Ghost of Tsushima seems like the perfect game for Kurosawa fans
Ghost of Tsushima’s presentation at E3 2018 left many in awe, promising an unforgettable journey as a mighty samurai
For any fan of Kurosawa movies, those nine minutes in which Ghost of Tsushima was shown during the Sony conference at E3 2018 have struck the right chords. A sacred temple, two samurai studying each other, their hand on the daisho before unleashing the katana and starting a choreographic dance on a carpet of scarlet leaves, while in the background the sunset turns the fascinating island of Tsushima red. In terms of setting, landscapes and atmosphere, the new Sucker Punch project was among the most impressive titles we saw at this edition of E3 in Los Angeles, and the Californian event gave us a clearer idea of the type of game that awaits us.
With the announcement of Sekiro on the one hand and Nioh 2 on the other, several samurai games are looming, but the interpretation of Ghost of Tsushima is placed in a very specific context. Set in full feudal Japan during the Mongol invasion, Ghost of Tsushima will see the samurai Jin Sakai cross the island with the ultimate goal of repelling the invaders. The sequence shown is from a secondary mission in which, together with a fighter named Masako, Jin must reach an ancient temple and rescue a monk before he is captured and killed by Mongol forces. It was interesting to see Masako betray Jin to kill the monk, as well as the protagonist’s attempts to remind her of the imminent threat of their true enemies. In short, a non-trivial story is expected, with different characters and twists, just like in a Kurosawa film. The presentation of the game has been largely focused on the impressive reproduction of the world in minute detail, and on several occasions the character has stopped to allow fans to enjoy the show.
Climbing to the top of a hill you find yourself in front of an enormous expanse of wheat; the sky is filled with burning arrows, pagodas and shrines can be seen in the distance on the mountains, where the autumn leaves whirl due to the wind. Certainly there will be sequences in the thick rain (an icon in Kurosawa’s films): in the trailer it was possible to glimpse precipitation on the horizon, while the protagonist himself wears a straw cape used in Japanese tradition to cover himself from the elements. Although it has not yet been confirmed, the impression one gets from watching the trailer is that Jin will be able to reach any visible place on his mount. However, it is when the protagonist gets off his horse and prepares an ambush for the enemies that we notice how close the new Sucker Punch action is to the formula of games such as Assassin’s Creed and the Arkham series, from stealth approaches to executions from above, passing through the climbing and yes, even for fights where enemies attack one at a time (trick which, for the record, is also widely used in samurai movies). Perhaps the very derivative gameplay is the aspect of the presentation that is less striking. During the fight against Masako, the camera changes perspective and positions itself to the side to make the duel between the two even more cinematic; yet, the characters still appear raw, their animations too rigid, creating a clear cut between the stage and the actors.