Highly anticipated: Sony livestreamed one of its State of Play presentations on Thursday. Unlike past updates that showcase news on upcoming games with a few exclusive reveals thrown in for good measure, today's event was solely focused on Sucker Punch's Ghost of Tsushima.
Sucker Punch announced Ghost of Tsushima back in 2017 at Paris Games Week. During E3 2018, the studio showed off eight minutes of early-build gameplay and it already looked gorgeous. Now with the release almost upon us, the developers wanted to dish us the lastest dirt on the open-world epic set in feudal Japan.
The presentation (above) consisted of 18 minutes of gameplay footage with commentary from the developers, and it showed off a lot more than knew about the game.
It comes as no surprise that players will spend a lot of time exploring in Ghost of Tsushima, both on foot and on horseback. Such a mechanic is par for the course in open-world games. However, Sucker Punch worked hard to make sure that navigating the world made sense and worked naturally.
Instead of the typical GPS or compass arrow to use as a guide, players call upon the wind to show them the way. The wind always blows in the direction of your next mission target or a set waypoint. It is an intuitive way of getting around and seems less distracting than other guidance methods.
Another inventive aspect of exploration is how players discover points of interest. There are two ways to find notable places to visit. One is simply by looking around in the distance. Pillars of smoke or odd-shaped rocks and buildings are pretty good hints that there is something there worth checking out.
The second way to find anything from resources to powerups is by following animals. For instance, if you see a fox and chase it, it will lead you to a shrine where you can pray and earn a Charm slot.
The devs also touched on combat, which is brutal and done in the traditional samurai style of swordplay. Well-executed slashes slow time and allow the player to calculate the next parry, thrust, or slice. The mechanic makes for some nicely played out combos. Straight-up honorable fighting is only one aspect of Ghost of Tsushima's combat system.
Another form is when playing as the Ghost (aka ninja). Ninjas fight dirty and stealthily, using distractions and other covert tactics to stab the enemy in the back whenever possible. The Ghost can perform a variety of attacks, including aerial assassinations, backstabs, and straightforward swordplay if the need arises or if he is discovered.
The developers touched on other aspects, as well. Customizable armor changes not only your appearance but also has unique attributes fitting to individual styles of play. There is also a fully customizable photo mode, a Japanese soundtrack with subtitles, and a "Samurai Cinema" mode that makes the visuals look like a classic old Samurai movie.
All in all, it looks like Sucker Punch has the bases covered for anybody's preferred style of gameplay. So far, it's looking like another must-play PlayStation exclusive to give one final bump to its lagging PS4 sales before the PlayStation 5 comes in this holiday season and takes all the wind out of the sails.
Pre-orders have been open since March with a a launch date of June 26. However, thanks to the coronavirus, Sucker Punch pushed release out to July 17. If you are a fan of classic Japanese-style storytelling and gameplay, it should be worth the wait.