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Ghost Of Tsushima: The Kotaku Review

Ghost of Tsushima is a game of compulsion. Like most open-world adventures, everything is designed to get you to explore what’s over the next hill or across that nearby river. The map is peppered with question marks, many of which surround towns and temples in which you meet allies and upgrade equipment. Helpful diversions like hot springs and fox dens have obvious environmental tells. The wind, a major contributor to the game’s overall aesthetic, literally guides you to objectives. But there’s a big difference between scouring a map to completion and actually having a good time, no matter how obsessive a person you may be.

The story opens with Japan on the brink of war. A small group of samurai have gathered on a Tsushima beachhead to repel an invading Mongol force led by Khotun Khan, a fictional descendant of Genghis and Kublai Khan. While the Mongols attacked Japan on multiple occasions, Ghost of Tsushima liberally combines various historical and cultural artifacts for an entirely new narrative. As was the case in the late 13th century, the samurai find themselves unprepared to deal with the invaders’ overwhelming military tactics and get almost completely annihilated.

Ghost of Tsushima puts you in control of Jin Sakai, one of the island’s last remaining samurai. A half-dead Jin is pulled from the battlefield by a wandering thief named Yuna, only to rush off in an attempt to free his captured uncle. Jin makes it his mission to save his home from the invaders, who have wasted no time in running roughshod over Tsushima as a prelude to their attack on the Japanese mainland. For the player, this translates to random battles throughout the countryside and liberating villages occupied by the Mongols, sometimes with Jin’s allies but mostly on your own.

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