The past few days have been great for Sony and the PlayStation brand. Yesterday, Epic Games demonstrated the next-gen’s true potential with a dazzling tech demo running real-time on a PlayStation 5. Today, Sony regaled once again with an extended look the very last exclusive to grace the PlayStation 4, Ghost of Tsushima.
As promised earlier this week, PlayStation’s latest State of Play focused solely on Ghost of Tsushima. There’s a lot to be said for execution, especially in the wake of Microsoft’s next-gen gameplay misfire last week.
Sony offered a masterclass.
There were no distractions, no trite jokes, no developers flogging their game through a blurry webcam from a home office. PlayStation jumped right in with the good stuff – the gameplay. And what a treat it was.
It was an ambitious open-world depiction of feudal Japan steeped in natural beauty. The tone perfectly befits roaming the countryside, picking off the enclaves of an occupying Mongol force.
The broadcast offered our first sustained look at the core components of the game: exploration and combat.
Protagonist Jin uses the wind to guide him to points of interest while heeding the call of errant wildlife and environmental queues.
Sucker Punch is aiming to offer players a degree of agency is exploring the island – a welcome change from the suffocating hand-holding so often associated with the open-world genre.
Sucker Punch has taken a dual approach to combat: one reflecting the Samurai nobility of Jin where precision and economy are essential. The other adopts stealth through the conduit of the dishonorable titular ghost. The liberal use of dirty tricks, fear, and assassination to down enemies is recommended.
Despite some clear similarities to the Assassin’s Creed series and a little Sekiro thrown in for good measure, Ghost of Tsushima looks to gather all the best elements of the massive, open-world sandbox packed with curiosities and action at every turn. And not just that.
It seems to channel the vision and expertise of Sony’s first-party know-how to mark a final hurrah for what’s been a stellar generation.
As the PlayStation 4 era comes to an end, I couldn’t think of a more fitting swan song for the platform. There’s something poetic about two major Sucker Punch titles book-ending the generation.
It started with Infamous Second Son in the heady early days when developers were getting to grips with the new hardware. It ends with Ghost of Tsushima, an end of life-cycle heavy hitter that harnesses all the power of the seven-year-old console.
We’ve gone full circle, and the PlayStation 4 has given us so much. What better send-off for the console than Ghost of Tsushima?
Oh, and you can even pet foxes. Bring on July 17.
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