One of the last big triple A titles scheduled before the PS5 is released into the wild, is Ghost of Tsushima – a third-person open world set during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. It’s an ambitious project from the people that last brought us Infamous: Second Son, and its spin-off Last Light, and we were finally fed a few morsels of info in the form of a beautiful 18-plus minute gameplay presentation for Sony’s most recent State of Play.
Tsushima is most definitely a step up from the rainy streets of Seattle. You can ride, run and slash your way through the gorgeous floral fields and autumnal forests of thirteenth century Japan. The landscapes feature a stunning starkness, coupled with a host of staggeringly colours. Yet, the raw beauty of the island is marred by the smoking pyres and violent leftovers, as the brutal Mongolians rips their way through Tsushima.
You play as Jin, one of the last remaining Samurai fighting for the freedom of Japan, one shipyard at a time. Combat takes a big focus here, which should be no surprise considering the rip-roaring fun we had blasting our way through countless goons as Delsin in Infamous. Combat takes two forms: that of the honourable samurai; and that of the dishonourable ghost. What this boils down to is an aggressive yet tactile play-style, where every slash counts and parries are a must; or the sly and stealthy, where diversions, smoke bombs and the rapidly flung kunai are more common.
Sucker Punch seem keen to express that the combat in Ghost of Tsushima can be customised to your play-style, as it can be finely tuned with the use of charms applied to your armour. While armour can be customised to feature different styles and colours, with charms gameplay mechanics are altered, allowing for a more personalised experience as you run ravenously (our stealthily) through hordes of Mongolians.
However you run, you will be doing it without the use of any tradition waypoints. Introducing an immersive navigational wind system, you will be guided towards villages, farms and forests by the artful blowing of the wind – eliminating the need for handfuls of informing texts and decreasing distance guides. But it won’t just be the wind that will guide you. Unexplored locations can be discovered through a helpful flurry of guiding animals, from foxes to birds, which will lead you to the likes of abandoned locations and Shrines –which can then be honoured.
Whether Sucker Punch’s open world will bring anything new beyond its beauty to the genre has yet to be seen – and we can’t help but notice a bit of a graphical downgrade. But the setting alone will have many gamers won over, along with its plethora of added featured, such as its subtitled Japanese voice track and black and white Samurai cinema mode – so all you Akira Kurosawa fans can live out your favourite movies. We can’t wait to run through the flowing grass in open fields, or watch the blood of our enemies fleck on the ground with the flick of our blades, and we will be able to do all of this on the 17th of July.