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[First Impression] Ghost of Tsushima

So, I didn't buy into the hype for the game. I was too busy foaming at the mouth in anticipation of The Last of Us Part II (was not disappointed, absolutely loved it). I figured I'd wait for a good deal on the PlayStation Store before buying it and giving it a whirl. There wasn't really anything about the game that stood out to me from the promotional material but shortly after payday a few weeks ago I thought, to hell with it, let's give it a shot. I needed a new game to play on the side as I worked through Bravely Default II, anyway.

I'm about four or five hours into the game now and I still fail to see what everyone else was raving about. What's more is that I fail to see why everyone was saying this was a better made game than TLOUII (actually, I have my own theories but they tend to be… controversial). In every single regard, GOT just feels like a bland, uninspired slog.

Upgrades are so marginal that they don't even feel like upgrade – including the stances you can unlock. I've got the stone and water stances available to me and I've found the water stance to be useful only in very specific circumstances. There's little freedom in the combat. I thought that the bow, at least, would provide some much-needed sense of reward by, for example, increasing damage dealt or providing some resolve or other experience bonuses when scoring a headshot. But it doesn't even appear that you can score headshots with the bow? Perhaps that's an upgrade you can get for the bow later in the game but even if that is indeed the case, I have to wonder why they felt the need to gate what should be a core mechanic of archery. At least the kunai feel powerful and good to use.

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Think of every open world trope in existence, stick them together with some PVA glue and electrician's tape, and you've got GOT's open world. There isn't a single original idea in here apart from the guiding wind and even then, it's an interesting new coat of paint for what is essentially the exact same invisible line you follow to your destination in other open world titles.

The thing is, it's not that Ghost of Tsushima is strictly bad at anything that it does. It just could've done so many of those things either more competently or made them more interesting. Instead, we got another cookie cutter open world title in which you roam around the map doing repetitive tasks while occasionally killing enemies, collecting meagre resources, and hunting down countless hot springs just to inch your maximum health up by a few pixels.

I can't say I'll ever get around to finishing it – I have so many other games I would rather play which I actually enjoy – but I'm hoping that it does get better. Going by what I've heard from other people, though, the Jin you control at the start vs the Jin you control at the end aren't terribly different from one another.

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tl;dr game bores me to tears, 6/10 at best


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