The game of the year (or GOTY for its acronym in English) was The Last of Us II at the 2020 Game Awards, but for the Japanese press the most important game was Ghost of Tsushima. According to the publication Famitsu, one of the most prestigious in the world of video games in the East, the best game of the year is Ghost of Tsushima followed by Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. For Famitsu, the consultation included more than 130 developers and personalities from the video game industry. The action title set in feudal Japan and developed by Sucker Punch Productions generated great fanaticism in Asian lands, but in the West it did not manage to surpass Naughty Dog’s proposal..
The incredible realism of Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima’s proposal is one of the most successful recreations of the fantasy of becoming a samurai warrior . While the game has amazing graphics and addictive gameplay, it also suffers from some of the problems of the open world genre. However, the weaknesses are correctly compensated for by an incredible graphic realism, both in the character design and in the setting, with extremely realistic recreations of the different corners of ancient feudal Japan.
In Ghost of Tsushima the realism of the battles with katanas is one of the strengths, since in most cases, wanting to be a samurai is wanting to be able to participate in those battles to the death and the strict code of morality that these warriors used . The fighting system takes time to master, but the basics are easily learned. For those who aspire to become legends of the samurai world, the fights in Ghost of Tsushima will involve precision, cadence and perseverance. It may seem boring or repetitive in the short term, but it is the key to becoming a good samurai in the video game.
Fights with good rhythm and poor camera focus
In a way, Ghost of Tsushima could be considered a rhythm game in the way it handles combat mechanics. You have to pay attention and be precise when reacting to the attacks of the enemy. Victories are experiences on the edge, where your character survives tireless hordes of opponents with a glimmer of health. If we fail, we will see an animation of our hero bathed in his own blood and killed by enemy katanas.
The addictive and versatile nature of the fighting is hampered by the direction of the game, since the camera tends to be positioned in an annoying way and it does not make it easy to understand where the onslaught comes from that must be dodged first when there are many opponents surrounding us.
Stealth, a wasted section
Despite the fact that Famitsu’s respondents have chosen Ghost of Tsushima as the game of the year, it is important to mention in our analysis that the stealth missions and the mechanics to avoid being discovered are not well worked. On the one hand, as soon as we are detected in most stealth missions, it is an immediate defeat. And on the other hand, when we fully exploit the RPG section on the evolution of tools and skills, it becomes extremely easy to advance without being discovered, which totally takes away the sense of trying to complete a mission without being discovered. There is no challenge.
A great game that pays tribute to samurai cinema
Ghost of Tsushima is a great playful tribute to the ninja and samurai films that popularized part of Japanese cinema in the 60s and 70s. It is an interactive way to become the honorable samurai warriors and fight for honor and justice that moves these warriors who were faithful to their masters and defended with courage what they believed in.
The story introduces moral dilemmas that help define character development, but at the end of the day there is no control or consequence of the end result. Except for one important detail before the credits appear, the rest of the way in Ghost of Tsushima is one-way. Also, the story is relatively short, and when one is so hooked on such a well-recreated feudal world, the flavor that remains is a bit disappointing. Still, it is a great game that immediately transports us to a time that many of us have seen portrayed in film and anime, and to which we can now travel as we please.
Ghost of Tsushima is a title that will obviously be much closer to Japanese players. So it is not surprising that it was chosen by the voters of Famitsu as the video game of the year. The adventure is incredible on a graphical and playable level, it has aspects that can be improved, but it invites you to travel and become part of the Japanese feudal world that Sucker Punch Productions has brought to our consoles.