The newly released trailer for Ghost of Tsushima marks the three weeks countdown before the game’s actual release. Have you watched it yet? The trailer really managed to stoke the flame of anticipation for us here at Mendax Games. If you are yet to be excited about Ghost of Tsushima, here are some reasons why you should go get a whetstone and prepare to sharpen your blade in Ghost of Tsushima.

It’s the First Open-World, Realistic Japanese RPG Game

 

Recently we have been treated by a few of Japanese Fantasy games. From the latest release of Nioh series to the spiritual successor of Soulborne games, Sekiro: Shadow Die Twice. Yet, there’s still an itch the two games cannot scratch. The two games, which relies heavily on Japanese mythology and fantasy creatures, lack the realistic feel of being a swords warrior in feudal Japan. We long to travel in the era of Samurai, interacting with paddy farmer, or maybe to just sit for a cup of genmaicha and dango in some roadside tea shop.  And more than anything, we seek the thrill of seizing fellow swords master in an epic samurai showdown.

We think the best representation of Samurai RPG—so far—is the semi open-world of Way of the Samurai series, back in 2002. It’s been a long 18 years since we have a grounded samurai fantasy game, and we hope that Ghost of Tsushima will be the cure for that itch we’ve tried to ignore all this time.

 

A Real Historical Event Reimagined

Rings a bell to certain game series, right? Yes, we think the same too. Many have said that Ghost of Tsushima is the Japanese Assassin’s Creed we crave for so long. But just like Leon S Kennedy and John F Kennedy’s last name, the similarity ends there. Although the setting is an actual historic event, the Mongol invasion to Tsushima Island will be presented differently. The leader of Mongol is the fictional Khotun Khan, based on the actual Mongol leader, Kublai Khan. While history books stated that the Mongol defeated all of the Japanese Warriors of Tsushima, the game’s main narrative is that the leader of Japanese warriors, Shimura—which is also fictional—survives the attack, along with his nephew Jin Sakai, our main protagonist.

The latest trailer gives a clue that history buffs might pick up. In actual history, the Tsushima Invasion came to an end because of a great Typhoon ‘Kamikaze’ destroying the Mongol fleets in Kyushu (Turnbull, 2010). It seems like the latest trailer’s title, A Storm is Coming, meant to position Jin Sakai himself as the personification of the Great Typhoon Kamikaze, as well as pointing out the upcoming of the game. That alone is a very exciting twist that really gets us waiting for Ghost of Tsushima impatiently.

 

Swords Battle Unlike any We’ve ever Seen Before

Chris Zimmerman, Co-founder of Sucker Punch, mentioned in PlayStation blog that the battle mechanic of the game will be a unique combination of speed, sharpness, and precision. Any battle will be quick-paced, and each blow is a matter of death or life. We are very excited to try our hand in the pre-emptive attack, where Jin can deliver a killing blow before the enemy can even deal the first strike.

How you choose your stance is also an important part of the battle. Jin starts with his ancestral stone stance, and he fares well with the Mongol swordsmen. However, as he faces different kind of Mongol soldiers, he learns that he needs to improve himself to survive, which is why he develops the water stance out of frustration. This is where the precision takes part. As the player, you will have to put their focus into the kind of attacks the enemy will bare upon Jin, and react accordingly.

But to us, what really sells Ghost of Tsushima’s combat system is the realism presented. We’re quite used to the usual RPG system of whittling our foe’s health bar one slash at a time, which gives away the sense of realism. Katana is sharp, and in Ghost of Tsushima, one fatal strike can bring demise, to you, or to the Mongols. Clashing of the blades is to be feared, but your enemies should fear you, more than you fear death itself.

Avoid the Battles, Win the War

Jin, once a prideful samurai, realizes that he can’t defeat the Mongols with honour and swords clash alone. He has to become the Ghost, the vengeful spirits that will make sure the Mongols suffer, with all methods available.

And all methods available really means something. Jin, as the Ghost, abandons the Bushido code and is not afraid to take the Mongols from behind. From what we’ve seen so far, a stealth takedown can be chained up to three enemies, making him as deadly as an assassin can be. To help him get into positions unachievable by conventional mean, Jin uses a grappling hook that can reach tall structures in no time. You know the rules; when you have the high ground, it’s over. Just ask Obi-Wan.

The stealth itself still looks conventional, with your usual recipe of crouching between foliage and tall grass while you stalk the Mongols. To help him distil fears into the heart of his enemies, Jin has a set of equipment in his disposal. Jin has his conventional short and long bows, effective for silent range attacks. Jin can also use kunai to quickly dispose of the Mongols in the midst of swordfights. Fireworks will also be available as a distraction as well as a surprise attack to stun your enemies.

If you make great use of Jin’s arsenal, the Mongols will come to fear you. So much, that they will submit themselves to you and ask you mercy for their lives. Ghost is scary, and as the Ghost of Tsushima, that fear is your strongest weapon to win the war against the Mongols.

 

A Beautiful World Just Like in the Movies

In the twilight era of PS4, Sucker Punch still managed to build a mesmerising world unlike any we’ve gazed upon so far. The State of Play gameplay video shows us how alive the environment is. Every blade of grass blown by the wind, the falling Japanese maple leaves, to the forest of bamboos and birch trees enhance the feel of a true samurai fantasy. If you’re a fan of Akira Kurosawa, then you’ll quickly notice how amazingly the game conveys those feelings of Kurosawa’s movies. Nothing ever stays static, and your every movement is a part of the world as much as a single maple leaf dancing in the air.

And surely we’re not being presumptuous when we say that Sucker Punch is basing the environment in Akira Kurosawa movies. The game itself literally has a mode called ‘Samurai Cinema’, where you can play the entire game in black and white with movie grain. With Samurai Cinema Mode on, the game might as well be called Akira Kurosawa: The Video Game.

And a Means to Capture the World’s Beauty

The last thing to further capture the beauty of Tsushima is Photo Mode. These days, almost every games include photo mode as a feature. To differentiate among other triple-A games, Sucker Punch really went beyond with their photo mode by including dynamic surrounding to it. That means, if Jin’s cape is blocking his graceful water stance, or if certain flowers are blowing in the wrong direction, you can just add in a wind effect to fix the problem. Still not cool enough? Then start adding extra elements to your shot like falling leaves or fireflies! Nothing will stop you from getting the new desktop wallpaper you want.

 

So, are you now excited to test your katana in Ghost of Tsushima? Have you, like us, start binge-watching all of Akira Kurosawa’s movies to get yourself into the samurai spirit? Ghost of Tsushima will be released on 17 July 2020, exclusive for PS4. Stay tuned to Mendax Games for more insight about Jin Sakai and his adventure!

 

 

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