Ghost of Tsushima looks like the samurai Assassin’s Creed we never got
Saturday at 12:50 pm
A samurai Assassin’s Creed game is so obvious that it’s almost shocking Ubisoft hasn’t made it yet. It appears Sony has been, but under its own IP.
Stealth, mixed with sword-based combat with some archery? That’s Assassin’s Creed’s wheelhouse. It’s also the wheelhouse of a samurai. Enter Ghost of Tsushima, which is set to come out July 17.
We didn’t know much about Ghost of Tsushima’s gameplay until PlayStation’s State of Play video on Thursday. We got a look at both how exploring the world and how combat will work. In both cases, the game borrows heavily from Assassin’s Creed. The world, navigation and gameplay that was on display struck a mix between the classic Assassin’s Creed games and the modern RPG versions of Origins and Odyssey.
Before diving deeper into the similarities, it’s worth noting that open-world games are well-trodden territory, especially in recent years as technology has allowed for bigger worlds that players can lose 100-plus hours to. That said, Ghost of Tsushima seems to line up more with Assassin’s Creed than any other franchise in the genre.
From the first few seconds of the video, you see a point on the map marked “Undiscovered location.” Again this is nothing unique, but the phrasing is straight out of Origins and Odyssey.
As you see the protagonist, Jin, ride a horse (something you can do in Odyssey) to his desired location, you see a mix of man-made paths and other terrain such as open fields and lightly-wooded forests (Odyssey again). Those traits aren’t unique to any open-world game, but the glowing bamboo that he collects and adds to his inventory while riding his horse is straight out of Odyssey.
Later on, you see Jin approach a location with enemies and the task of destroying a shipyard. Again, this is nothing new to this genre of video game, but the location is enclosed by barriers and natural rock formations, something Assassin’s Creed has been utilizing since the franchise left dense cities for sprawling areas.
As he approaches the location, Jin can use stealth or sword-based combat. They even show him using his bow to pick off a couple enemies. He is able to climb up to higher elevation to jump down and assassinate enemies, a hallmark of Assassin’s Creed for the duration of the franchise. The game even gives you an “assassinate” prompt that you can execute with the square button. I am confident you could take gameplay from Origins or Odyssey and make it look almost identical, scene for scene.
The style of the combat appears to lean more towards the older AC games. Jin pulls off some flashy looking one-hit kills that reminded me of the counter system that AC leaned upon in its first handful of entries. That could get tiresome as it did in the early AC games, but it looked cool seeing a few times in the demo.
Jin even pulls out firecrackers to distract guards. He throws them on the ground and guards go right to them, luring them exactly where the player wanted them to be. Firecrackers were introduced in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and expanded upon in Rogue a year later.
An alert indicator shows the direction of an enemy that has noticed you. It fills up and changes color as your stealth is lost and you enter combat. This is something less unique to AC, but is a staple of the franchise, especially in recent years.
As the combat section of the video reaches its climax, Jin climbs up to the mast of a docked ship to get a better vantage point and reach his destination. If that doesn’t give you Assassin’s Creed vibes, nothing well.
There’s nothing wrong with these comparisons. In fact, I think they are a good thing. Assassin’s Creed is an incredibly popular franchise for a lot of reasons and Ghost of Tsushima appears poised to capitalize on that with their own flavor. The presentation is an upgrade over any AC game, which shouldn’t be a surprise given what Ghost studio Sucker Punch pulled off in the InFamous franchise, most notably with the gorgeous Infamous Second Son. The art style, focus on presentation and emphasis of the game’s photo mode all have Sucker Punch’s fingerprints.
Ghost of Tsushima doesn’t look revolutionary, but rather an evolution of a deeply explored genre. That’s good enough to have me excited. I always wanted an Assassin’s Creed game in Japan anyway.