What a guy! The Mongolian leader Khotun Khan can fight like no one else, he is also educated and in general: In the cutscenes from Ghost of Tsushima he looks strikingly sympathetic – like the bearded way. Unfortunately he knows no mercy, but also heads in the same cutscenes and burns enemies.
However, we do not control Khotun Khan, but rather his most important enemy, the samurai Jin Sakai. At least at the beginning of the Ghost of Tsushima campaign, Jin is anything but a superhero: on the battlefield, he has to watch his uncle, Prince Shimura, be captured and humiliated by Khotun Khan.
It gets worse: Jin is struck down by arrows and, after recovering, has to sneak through the Mongol-occupied territory with the help of a thief on shaky legs to find his family’s katana (sword). It’s a humiliation for a samurai! And when Jin meets Khotun Khan a little later, a good half an hour after the start of the game, the thing goes … – oh, we’d rather not reveal that.
In any case, the conflict between the proud-arrogant samurai and the bearish-brute Mongolian boss is the focus of the plot of Ghost of Tsushima. By the way: Tsushima is an island between Japan and South Korea that was actually occupied by Mongols in the 13th century. The game is loosely based on this historical template. Khotun Khan is a fictional character who describes himself as the cousin of the historically authenticated Genghis grandson Kublai Khan.
In addition to the historical references, Ghost of Tsushima itself is a bit historical: that from the Sony developer studio sucker Punch The action game produced is the last big exclusive game for Playstation 4. This completes a circle, because the Infamous Second Sun, also from Sucker Punch (test on Golem.de), was one of the first important games for the PS4.
In Ghost of Tsushima we control Samurai Jin from the shoulder perspective through the freely accessible island world. This is reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed in Japan, but there are differences. So climbing does not play a major role because it is only possible and extremely easy on specially designed rock walls. There is also no remote reconnaissance by eagle or raven, instead we are traveling on foot, on horseback or by fast travel.
But above all: the mood is very different. While Assassin’s Creed tries to build a historically coherent backdrop, Tsushima looks like a fairytale world. Incidentally, it is also smaller: While Assassin’s Creed offers entire countries in epic size, we always travel only a few hundred or a thousand meters in Tsushima.
There are hardly any settlements, but there are forests in autumn colors, beautiful hilly landscapes and flower meadows in all conceivable colors. Sunrises and sunsets and the night sky look particularly spectacular (but not realistic). If that’s too colorful for you: In the options you can activate a black and white filter as a reference to the director Akira Kurosawa (The Seven Samurai).
Jin rides a mission with Ms. Masako. (Image: Sony / Screenshot: Golem.de)
Speaking of comparisons, the island world and elements of the design remind us of the first Gothic by Piranha Bytes. The sometimes weird figures, such as the thief Yuna and the zealous master archer Sensei Ishikawa, also go well with this. In addition, Tsushima gives the feeling of being stuck in a fight between factions – bandits, samurai, Mongols and others. However, as Jin, we cannot specifically join one of these groups.
The comparisons made in advance by parts of the community with Dark Souls, Bloodbourne or Sekiro have not been confirmed. Ghost of Tsushima is really easy in the lowest of three difficulty levels, but far from a sekiro even in the highest. Even the grappling hook has a different function in Tsushima, namely as a climbing aid in a few specially designated places.