One part Kill Bill, one part Uncharted, Ghost of Tsushima has got to be one of the most anticipated titles on show at E3 this year.
The Samurai set open world adventure is a masterpiece in cinematic game creation from the studio Sucker Punch that up until now was best known for its ok but not astonishingly received series Infamous.
In a behind closed doors preview Sucker Punch’s Cinematic Supervisor, Billy Harper took us through the gameplay shown at Sony’s press conference yesterday along with a deep dive on the game’s systems and mechanics that we can expect to see in its final release – whenever that may be.
You play as Jyn, one of the last surviving samurai warriors, doing what he can to defend his homeland against the invading Mongolian horde. Branded as an “RPG with action elements” the game exists in a very detailed and very expansive open world confined to the island of Tsushima. It can be played in a variety of different styles and whilst it has a guiding narrative it doesn’t dictate the order in which much of the game is played.
It does follow a linear structure however, with no branching narratives and many of the outcomes pre-ordained, such as the illusion of choice in not killing Jyn’s betraying companion Masako shown at the end of the gameplay trailer.
Gameplay is similar to that of The Witcher 3’s in that there’s mounted traversal of its expansive world as well as a hybrid sword based combat system that allows you to fight one or more enemies with a variety of short and long attacks as well a dodging and parrying. Duelled combat, again highlighted in the gameplay trailer, is its own unique system. It’s slower and more methodical relying on an analysis of your opponent’s movements and attack style to perform moves that turn their attack against them.
Another highlight from the duel worth mentioning is the physics and system involved in the environment surrounding it. The gorgeous autumn hues of the fallen maple leafs covering the surrounding area of the battle are all individually rendered and react to character movement. With each step, swing and parry the leaves swirl around them in one of the most mesmerising and unique ways I’ve ever seen in a video game.
Environmental interactions don’t stop there though. As Jyn walks through mud it sticks to his clothes and feet. If he rolls to avoid an attack through a puddle that mud then sticks to his clothing and in becoming heavier actually changes the way it moves as he does or the wind blows over it. It’s the game’s unique and extremely detailed approach that takes what could be an incredible game and turns it into a cinematic marvel & a beautiful homage to the film genre it draws so heavily upon.
Gorgeous to look at, beautiful to play, Ghost of Tsushima cannot come fast enough. Sadly, my guess is that wont be until very late 2019 if not the year after – if in which case it is that far away, would be a beautiful swan song to the now long in the tooth PS4.