During the final africast of the year, we did a recap of the top stories of 2020, and finished things off on the games that left the biggest impressions on us. For my part, my list was decided PlayStation in nature, namely as I review those titles for Hypertext. As such the game that I singled out for particular praise was Ghost of Tsushima.
It is a title that “essentially” ended the run of exclusive titles on the PS4, and was a suitable love letter to end the previous gen console on.
While that indeed influences my decision, it is not the sole reason, so here’s why Ghost of Tsushima is my game of the year.
The first aspect deals with hype. Quite often, games get overhyped, often failing to deliver on the expectations that have been built up over time. The shaky launch of Cyberpunk 2077 is a prime example.
Ghost of Tsushima suffered from none of this, particularly as the game was so well polished. It was also highly detailed, thoroughly researched and paid respect to an aspect of Japanese culture that many people are interested in, so kudos to the team at Sucker Punch on those fronts.
Another aspect is the fact that the divisive Last of Us Part II which preceded it in terms of PlayStation exclusives. The title pushed its players in many ways, and after completing it, left you feeling drained. While the subject matter and gameplay in Ghost of Tsushima can be brutal at times, it felt less like a fight for survival, and more like a test of your skills.
As such, it showcased a different take when it comes to handling revenge.
Looking at the gameplay itself, combat is tight and satisfying, with the varying sword stances allowing you to mix things up and enjoy taking on hordes of Mongol enemies. Added to this is solid voice work, great cut scenes and a highly likeable protagonist in Jin Sakai.
A special note must also be made about the visuals and in-game camera. The former can be breathtaking at times, with the use of colour, weather and the natural landscape of the island of Tsushima making for an intoxicating mix. As for the camera, the level of customisation and ability to change a myriad settings was impressive, and made for superb visuals to capture.
In a year when a lot of games felt heavy in 2020, Ghost of Tsushima provided great escapism and lived up to our expectations in most respects, along with exceeding them in others.
If you mat not played it for whatever reason, it comes highly recommended.