Ghost of Tsushima: Legends First Impressions

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Red Sky at Night, Samurai's Delight... 

Upon reviewing Ghost of Tsushima on its initial release back in July of this year, I was astonished at how incredibly smooth it swordplay and stealth was. Coming from Sucker Punch, I was expecting more of the same from the studio that had bought us the inFamous series for the better part of a decade. Ghost of Tsushima left PlayStation faithful flawed with its incredible tale, stunning visuals, and unique take on what was assumed to be a simple hack-and-slash campaign, turned Japanese theatre. But a unprecedented announcement of additional content that revealed an online co-op mode had players salivating at the thought of diving back into a new campaign on the isle of Tsushima.

The idea of an alternate setting within the universe that harboured supernatural elements and mythological beings based on Japanese folklore sounded so enticing. Not to mention that all this is Free Downloadable Content, yes Free. No additional cost. Something uncommon, almost foreign in concept within the video gaming space these days. An entirely new experience within an established title of 2020, is handing players an exuberant amount of free content for a Triple-A title. This is an incredible addition that will no doubt make an impact going into the next generation, and implying that Ghost of Tsushima has a place for players that are making their way to Sony’s ninth generation platform.

Given October is the month of all things horror, this is an almost fitting inclusion to the title with the campaign tying in spiritual apparitions to this experience. Playing off its titular nomer, Ghost of Tsushima: Legends strips away any point of realistic adventure and places our appointed protagonist within an ungrounded experience. Does it completely take away from anything established in the mainline campaign? Not really, but it poses a juxtaposition that does question its canonical existence. Instead of one transfixed agenda and protagonist, we’re given waves of multiple missions to be completed by a group of samurai’s known as Legends. These give player’s the choice to assign their respective warrior their own class.

Samurai, Hunter, Ronin or Assassin, you may craft and characterise your adventurer in anyway with the assets available to their respective category. Something I found immediately questionable was the mode’s introductory section, and how our guide/narrator Gyozen, tutorialised and re-introduced abilities that may be familiar to those who have completed the mainline campaign. Legends was not shy to completely outline every facet of proficiency, and help those that may have had a lengthy absence or sabbatical from the action-adventure title. While some may find it completely unnecessary and cumbersome, I found it to be an exemplary demonstration on how to re-introduce the title to players, due to the single player experience boasting a comprehensive control scheme.

While competence is the clear message coming across during the tutorial, there are some fresh ideas that have been added to your Legend’s broad abilities. Understanding Gyozen’s role as a guide becomes abundantly clear as you progress throughout the DLC, as he describes each mission objective more along the lines of an established tale, rather than a task at hand. The Isle Tsushima is once again invaded by the undead Mongols that had overrun the island years before the events of the title’s campaign. Each Mission is given set Chapters, with their own respective objectives. These mainly entail collecting Oni Treasure’s and lost scrolls that may anger the spirits upon collection. This will initiate battle between the Legends and the apparitions, in which Gyozen will guide you though.

It's truly an eerie sight to behold seeing what was once a lush and vibrant environment, seemingly haunted and overrun by a folklore interpretation.

Beginning with a gear score, or “Ki” at level 25, you will be notified of an adequacy in level and difficulty throughout each objective, and whether you’re up to the task of that certain mission. Each Difficulty is ranked in representation of Gold, Silver or Bronze medallions. Upon completion of each objective at base difficulty, you will unlock a level higher; for example Bronze to silver, silver to gold with the higher ranking detailing an addendum to each objective, and an escalating approach to each encounter. Collecting rewards will add to your bonus XP, and its respective rank’s goal. Depending on how you perform during your mission, the faster you complete each objective, the better chances of your tally ranking higher.

Legendary charms will help players stand tall within challenging encounters allowing you to prolong a mission before an untimely demise. Charms also present the ability to raise your legend’s damage score on certain enemies. This helps for those that may be suddenly swarmed by Oni’s in an unlikely solo encounter, and are also given a buffer of five minutes. I would consider this length of time to be more than generous, as I found it to be more than enough to defeat hoards of oncoming Oni’s. Cohesively working as a unit with your friends or random players online is a ton of fun. I had an astonishingly wondrous experience exploring the blood red blazoned isle, with it’s mysterious aesthetic that gave off an instantaneous sensation of pure dread, an even death.

It’s truly an eerie sight to behold seeing what was once a lush and vibrant environment, seemingly haunted and overrun by a folklore interpretation. Still as stunning as its campaign, just as dynamic, if not more intriguing. Setting apart its realistic approach, and giving its core foundation an off-shoot with undesirable circumstances that are completely beyond comprehension makes for one of the best multiplayer experiences this year. I can’t wait to dive back in and play more of Legends, especially on PlayStation 5 and give my final thoughts of the online multiplayer later this year.

For more Ghost of Tsushima: Legends, be sure to tune into Operation PlayStation – DashGamer’s PlayStation Podcast this coming Wednesday Morning at 6AM AEDT.

Ghost of Tsushima - Sucker Punch

Ghost of Tsushima is an action-adventure game developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 4. Featuring an open world, it follows a samurai on a quest to protect Tsushima Island during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. The game was released on July 17, 2020.

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