to be missed off.

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People got suckered into thinking this would be great because the 3D, windswept foliage looks cool.  

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9 minutes ago, dwarf said:

People got suckered into thinking this would be great because the 3D, windswept foliage looks cool.  

That's a bit harsh. It's Assassins Creed Japan with a lot of polish. Reviewers are pointing out that it doesn't do anything new, and a lot of people will be ok with that. No need to make it so black and white.

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What I've found interesting from seeing bits on Twitter is criticisms from other Asian countries of how it whitewashes/glorifies Japan's history and a call for more critiques to come from Asian writers. If anyone comes across anything that digs into that angle I'd be keen to read/view it.

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I genuinely have zero interest for this game.  Shame really as the reviews have been positive.  

 

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I've gone from thinking that I would buy it on day one to maybe a little bit later down the line, I still think it looks good but now I'm wondering if it will just turn into another game similar to Sekiro for me, as I played that for a good day or so, then... never again, which is a shame because I'm sure both games have their plus points.

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Posted (edited)

Even with no update on the tracking from the Royal Mail, Shopto have delivered early :D

Its installing now so thats my afternoon sorted. Looking forward to playing, though I'm bearing in mind some of the issues raised in reviews. Shouldn't hopefully detract and sure it'll be a great game once I get into the swing of it.

Edited by Ganepark32
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1 minute ago, Ganepark32 said:

Even with no update on the tracking from the Royal Mail, Shopto have delivered early :D

Its installing now so thats my afternoon sorted. Looking forward to playing, though I'm bearing in mind some of the issues raised in reviews. Shouldn't hopefully detract and sure it'll be a great game once I get into the swing of it.

Looking forward to hearing what you think of it. I'm still tempted to get it down the line.

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14 minutes ago, Ganepark32 said:

Even with no update on the tracking from the Royal Mail, Shopto have delivered early :D

Its installing now so thats my afternoon sorted. Looking forward to playing, though I'm bearing in mind some of the issues raised in reviews. Shouldn't hopefully detract and sure it'll be a great game once I get into the swing of it.

Oh man, the one time in the last few months I chose not to go with ShopTo! :blank:

Think my copy will probably end up arriving tomorrow, but I don't mind, still got plenty to play (probably need to finish Arkham Asylum today!). Have fun, looking forward to reading your early impressions :smile:

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I really want to play this but no PS4. I hope it makes the jump to Steam in a year or two a la Horizon: Zero Dawn and Detroit Become Human. Get serious BOTW vibes from footage and an Assassin's Creed style game that isn't made by Ubisoft is pretty appealing in general. Looking forward to reading impressions. 

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Posted (edited)

Put a few hours into this earlier this evening (finishing Arkham Asylum for the first time took up much more of my day than I had thought it might :p). 

I've got to say...I'm pretty mixed on the experience so far? 

On the one hand, this game looks incredible. Weather effects, lighting, the leaves, the way the sky and clouds play off each other to produce these beautiful dusks, dawns, and sunsets, not to mention that trademark golden afternoon hue. The colour palette is also so vibrant and lively, it's a pleasure to just look at this game. The music and world design (forests, fields, villages and paths) all come together in a way which just nails everything you'd expect from a game with samurai. The giant plumes of smoke, swiping up on the touch pad to let the wind direct you, wildlife leading you, the world just naturally guides you; seriously great world-game design. The blood spatter, character models, and combat all look great, and feed into that samurai love even further. The sound design is excellent too. Kudos to Sucker Punch for all of that. Oh, and you can sit by a lake and write a haiku. Most peaceful gaming experience I've had all year. 

But on the other hand...man, this game's story starts out rough. The pacing of the first hour or two is undeniably poor, it just jumps around non-stop before finally throwing the reins over to you. It hasn't done much to endear me to anyone other than Jin (the protagonist) so far. Stealth mechanics have been kept at a minimum so far, so can't comment too much on them I feel, but honestly, I much prefer just going full samurai and challenging folks to duels. 

It also took me some time to adjust to what I feel is a really awkward button layout, case in point: R2 to talk, squeeze through gaps, and climb onto your horse? Compare that to every other first party Sony game (or heck, most AAA games) and that's just an odd decision. And while I've adjusted to the slower paced nature of combat and am enjoying it, having arrows fired at you from a distance on multiple occasions by Mongol archers, when it takes so little to die in this game (you start with very little health, and getting hit can take out a sizeable chunk of your health bar even with where I'm at now), just doesn't add anything to the experience, and I'd say is actually detrimental to the point of it getting frustrating.

But the most egregious thing I've noticed: who on Earth signed off on this game not having a lock-on target for combat? I swear I'm spending just as much time fighting the camera as I am the Mongols. Maybe even more! It's genuinely insane to me that this game doesn't have a lock-on. 

Oh, and just a heads-up for anyone wondering, I'm playing the game with its English dub. Not because I wanted to, but because a) Sucker Punch seriously don't know how to effectively size and position subtitles, and b) because the game was designed around an English script, meaning that it isn't lip synced and can look pretty odd if you play with Japanese audio. A shame, because I was really looking forward to playing it with Japanese audio and English subtitles after how much I've enjoyed that being the case with the Yakuza series.

So, yeah, a real mixed bag for me so far. I'm going to stick with it until the end, so I'm curious to see how my thoughts change over the course of the game, and with regards to the controls, I'm sure it's something I'll become accustomed to, but some of these design and control layout decisions just seem kind of poor to me. 

Edited by Julius

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Haven't really been playing long but here are a couple screenshots i took.

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Posted (edited)

Nice pics @martinist! I've spent far too long playing around in photo mode, took over a hundred screenshots today alone... :grin:

Some of my favourites:

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This is hands down one of my favourite games to just look at and take in, I'm having a blast taking so many screenshots. Only other game I've gone this crazy on the screenshots with was Breath of the Wild. One of the best looking worlds of this gen for me. 

Probably around 10 - 15 hours in now. For anyone wondering, I'm taking it slow and doing everything I can in an area before moving on (seeking out collectibles, freeing every settlement, doing every quest, etc.), and I'm still in the first act (I would guess that's of three, but I seriously have no idea). Based purely on that guess and the number of settlements I've given freedom to do far, I think I'm around a quarter of a way through my playthrough? 

At this point I've got used to the combat and really enjoying it (when not overwhelmed by arrows or too many enemies). I still think that the lack of a lock-on hurts the experience with combat overall. Slowly got used to using R2 too, but there are still a number of occasions where it just doesn't feel natural to press it and I try just about everything but that. I've only got one stance left to unlock, stances and switching between them clicked a few hours ago.

A slight pet peeve relating to that though is the tip turning up to change stance gets very annoying after one or two times, like cool I get it Water is the way to go against Shield, but that guy just turned up in the middle of a battle where I've only face guys wielding only swords! It actually slows down time and freezes gameplay at times when it comes up. Might need to dig into the options to sort that out. 

Other than that, the story has improved quite a bit since the opening. I like how the quests have you interacting much more with other characters in the world (whether protecting them, fighting against enemies with them, or just riding around together), and the characters are really growing on me. Kenji is probably my favourite so far, a few laughs thanks to that guy, who has a great intro. Music has been really solid too, my favourite part of when I played on Friday was the title being presented and the music soaring with it. For those curious:

Having a good time with it, in no rush to finish at all (hope to at least finish the first act by the end of tomorrow, though!) but I plan to stick to how I've been playing up until this point...unless the game just drops off a cliff somewhere. A little anxious that the other major areas I've yet to visit might feel too similar to what I've seen so far, I'm hoping to at least see some snow to shake it up a bit (I haven't seen any yet). 

Also straw hat + cape = coolest Jin. I've got quite a few sets of armour now but the Traveller's Attire paired with a nice straw hat just looks fantastic. 

Edited by Julius
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Don't mind me, just posting another screenshot.

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Another hundred screenshots or so later and I am now somewhere between 25 and 30 hours in, at a guess.

I completed the first act around 5-10 hours ago, but it didn't make it all that clear that the quest I was doing was to take on the end of act one, and it locked me out of the rest of the map for a good while there...so had to backtrack to liberate the rest of Izuhara as I had planned to before pushing ahead. 

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Which I then went on to do. It was just as well, seeing as some more stuff is added to the map after completing that act. I have now liberated every village in that region and done as much side stuff as I could find (I'm sure I've missed some Fox Dens here and there, but the map is mostly filled in). I've maxed out my number of charm slots, almost completed a lot of the Samurai and stance skill trees, etc., and there aren't any question marks or quests left...so I'm pushing ahead for now. Can always come back later. I hope. 

Outside of the game looking insanely good, the combat has really clicked and I am loving it. Still feel like a lock-on would make it even better, but the heft of the sword, slightly delayed response to button presses, and lining up combos and special moves just makes it so much fun. When all is said and done, this might be my favourite sword fight system in a game. 

Not only that, it's got me thoroughly hooked. The story has improved so much from the early rough start it had (with some bad pacing my main problem), with characters that are easy to become attached to, character arcs are starting to become a bit clearer, and the way the characters interact with the world just adds so much depth. For a main cast in an open world game, this I think is as good as it gets.

Not only that, but side quests flesh out so much of the world, and for the first time in an RPG that doesn't have a 'J' in front of it, I care enough to actually seek out these side quests and learn more about these NPC's, whether it's chasing down some bandits after a roadside clash, liberating villages, or helping a mother come to terms with the loss of her family. My favourite so far is probably the samurai at the onsen. 

Add to that the excellent environmental game design, and how the world leads you to more activities (whether yellow birds or foxes, or in some cases tree and flower colours), and this is quickly becoming a game that I'm struggling to put down. 

Also: swiping right on the touchpad to flick the blood off your katana :bowdown:

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Yep, was in two minds whether to buy this but it seemed a good lockdown game (especially as my hol to Japan was cancelled :cry: )

I looove it so far! I can see the critisms - tonnes of games like this around and it doesn't add THAT much new to the mix. But.. lots of little touches make it really work

- Strolling through the countryside feels so chillers - lovely ambience with the natural sound design and the occasion chime of music - a nice tonic after the constant stress of tLoU2

- Love the Haikus!

- Game has a great sense of overarching direction / mood / vibe to it. The particle team could probably chill out a bit but the world feels really wonderful and cohesive, even down to the nice paint wash animations on the storyteller cutscenes and the UI.

- It's basically an Assassin's Creed game but it's so dope to see what those games could be - not falling apart at the seams, no level gating bollocks, voice acting that isn't hammy AF, not crumbling under the weight of a billion stats and systems

Not totally sold on the main chap and his voice actor. Bit bland / po-faced. Also feel like I may have seen half of what the game has to offer in my first couple of sessions - but hoping the game can spring some surprises - looking forward to playing more!

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Posted (edited)

Put a few more hours in this evening, making some decent progress, but this might be my last update for a few days until I've got this second act completed, mainly because I want to throw some thoughts and events in some spoiler tags. And some life stuff. But today I had by far my favourite duel and favourite "huh, what's that over there?" moment, and would love to discuss it a bit further at some point, and throw some photos in that spoiler tag too. Oh and I still can't stop taking screenshots. 

For now, what I want to focus on is this game's polish. It looks brilliant, I think that much is evident, and mechanically its great too, but, during my session today there were a few times where I was like "huh, QA didn't get that one I guess?" Disclaimer, my PS4 ran a bit hot and is a base model. But I still think it's all worth bringing up, especially because I want to be honest about this game's flaws, as much as I have loved it so far. 

My first weird experience today came in the form of following a fox from a Fox Den to the nearby shrine. Everything goes fine, I find the shrine, go up to press R2 aaaaaand all I'm getting is the circle begging for me to get close or change my perspective to press R2. I do everything under the sun, but it's just not accepting my R2 input. Finally, after circling the shrine from further and further away and returning to it time and time again, after circling it from some 20m away it finally gives me the prompt to press R2. Thank goodness.

I had another experience which was very similar: wiped out a load of Mongols on the road, went to save the damsel in distress aaaaaand it's telling me that there are enemies nearby. I circled the area aiming a bunch of wind chimes at a distance of 10m or so (this would show any enemies in range from where it would land) and there was clearly no-one around. Normally I'd be concede that it's no big deal, whatever, and move on, but these NPC's that you save can often offer information on spots you might not have visited yet, so it is kind of a big deal for a game like this (and for someone like me scouting every inch of this island). After a minute or so, she finally accepts my help and concedes that there were no enemies nearby. 

Something I've found increasingly annoying too is that when you're on a beam and want to jump down, you can press circle to do so. Surely that would carry over to the edge of a roof, right? Nope. You can't roll from the roof either, meaning that if you're using stealth, you have to JUMP down by pressing X and preparing for the absolute worst, because there's a decent chance you'll end up an arm and a leg away from where you intended, in the middle of a Mongols' Monday night dinner party. 

There was also a time where I was busy liberating a village and ended up in a showdown in this old abandoned house on stilts with a bunch of Mongols, and tried to roll out of the way. I phased through the floor and ended up in the space below, waist deep in water. I think Jin might be taking his title of Ghost a bit too literally. 

Last one: I mentioned yesterday that I finished Act One and went back to Izuhara to complete everything I hadn't been able to before that final mission, including some events that popped up. Turns out that I was actually in a weird space between Act One and Two, and that once I travelled 50m into the second region and it showed that I had now started the second act, I checked my map and was treated to them making a big deal out of some areas which Mongols had taken over since the end of Act One...as in the activities added post-Act One, which I had already completed.

Just weird things like that where I'm surprised no-one picked up on it, especially when there are lovely little polished quality of life choices made which almost give a false sense of polish for the rest of the game. I think my best example of this would be after completing some light but quite drawn out platforming to get to a shrine, turning around and making towards the stairs (even if they're long gone) gives you the option to descend the shrine. 

As much as I'm loving it, I do feel like the game could have done with some extra polish. I think that Sucker Punch and Sony have rushed it out of the door to some extent, and thing is I feel like a lot of it will be brushed aside because it's an open world game, so there are bound to be bugs. Even if the reasoning for it is that it was promised as a PS4 title and they want it out before the PS5, I do feel like it could have done with a bit more time in the oven.

Because I would have loved it even more. 

Also @dan-likes-trees glad to see you're enjoying it! Haha, totally agree on this feeling like a de-stress after TLOU2. The contrast in their colour palettes is night and day (and honestly, GoT is much more vivid in its palette than most realistic games these days), so it's a welcome change in atmosphere, colour, soft music, natural sounds, and tone after the intense experience of TLOU2. 

Also agree with the comment on particles, it gets pretty annoying after a while when trying to line up a perfect shot and a butterfly zooms on by! 

I thought the same of Jin to begin with, but I think he improves quite a bit as a character from that point. Really funny the deeper I get into the game seeing just how strongly Sucker Punch based Jin on Toshiro Mifune. 

EDIT: Also completely forgot to mention that I've already maxed out the stance and samurai skill trees. Time to focus on becoming the Ghost!

Edited by Julius
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Posted (edited)

Took a few days off this game before digging back into it again yesterday, unfortunately I've got a lot going on at the moment which means this game hasn't had my undivided attention as I would have liked to give it.

Still, I'm guessing I'm somewhere between 40-45 hours on, and have just started Act III after liberating Toyotama.

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Really smelling the roses (cherry blossoms?) with this game and I'm just loving it. Still looks incredibly beautiful (yes, I've taken a few hundred more screenshots since my last post!), the story and the world still has me fully engrossed, and above all else I think the quests really stand out in this game. "Typical" open world games like this normally aren't my cup of tea, but the setting and focus on character is really making it hard to peel myself away from the game when I'm playing. Also, the combat is still top tier. 

There have been one or two moments where the game's technical problems come into play again, which is a real shame. It's honestly stuff I've come across in other similar games, so nothing new, but still with mentioning. This time around, halfway through a story quest when raiding a camp, there's a moment where you can take a break and you need to speak to an NPC to progress, however I couldn't because the NPC was stuck acting like it was still in combat. I started taking out the Mongols I could see but then another NPC got killed, do the checkpoint got restarted. Luckily there was no more weirdness from there, but yeah. That happened. 

My shout out this time around has to go to the variable speeds of NPC's at the core of quests (whether main or side). In every other open world game I've played like this, following a character from one area to another involves running ahead and waiting for them, or matching their speed and slowly trudging along. That Ghost of Tsushima makes them move ahead of you but let you decide whether they walk or run from the speed you're moving at is such a great touch, to the point that when I met a certain NPC in a quest where they couldn't do that (due to their age), I was rolling my eyes. But then I was grateful that it was only this time, and was contextualised, and tried to imagine how frustrating the game might have been if this wasn't something we could do. 

Hope to make some decent progress with the game this week. I don't want it to end but I am looking forward to finishing it, because then I can catch up on my Gaming Diary at long last :p

Edited by Julius

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Posted (edited)

After around 55 - 60 hours, I have liberated the region of Kamiagata and completed the game's story, meaning that I've liberated the steadfast island of Tsushima. 

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Platinum get:

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The main story starts out with some shaky pacing, but is otherwise great at the best of times, and a solid Samurai story at the worst, but the real strength here lies within the side quest storylines, sword combat (easily the best I've experienced), secrets, stellar soundtrack, and the absolutely gorgeous open world. There's a lot of respect for Japanese culture and samurai cinema on show, and judging from the reactions over there, I'd guess that the feel is mutual. I have never cared about an open world so much, there's just so much life and vibrance to it all, despite it being quite dark and serious throughout. It didn't pull any punches, and I think that's important, because it didn't shy away from the brutality of war, and sugarcoat it like so many forms of entertainment do. 

It's one of the best looking games of the generation, so playing on a base PS4 I was surprised I didn't experience too many technical issues (the normal frame rate drops and such) throughout my adventure. My final special mention has to go to the fast travel: 2 - 5 seconds to load into another spot in this beautiful open world means, for once, it's viable as a way to just hop back if you think you might have missed something, and it often loaded much faster than I could read the tips. 

I'll stop there as I've mentioned a lot of my thoughts in this thread since starting the game, but in short, I think Sucker Punch have knocked it out of the park. This is a not completely polished masterpiece of a game, easily one of my favourite open world experiences to date, and one of my favourite games of this generation.

Edited by Julius
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WHAT?! THIS IS GETTING MULTIPLAYER?! 

Quote

Introducing Ghost of Tsushima: Legends, a new cooperative multiplayer* experience inspired by Japanese folk tales and mythology. Choose from one of four classes -- Samurai, Hunter, Ronin, or Assassin – and play with friends or via online matchmaking in a series of two-player story missions or four-player wave-based survival missions. 

Ghost of Tsushima: Legends will be available as a free download for Ghost of Tsushima owners in Fall 2020.

:bouncy:

Any reason to return to one of my favourite games of the year I will take. This could be awesome! Can't help but feel it might be filling a gap they had been hoping that TLOU2's Factions might have filled, but hey, I'm over the moon. 

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