classic but effective postcard [TEST]

Ghost of Tsushima Review – Ghost of Tsushima is the latest major exclusivity expected for Playstation 4. It offers PS4 owners an epic fresco in the middle of feudal Japan. A perfect game for the summer, but one that will be divisive depending on whether you like the classic formula of the open world game or not.

[Mis à jour le 17 juillet 2020 à 9h00] It is appropriate to begin this test with what strikes the viewers most in the eyes, amazed at the graphical qualities that Ghost of Tsushima displayed in its first rounds of communication: Sucker Punch made many technical concessions to make the final game can run. Tested up and down on PS4 Slim for over two weeks, Ghost of Tsushima isn’t ugly, but it does switch adorable environments with very bad settings. The main characters are very well done for their part, but sometimes swear in certain scenes where we can feel open cuts here or there that have been applied by the development team to allow the Sony console to follow suit. This phenomenon, commonly referred to as “downgrade”, is widespread in the video game industry, but it must be said that it was not expected in a console game at the end of its life. Even so, he’s present at Ghost of Tsushima, be warned.

Epic walk in the footsteps of Kurosawa

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What the lastborn of Sucker Punch lost in the visual vortex, however, he makes up for in his work on atmospheres. Nestled in the island of Tsushima in feudal Japan, the player is quickly enveloped in a cocoon of inspiration that the developers have largely drawn from the filmography of Akira Kurosawa. The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Ran … Everything is done to evoke the particular aesthetic of samurai films, from their meticulous gestures before a sword fight to the epic breath of great battles through the development of supporting characters who form the guard closer to the hero . A very special work was agreed on the design of the game’s kinematics, which sometimes seems to come straight from a film of the genre. Sucker Punch loves samurai movies and it shows!

In Ghost of Tsushima, the player plays Jin Sakai, a young warrior who was present during the escape of the island’s samurai and tried to stop the invasion of the Mongol army under the leadership of Khotun Khan in 1274. Among the only survivors, Sakai quickly realizes that the samurai code of honor alone cannot save his island from the oppressor. He will therefore choose to follow the path of the “phantom” who is able to murder his enemies without being detected. This strategy will inevitably criticize certain members of his retinue for his lack of honor.

Ghost VS Samurai

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In the game, the developers decided to make the duality of approaches available to Jin Sakai. On the one hand, phases of infiltration are quite revealing and very similar to what we can see in games like Assassin’s Creed: lots of hiding spots, melee assassination skills, access hatches to go unnoticed, silent ranged weapons to get rid of enemies on their way. .. Everything is here. On the other hand, a combat system as a samurai that challenges its enemies in head-to-head duels. Whenever you encounter a group of enemies, you can challenge them to a duel and eliminate some before the fight begins. Once this highly stylized dueling animation is completed, the surrounding enemy warriors will jump on you.

Ghost of Tsushima is not a game where your opponents gently wait for death while you are ready to take them out. Here several enemies can hit you at the same time, arrows can hit you when you are fighting other soldiers. You also need to be careful to adjust your fighting stance to suit the opponent you are facing. There are four positions, each effective against each archetype of enemies in the game. So you have to learn to change them during the fight. If Jin Sakai is able to triumph over his opponents with a few katana blows, his enemies will be just as cruel, and a few failed parades and evasive maneuvers will be enough for the player to succumb.

© Sony

However, the game from the developers of Sly Cooper and Infamous offers many skills that allow the player to hone their arsenal of skills to respond to the Mongol onslaught. This includes forces that make it possible to get up with a concentration meter after a hard blow, but also to cut everything into slices. After a few hours the feeling of progress and strength will be there and you will feel the same confidence in your skills and arsenal as a samurai in your katana.

We can regret that the scenario dimension of the game does not allow the player to really make a choice between Jin the Phantom and Jin the Samurai. Certain main quest missions actually force the player to use the Phantom’s methods so that the scenario and supporting characters can accuse Jin of his abuses. Ghost of Tsushima could possibly have afforded a slightly more ambitious system that would have allowed the player to really choose.

The credo of the open world

With Ghost of Tsushima, Sucker Punch returns to the open-world action game, a genre that the studio used to develop the two Infamous. “Ghost” is adorned with the glamor of feudal Japan and yet another representative of the genre that has reached the heyday of the current generation of consoles. Joystick in hand, it’s not uncommon to think of Assassin’s Creed, some kind of catalyst for that formula. Ghost of Tsushima, like its model, offers a multitude of additional activities adapted to its theme: cleaning up Mongolian fortresses, liberating occupied villages, honoring various shrines, hot springs to discover, haikus to write … The playing card, as long as you have it there are many mini-quests of this type, as well as secondary and tertiary missions, where you will try to help the oppressed people as much as possible.

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In relation to these quests, we will particularly appreciate the side missions, all of which relate to characters who will form Jin Sakai’s close entourage. During these quests, the player learns more about the motivations of these characters. The result is a stronger bond with these characters, which can also be found in the missions of the main quest. In the same genre we will also like the few mythical quests that are completely optional and for which the player will need a little more work (especially exploring the island) to get new powers that will be very useful in battle or new armor with different skills. These legendary quests are also highlighted by stylized cinematics in ink that allow them to stand out.

© Sony

Despite the general classicism that emerges from the Ghost of Tsushima experience, we cannot deprive the game of the desire to break free from the usual shackles of the minimap and guide arrows that too often tarnish the immersion of games in the open world . Here the player can rely on a wind mechanism that, after lightly pressing the central pad of the joystick, shows the general direction in which the player must go in order to continue his mission or to find the desired reference point.The system works so well that it it is not uncommon to switch from one point to another without going through the Ghost of Tsushima menu once. A great idea to take advantage of what Tsushima Island has to offer.

Boring classicism or captivating escape?

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Ghost of Tsushima is expected to be the last major exclusive on Playstation 4 and arouses great hope for those who think of it as the swan song of the Sony console. In the final state, the game refers more to the endless, open-world Assassin’s Creed-type action games that we’ve probably seen too many times in the last 10 years. In this regard, Ghost of Tsushima will tire the tired of the genre, just as it will enchant those who have long dreamed of an Assassin’s Creed submerged in feudal Japan. If the technical copy is not what we would have liked from a console game of the last generation, it remains a very pleasant game to also look for its atmosphere, combat system and story, which is very inspired by the filmography of Kurosawa. You can no longer formulate the formula of the open world games of the last few years? Maybe go your way. Are you looking for a great escape game for your summer on PS4? Jin Sakai awaits you in Tsushima for a 20- to 40-hour mastered adventure, depending on whether you are a finisher or not.

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