Rebelling Against the Code: “Ghost of Tsushima” Review

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Tomas Francisco-Pascual

“Ghost of Tsushima” was developed by Sucker Punch Productions and was released on July 17, 2020.

Tomas Francisco-Pascual, Staff Reporter

The following article contains spoilers. The game, “Ghost of Tsushima,” includes explicit content.

It’s your choice. Stay true to the code, or choose to go against it.

“Ghost of Tsushima” is a single-player, open-world game that was released on July 17 by Sucker Punch Productions.

Exclusively for PlayStation 4 consoles, the game takes place during the 13th century on the island of Tsushima, Japan. It is heavily influenced by the First Mongol Invasion of Japan that took place in 1274 A.D

The game takes inspiration from the event by portraying the samurai as being resistant to the enemy forces and doing everything it takes to drive the Mongols out. Along with that, religion and culture are infused into activities, such as visiting shrines and temples.

The main character is Jin Sakai, a noble samurai that is the last standing survivor during the aftermath of the Battle at Komoda Beach. As the last standing samurai, Sakai faces the task of ridding Tsushima of the Mongol invaders while restoring the hope of his people.

The story is split into three acts that are each essential to understanding why the game ends the way it does.

In each of the acts, Sakai is forced to make choices that break his samurai code of honor. His choices not only affect those around him but leave an impact on his personal mental health.

In Act I, Sakai and his allies retake Castle Kaneda, which forces the Mongols to the Northern parts of the island. Sakai and his allies continue to follow them up north in Acts II and III, and drive them out of Castle Shimura, which Sakai’s uncle, Lord Shimura, is the head of. 

An altercation happens between Sakai and Shimura, which leaves Sakai and the rest of his allies to fight the Mongols themselves.

When starting the game, I had high expectations due to the game being in development since 2016. In the end, I was not let down. It took me roughly 67.5 hours to finish all the activities in the game.

“Ghost of Tsushima” was developed by Sucker Punch Productions and was released on July 17, 2020.

So if you’re worried about a lack of content, don’t worry: this game has lots to offer.

It is truly a game that will be praised for years to come. Some of my favorite aspects of the game are its intense combat, intriguing storyline, and interesting customization.

The combat system includes a sword, which is the main weapon of a samurai, as well as an archer’s bow and a blowgun. 

As Sakai ventures further into the story, he learns new stances that are effective towards different types of enemies. I personally liked this because it allowed me to be more strategic in fighting enemies and in planning out my attacks.

My favorite stance is the wind stance. This stance in particular is more effective towards spearsmen. If you hold onto the triangle button on the controller long enough (around 2 seconds), Sakai will fling them into the air with a kick.

The archer’s bow is mainly for ranged attacks, and it can be unlocked in Act I of the game. Regular arrows, fire arrows, and sharpened arrows can be used to take down enemies at a distance.

On the other hand, a blowgun is used to poison, weaken, or hallucinate enemies, and can be unlocked in Act II.

Along with the samurai sword, blowgun, and archer’s bow, you have the option to be stealthy, allowing you to lurk in the shadows and use the element of surprise to catch your victims off-guard. 

While playing the game, I preferred to be sneaky. I enjoyed assassinating enemies without being noticed. From using smoke bombs to kunais, being stealthy is an optional way to play.

However, this option comes with the cost of going against the samurai code.

The samurai code states to “fight with honor.” It’s first learned within the first few hours of playing the game. 

As the story goes on, Sakai is labeled as “The Ghost” by the people of Tsushima, hence the name of the game being titled “The Ghost of Tsushima.” The story of “The Ghost” killing hundreds of Mongols spreads throughout the island of Tsushima strikes fear into the enemy and lights up hope in the people of Tsushima.

Lord Shimura, Sakai’s uncle, tries to sway and persuade Sakai to avoid using such tactics that go against the code. Sakai resists his attempts of persuasion, and knows going against the code is the only way to save his island from being taken over.

In general, the story was truly captivating and is one that I won’t ever forget. It’s full of twists and turns and unexpected events around every corner. 

There are deaths that affect Sakai, but a certain one, felt as if I lost a good friend.

In each friend is an enemy, and in each enemy, there is a friend.

“Ghost of Tsushima” was developed by Sucker Punch Productions and was released on July 17, 2020.

Side quests, missions that don’t affect the main story, are also a crucial part of the game, which encourage you to explore the island fully. Completing certain side quests will reward you with some special treats, such as charms to enhance Sakai’s fighting abilities.

During your lengthy journey, you will meet some allies that will help you with your journey. 

One of my favorite allies is a sake seller by the name of Kenji, who is discovered in Act II. Kenji is extremely clumsy, often gets into bad situations, and will go any length to scam people out of their money.

As far as customization, this game provides many ways to choose Sakai’s appearance. Most, if not all, pieces of armor, swords, and weapons are fully customizable, meaning you are in control of what you want it to look like. There is something for everyone to enjoy while playing. 

On Oct. 16, update 1.1 was released. The update contained new features to the single-player story, as well as “Ghost of Tsushima: Legends,” which is a free addition to all owners of the original game. It adds co-op survival missions and a story separate from the main game.

I’ve had the chance to play it for a while now, and it’s a really good addition to help expand the popularity of the game. One of my favorite aspects of “Ghost of Tsushima: Legends” is choosing different classes, ensuring that each have their own set of abilities to take on.

It is worth playing the game to find out how the story unfolds. I fully recommend checking it out and giving it a try. “Ghost of Tsushima” is exclusive to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro consoles, and it is available to purchase at the PlayStation Store.