Sucker Punch is a company with a good deal of pedigree. Ghost of Tsushima continues their brand of high quality open world titles. Set during the Mongol invasion of Japan during 1274. The world is dripping with historical and cultural lore that really helps to sink the player in to a rich weave of criss-crossing backstory elements.
Sakai Jin, the games lead character, comes from a long line of Samurai warriors that ruled from Omi Estate. The game begins on the battlefield of the main battle of the war, we find ourselves learning about the Samurai code right from the beginning. Jin suffers defeat at the hands of Mongols and then the game proper begins. Act 1 sees Jin fighting to liberate his Uncle from an Mongol prison cell. Having to unite old allies to enable him to get close.
This is where the side stories come in, each character has their own storyline, Yuna, Masako, Ichikawa, Norio each have their own trophy, but other characters also need to be completed for a seperate gold trophy for comlleting every mission in the game. Inside these you also get Mythic tales that include real stories seeping in to the folklore of Japanese culture.
Combat wise, it's really strong. You can update the swords to make them more able to perform parries and blocks, plus ofcourse increasing its damage. You can unlock new stances by observing and killing Mongol leaders inside Mongol Territories dotted around the map, that you can find by exploring around. These also show missing parts of the map, such as the locations of Fox Dens, Shintl shrines, Pillars of Honour etc.
Back to combat and you can use your technique skills to upgrade each one four times. You have Stone, Water, Wind and Moon. Stone is for swordsmen and is unlocked automatically, Water is used to take out shield enemies, Wind for Spearmen and Moon for Brutes. Wind is also brilliant for kicking people off cliffs in a Japanese-style "This. Is. Sparta!" moment. The game also uses a stealth mechanic, more akin to Assassin's Creed than other stealth titles. Hiding in long grass using bows and assassinations (which the game makes you feel guilty for using at certain points in the game), there are also 'Ghost weapons' such as Black powder bombs, Smoke bombs, sticky bombs, kunai (a throwing knife) etc. You can also unlock distraction techniques throw these options e.g. wind chimes and firecrackers.
There's more dimensions to combat, having showdowns by pressing up on the d-pad, challenging remaining enemies of and area to a fair fight. Also, the quite brilliant 'Ghost Stance', which to be fair, is in part borrowed from other games. Where the game slows down and lets you kill three enemies with a one hit kill.
Then there are duels, which takes a more prominent stance (no pun intended) in the Mythic quest 'The Six Blades of Kojiro' in Act 2.
There are a ton of collections, I've named a few already, Fox Dens allow you to gain more charm slots to make Jin more powerful, Once they're done, it makes the Charm kf Inari more potent. Shinto shrines unlock more charms for you to use. Pillars of Honour unlocks sword vanity options. Hot Springs increases the maximum health of Jin.
Then we have the generalised versions of Mongol Artifacts and Records. Records give you historical context as do Mongol Artifacts. Now, all of these can be found very easily, Artifacts and Records can be found using the games wind mechanic by uograding your travellers armour, whilst world events (e.g. Fox Dens) can be found easily by upgrading the wind skills via technique points.
It has a very strong story, based on the morality of sticking to your ethics or stepping out your comfort zone to achieve your goals, becoming something greater than yourself. The experience is somewhat enhanced by character driven side questlines that really help you understand the world around you as much as the Samurai code.
Ghost of Tsushima is possibly the most fitting swansong to the PS4's time as an current gen system, with the PS5 on the horrizon, it's unclear whether Sucker Punch will plan DLC for the game, which is a shame, because, personally, this reviewer feels like there could easily be stories woven in to DLC.
Trophies are pretty simple, as with most Sony exclusive titles, most are tied to Storyline, collectibles or combat. There are a few nice little misc trophies, but nothing out of the ordinary for fans of either open world titles or Sucker Punch titles.
A perfect game to define the final year(s) of the PS4's existance. There's not much wrong in the title, but little glitches here or there at the end of the game, can get a tiny bit annoying, you can buy this game with confidence, after the divided opinion that The Last of Us Part Ii recieved, you'll struggle to find much wrong with Ghost of Tsushima.