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Ghost of Tsushima is a better Assassin’s Creed game than (recent) Assassin’s Creed.

While it has good moments, none of the Assassin's Creed games in recent history have come close to it's former glory, and it's infamous for having an identity crisis, and for trying to be something it isn't.

Ghost of Tsushima, from a creator that's really never disappointed me, feels like what I wish Assassin's Creed was. It doesn't have the all of the classic elements that made old AC good, of course. There's no social stealth or (advanced and fluid) freerunning, but it overtook Assassin's Creed in a lot of the areas it's been struggling to figure out for ages, now.

The stealth isn't incredible like in TLOU2 or Metal Gear, but it's good (and a lot better than the cycle of whistle/wait/kill in the newer ac games). It has rpg elements, but they're not ridiculously invasive and they don't act as ridiculous padding. The combat is complex, but it's fed in a slow drip that lets you teach yourself as you gain new items and skills to utilize.

It also puts you in the role of the character (something that made the older Assassin's Creed games good). The story in Ghost of Tsushima isn't amazing, but I appreciate it because of how changes to the character, story wise, are reflected in gameplay. By the end of the game, your character is feared as a "ghost", because your legend has spread. You jump out in black robes and a creepy mask in the dark, and now instead of ganging up on you, the surviving enemies scream and cower or run away, because you're The Ghost of Tsushima, not a samurai.

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There's probably around 10-15 armors you can find, most of which you get through side content. They all look unique, and my only complaint is that you can have a vanity slot seperate from the normal armors (something I actually do like about Assassin's Creed). Instead of levels, or any of them being better than others, they give unique perks. One of them gives you better stealth, one of them can show you nearby collectables and reveal more space on the map, one of them gives you more health and you deal more damage, one improves stealth and scares enemies when you kill, one of them reduces damage taken, etc.

The swordfighting, again, does combat better and deeper than the Assassin's Creed games. For most of Assassin's Creed, melee combat boiled down to attack, block, parry. That's totally fine for a stealth game, but Assassin's Creed can barely be called a stealth game now. The rpg ones gives you abilities in combat, but even those just felt tacked on to me. GoT has different stances that work differently on different kinds of enemies. You can upgrade them and unlock new moves through the skill tree, and they have different uses even then. You don't have to use the stances against certain enemies, it all depends on which one your fighting. I found myself using the kicks in sword duels because they're faster, for example.

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I have a lot to say about this game. It's not perfect, but it really makes me long for the old AC games. Ghost of Tsushima, by just changing the story and adding a few things, would be the perfect Assassin's Creed game.

Upgrading requires resource gathering, but I enjoy raiding enemy camps for resources, because the gameplay is engaging. Upgrades are very tangible, but you can do it at your own pace. Upgrading armor also changes the appearance and unlocks new headgear. Upgrading the sword just improves damage. Upgrading your knife speeds up the stealth kill animation. Again, all rewards that directly affect gameplay and improve the experience. "Man, I look like a badass because I did this mission and won a really difficult duel, then collected a bunch of stuff, then did x, and it was worth it". Instead of "cool, my one outfit is black because I spent countless hours doing an easy but monotonous task".

The game does something that AC didn't. In the recent assassins creed games, earning things felt like a chore. In GoT, earning things is fun. The rewards make a big difference. And it gives you more opportunities and unlocks new playstyles (which you can choose between at any time, because progression doesn't force you to choose one build).

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What confuses me is how they were able to perfect this formula so well in one go, yet Assassin's Creed has been around for over a decade, and has more or less just fallen apart.

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