Ghost of Tsushima - Reviews

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glots

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#1  Edited By glots

Here we go, the final(?) big PS4 exclusive arrives this friday...and judging from the reviews, it seems that..

...it's a somewhat generic open-world game, but still an enjoyable samurai romp with a very pretty scenery and a good atmosphere. I think that's enough for me, it's been a while since the last open-world game I properly played and the setting of Tsushima is different enough to gain my interest. I guess I didn't really expect Suckerpunch to do anything too drastic, considering this is their first attempt at a much bigger open-world title.

"I maintain that Ghost of Tsushima is still, largely, quite fun. The problem is it's an easy, breezy, lite beer kind of fun - the kind that Sucker Punch is known for, after all - and the blanket genericism of it just doesn't sit well against such a po-faced tone. It's another game fallen victim to the palatability blender, coming out the other side as a slightly formless smudge of every genre, without a mastery of any."

"The game hits a lot of fantastic cinematic highs, and those ultimately lift it above the trappings of its familiar open-world quest design and all the innate weaknesses that come with it--but those imperfections and dull edges are definitely still there. Ghost of Tsushima is at its best when you're riding your horse and taking in the beautiful world on your own terms, armed with a sword and a screenshot button, allowing the environmental cues and your own curiosity to guide you. It's not quite a Criterion classic, but a lot of the time it sure looks like one."

"Ghost of Tsushima captures the mystique, fierce violence, and barely contained emotional angst of the great samurai films. The line of inspiration is clearly purposeful; Sucker Punch included a gorgeous “Kurosawa Mode,” which sets a black-and-white, film-grain, audio-treated effect that doubles down on the classic cinematic vibe. It’s well worth turning on, if only for a few missions. But even beyond that cool feature, this is a game that nails the aesthetic it’s shooting for, firmly establishing itself as the medium’s defining samurai saga."

"Ghost of Tsushima is an enormous and densely packed samurai adventure that often left me completely awestruck with both its visual spectacle and excellent combat. By steadily introducing new abilities instead of stat upgrades, its swordplay manages to stay challenging, rewarding, and fun throughout the entire 40 to 50 hours that it took me to beat the campaign. A few aspects are surprisingly lacking in polish in comparison to other first-party Sony games, especially when it comes to enemy AI and the stealth part of its stealth/action split. Still this is an extraordinary open-world action-adventure game that solves several issues that have long gone unaddressed in the genre, while also just being an all around samurai slashin’ good time."

"Ghost of Tsushima has a distinctive aesthetic, after all, but it’s only skin-deep. The core game underneath that alluring exterior is a pastiche of open-world game design standards from five years ago; it lacks a real personality of its own. Ghost of Tsushima offers a lovely world to explore, and there’s value in that, but it should have been so much more than a checklist of activities to accomplish."

Ghost of Tsushima is a joy to play and a joy to behold. Sucker Punch has crafted one of the most memorable open world games of this generation, buoyed by an immensely satisfying combat system and an engaging, dramatic story. Unlike many of its open world peers, it's a refined and focused experience -- gripping and immaculately presented at its best. A fitting first-party swansong for the PS4.

"After a string of creative and daring hits, including Death Stranding, The Last of Us Part II, and Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ghost of Tsushima is something of a letdown. We’ve also seen that it’s entirely possible to take the well-worn open-world structure and twist it in some way to keep it fresh, whether that’s Horizon Zero Dawn’s imaginative setting or Spider-Man’s web-slinging, but Ghost plays things too safe."

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csl316

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Looking forward to it.

The Infamous games were all open-world, though, so it's not their first one.

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glots

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@csl316 said:

Looking forward to it.

The Infamous games were all open-world, though, so it's not their first one.

Fair. A much bigger open-world game then, let's say.

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plan6

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#4  Edited By plan6

The history teacher in me wants more reviews to point out that this is samurai as viewed through samurai movies that happened to make their way to the US. It is so not historical that it might as well be fantasy. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but you would be shocked at the number of people who think historical games and movies provide some level of historical accuracy.

It looks interesting at least, if a bit bland. But bland can be fine. Maybe not $60 fine.

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theonewhoplays

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My main concern is how much variety the missions have. The Infamous games were all pretty bad about this.

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TheRealTurk

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#6  Edited By TheRealTurk

Alex seems to not be that fond of it.

Looking at the reviews, it seems like it might end up being pretty divisive. A lot of reviews are praising the combat, others are saying its horrible. Some people are saying they love wandering through the world, others are finding it repetitive.

None of the reviews I've seen think it's terrible, though, so there might be a minimum bar of quality it hits.

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plan6

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From Patrick it seems to have Witcher 3 issues of many question marks on a map but no way to determine which is worth your time. Not my favorite aspect of the Witcher 3 honestly.

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mrfluke

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I think I’m beginning to just ignore scores and read the text more detailed (shocking I know)

Like gamespot gave it a 7, but reading the text, it’s pretty clear the editor like really enjoyed the time with the game, but just had some nagging issues with it

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Efesell

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Sounds fine, looking forward to it.

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fetchfox

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Gameinformers review paints this exactly as my type of game, I really like Matt Millers style of writing. That and I'm a sucker for good samurai stories.
Maybe this will fill the time until Cyberpunk 2077.

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briarpack

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This is reviewing a lot better than I thought it would, didn't seem like Sony put much of a marketing push behind this.
I'm torn between English and Japanese voices. The lack of lip sync with Japanese audio sucks but at the same time, the main character is voiced by the same actor who voiced Mugen in Samurai Champloo and that weighs a lot in my book.

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Nodima

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Polygon’s review is a pretty big sell for me. Sounds like Perit’s issues with the game have almost entirely to do with being a games critic whose played too many games like this - the last big map full of question marks I cleared was Horizon in 2017!

It would have been nice if they’d found a more bespoke style of environmental storytelling ala Red Dead 2 but I’m not entirely disappointed by the idea of an endless checklist either.

She also seems to really enjoy the characters, world design and general presentation of the combat - as somebody who still considers Second Son one of the best playing games of the generation, I won’t be surprised if my lack of experience with the Assassin’s Creed franchise leads to me really, really loving the moment to moment combat in this.

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MindBullet

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#13  Edited By MindBullet

I guess it sounds... Fine? I suppose that's all it needs to be, really.

The stuff around the way it flubs the actual Japanese stuff in their supposedly Japanese video game is kind of hilarious, though. I didn't realize how accurate having that one white dude come out dressed as a Samurai or w/e to play a bamboo flute at E3 would be to the game's whole aesthetic.

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plan6

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No minimap and a reduced UI is a big plus in my book. If you are going to make a beautiful game, do not make me stare at a minimap.

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Efesell

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@mindbullet: It is a shame that they really only wanted a Japanese aesthetic. Japanese history is pretty wild and full of plenty of opportunities to place a game like this. Instead they’ve just sorta mishmashed a lot of things.

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mikewhy

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@mindbullet: Far as I'm aware, it's always been marketed as a "western take on cool samurai shit", or "let's make something like those cool samurai movies that made it overseas".

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BladeOfCreation

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@plan6: Do you ever engage your students in discussions about this sort of thing? Like if they talk about this game, do you recommend some nonfiction books on the subject?

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Rejizzle

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Patrick wrote something up on it and I'm listening to the podcast with him Austin and Zach right now.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akzj7e/ghost-of-tsushima-first-impressions-ps4-pretty-but-outdated

The biggest sell for me is that Austin briefly described it as "like Assassin's Creed 1 but less repetitive and with better combat." For all its problems, the first Assassin's Creed is the high point of the series for me in terms of game structure and open world design, so this has me really excited. There's something about the systems driven open world games of that era of Ubisoft - Far Cry 2 is another one - that really speaks to my gaming tastes.

I think Austin has a similar fondness for that era of Ubisoft, but he actually is pretty down on the game. Some of his criticisms aren't things I particularly care about other criticisms seem like they would affect my enjoyment. Still, I've enjoyed previous Suckerpunch games more than most (Infamous 1 and 2 are probably the best games ever to be released on the PS3), so I'm more than willing to buy this game near launch.

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Humanity

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From the gameplay reveal trailer it pretty much looked exactly like the reviews say it is. Was kind of hoping maybe there was more to it than simply open world samurai action with a ton of collectibles and stuff on a map.

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AlKusanagi

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I didn't pay attention to development and I had just assumed Japanese would be the default language, so the lip synch bums me out. I wonder if the game is going to bomb in Japan or get a "that's cute" like Last Samurai did.

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Colonel_Pockets

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I saw someone say it's like a sequel to Assassin's Creed 2 which basically sold me. I don't need another AC: Odyssey or Witcher 3 sized game right now especially with what is launching in the fall. Can't wait to pick it up.

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someoneproud

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Other than the bad sync on the Japanese audio it looks a lot better than I was expecting, the combat seems cool as shit to me when I was expecting it to be basically AC combat. I'm a sucker for samurai films and they seem to have nailed a lot of the aesthetics of that so I'm pretty excited for Friday, this is exactly my jam.

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development

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at least my ability to predict very predictable things holds up

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RockinRedBeard

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I'm still pretty hyped for this one! I'm only debating whether I'll play in black and white or color. Unless my memory is faulty (which it totally could be) I can't remember any recent open world games that can be played completely in black and white (except sabateur, but that was a gimmic to bring color back into the world).

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#25  Edited By ToughShed

If the combat is good I think I'm in. I enjoy the samurai theme a lot.

There seems to be open world bloat but I'm fine ignoring some parts of a game like this.

Either way I'll probably wait a bit for the price to hit 40 or so but excited to check it out.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#26  Edited By ll_Exile_ll  Online

@plan6 said:

From Patrick it seems to have Witcher 3 issues of many question marks on a map but no way to determine which is worth your time. Not my favorite aspect of the Witcher 3 honestly.

To be fair, it's pretty easy to determine which question marks on the map in Witcher 3 were worth your time: None of them.

That's always one thing that perplexed about that game. There's like 50 hours of fantastically written and presented side quests, but for some reason they decided to barf a bunch of filler garbage on the map in addition to all that.

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ToughShed

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@nodima said:

Polygon’s review is a pretty big sell for me. Sounds like Perit’s issues with the game have almost entirely to do with being a games critic whose played too many games like this - the last big map full of question marks I cleared was Horizon in 2017!

I feel you on that. I haven't played as many big open world games lately either. Saving it for the occasional ones that jump out.

I do think its a design issue but in some games you can just ignore tons of stuff and it doesn't really matter. I feel like a lot of people can't do that though. At least that applies to a lot of other games like this.

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Efesell

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@ll_exile_ll: To a value of worth, I guess. Many of them are free skill points and very useful recipes. Mixed in randomly with a bunch a trash.

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csl316

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Here's a lesson I learned with Arkham Knight: If you don't wanna deal with collectibles and side quests in an open world game, just skip em!

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Efesell

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@csl316: It's something that I'm always a little confused by when like.. map icons or whatever are treated as such a big deal.

You can always just... not.

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Nodima

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The only map icons I can recall willingly skipping in a map game are Far Cry 4 because I was in the process of uninstalling the game after getting bored with it and the Skellige sea marks in Witcher because of all the deep sea diving and what not.

Otherwise I genuinely feel like I’m doing the devs and myself a disservice not seeing and reading and hearing everything they have to offer.

Even if it’s activities I don’t particularly care for (and Sucker Punch is pretty well known for bleeding mechanics dry) I’m compelled by the XP and random voice work. I can’t just assume something is trivial, I have to know it is...over, and over again (hi, Jedi Fallen Order!)

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NTM

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I have not been that interested in this game; the reviews don't change that. That said, my birthday is coming up and my brother has been asking me what I want, so this may be something I ask for. Some reviews though, like Skill Up, he found the game to be his favorite samurai and one of his favorite open-world games. ACG liked it a lot too. Looking at Open Critic, it says for pluses: it has beautiful vistas (which is one reason why I'd want it) and a sense of style in that it commits to the samurai feel in its story and combat. The minus is that as the game goes on, it can become repetitive. At this point, I don't have high expectations, but at the same time, it'd be nice to be surprised. If I get it, I hope that it's a game I enjoy exploring the world and hearing what it all sounds like. If it can achieve that, it could be up there as my favorite this year because those things are very important to me. Immerse me into your world, make sure that all the mechanics work, and I'm into it.

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VectortheAngel

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Alex seems to not be that fond of it.

Given all his twitter comments, he enjoyed it quite a bit but has acknowledged its flaws. One of the bigger telling aspects is that he's nearly maxed out the skill tree.

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Cybexx

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I don't really mind check-list open-world games like the iNFAMOUS games, Far Crys and recent Assassin's Creeds. What bugs me more is cases where the systems overlap to create too much cognitive dissonance.

Like AC Origins has the mechanic of having little checklists for each fort to encourage you to clear out the captains and collect the loot. AC Odyssey kept this mechanic but now those forts often switch control based on which side won the last conflict in the region.

So if you help Sparta win the battle and then go clear the forts your now killing the Spartan soliders you just assisted in battle. So I stopped doing the fort objectives in any case where they were not held by "bandits".

From the Kinda Funny review I watched it sounds like the Mongol enemies are always villainized which is it's own issue but at least it sounds consistent.

I could see myself just zoning out, clearing camps and getting collectibles while listening to podcasts. It sounds like one of those games.

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Sweep

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#36  Edited By Sweep  Moderator

I went ahead and updated the OP with review scores and final verdicts for ease of use (spoiler free, of course).

One thing I noticed while doing so is it feels like a lot of those review scores don't accurately reflect the tone of each review - there's a lot of reviews describing the game as repetitive and predictable, but still giving it a solid 8 or 9 out of 10?

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SilverSaint

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#37  Edited By SilverSaint

This reminds me of Days Gone reviews, but since the game wasn't just openly shit on for months before release less reviewers were willing to give it a super low 5 or 6. Meanwhile once consumers play it they will probably enjoy the game considerably more then reviewers since the game being long and open world aren't inherent negatives for consumers unlike reviewers.

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Nodima

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@sweep said:

I went ahead and updated the OP with review scores and final verdicts for ease of use (spoiler free, of course).

One thing I noticed while doing so is it feels like a lot of those review scores don't accurately reflect the tone of each review - there's a lot of reviews describing the game as repetitive and predictable, but still giving it a solid 8 or 9 out of 10?

Like I said earlier, I think the unscored Polygon review gets at this and inadvertently makes one of the stronger arguments for a scoreless system I've seen in a while. The primary focus of the game is how beautiful it is, how fun if derivative the combat feels, the sort of unique approach to good vs. bad within the main character that doesn't land on clear binary lines and a few other things...but it does often come back to an idea that the undergirding of everything interesting is pretty rote (if you've done a lot of these before).

So it really depends how tired you are of the structure of the game itself, I think, because what the game is moment to moment seems to mostly resonate with people (if anything sticks out, it's that you don't hear much about the story itself nor its quality, which if Bakalar's review is to be believed is because it's just sort of there) it's just a matter of how much energy you have for how that is gets done. From the negative/middling reviews, it seems mostly like the lack of a unique story or structure hurt the game too much for people to get past, while for people who just enjoyed the checkboxing and combat and setting, they digested how all that was being presented and accepted it as a functional gameplay loop before accepting they still like that just fine.

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csl316

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@silversaint: That's a broad brush. As a consumer, long and open-world are inherent negatives for me. But this game still caught my eye from its announcement for whatever reason.

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Good gravy, these reviews are all over the place. Kind of hard to know what to think. Some of them say the combat is a highlight, others say it's repetitive.

Some of them like the combat because its complex, others claim it's too simplistic.

Some reviewers like the open world, others say it's one note.

Some of them say the story and characters are really compelling, others think the story was forgettable and the characters basic.

Some of them read like it was the most disappointing thing they've played in years and then turn around and give it a 9.

It really makes me wonder if some of these people actually played the game. Generally things aren't that much of a Rorschach test.

@efesell said:

@csl316: It's something that I'm always a little confused by when like.. map icons or whatever are treated as such a big deal.

You can always just... not.

Well, to be fair, the ?s trigger a lot of OCD for people like me, and you can also never tell if the activity is going to be worthwhile until you actually get to the ?. AC: Odyssey was a horrible offender with this. The "limited guidance" mode still put a bunch of vomit on the map screen. I shudder to think what the hand-holdy mode must have been like.

The thing I'll never understand is why games just won't let you turn them off completely.

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SilverSaint

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#41  Edited By SilverSaint

@csl316: While there are def people where those are negatives (obv you as an example) as a whole the vast vast majority of reviewers find Long Games and Open World (which are inherently long games) as negatives. Whereas I would say its much the opposite for consumers or at the very least the vast majority of consumers are positive and/or ambivalent vs the purely negative connotations from reviewers.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#42  Edited By ll_Exile_ll  Online

@efesell said:

@csl316: It's something that I'm always a little confused by when like.. map icons or whatever are treated as such a big deal.

You can always just... not.

Obviously you can just skip low tier filler content, but I don't see how that excuses its poor quality. If the response to aspects of a game being bad is to just straight up not engage with that aspect of the game, that's an indictment of the game as a whole. Yes, you can personally have a better experience by ignoring a lot of that stuff, but what does it say about a game if the best way to enjoy it is ignore large chunks of it?

Instead of having to ignore a bunch of content in the game because it's bad, what if all the content in the game was actually good? Whether that means the devs cutting a bunch of stuff that isn't compelling or doing a better job of making the side content interesting, that makes for a better game than one full stuff that actively makes the game worse for players that engage with it.

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Efesell

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@ll_exile_ll: I don't think filler tasks like that are automatically bad gameplay though. It just may not be where I always want to focus my attention. I engaged with a ton of the Witcher 3 ? marks because sometimes I maybe didn't wanna settle in for another big chunk of the story but still wanted to play Witcher because I enjoyed playing Witcher.

Each one of them maybe didn't feel like some bespoke piece of interesting content but it was a directed way to enjoy more of the game instead of just running around aimlessly.

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Nodima

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#44  Edited By Nodima

@efesell: Sometimes, a guy just wants to run around wine country dropping bombs down the gullets of monster nests.

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ToughShed

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#45  Edited By ToughShed

@efesell said:

@ll_exile_ll: I don't think filler tasks like that are automatically bad gameplay though. It just may not be where I always want to focus my attention. I engaged with a ton of the Witcher 3 ? marks because sometimes I maybe didn't wanna settle in for another big chunk of the story but still wanted to play Witcher because I enjoyed playing Witcher.

Each one of them maybe didn't feel like some bespoke piece of interesting content but it was a directed way to enjoy more of the game instead of just running around aimlessly.

I agree.

It speaks to the quality of that game in part but I do like some low engagement content in a story heavy game that has fun mechanics and amazing atmosphere. For me I think the bloat in Witcher 3 was a lot of the random treasure chest stuff. Otherwise I was not unhappy with any of it.

It does give you a reason to poke around more areas and engage in more combat, which I also loved in the game.

I do enjoy the Zelda BOTW or Dragons Dogma style more sparse map as well but I do not have complaints about that part of the game. It's one of my absolute favorites though. Its a matter of execution.

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SarcasticMudcrab

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Looks like the bigger review sites are giving this the open world label and the smaller youtube reviewers are saying its one of the most beautiful atmospheric and well realised samurai experiences to date.

I trust Alex though, even though my tastes vary quite a bit from his.

Also hearing the combat being compared to batman combat by a few people is a huge turn off. Fuck batman combat.

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Ulfhedinn

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one of the most beautiful atmospheric and well realised samurai experiences to date

As a huge fan of feudal Japan era and culture it really peeked my interested. But don't wanna rush into another game bloated with boring side quests so I'm just gonna check more reviews before making my final decision.

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Nodima

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#48  Edited By Nodima

The more I glance around video reviews, I’m realizing I needn’t worry if I’ll get bored of this or something. I finally moved up from my old 720p LG from 2009 to a TCL 6 Series Monday and while I can see significant differences in some titles (Bloodborne, inFamous Second Son, NBA 2K) and subtle differences in others (Last of Us Part 2, MLB the Show) I can tell I need something less grounded, more fantastical to really put this thing through its paces...and it’d be kind of silly to replay God of War a fifth time already, right?

Just the first 4 minutes of this SkillUp guy’s review I was sold, plus I’m increasingly curious whether I’ll fall in the “wow, generic” or “wow, da best” camp at this point considering a lot of the love for this game is coming from sources that really bounced off of LoU2...

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someoneproud

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To touch on how this game might be received in Japan, Famitsu gave it a 40/40 perfect score (only the third western game to ever get it) and IGN Japan gave it 9/10. Seems they're pretty happy with it.

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Efesell

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@someoneproud: I’ve always gotten the impression that Famitsu is not the most respected publication over there.