How Ghost of Tsushima Ruined Video Games For Me

User Rating: 10 | Ghost of Tsushima PS4

Most of what I am about to write is nothing that hasn't already been said by professional and humble video gamers alike. But what I haven't heard about is the impact that this game has had on my video gaming experience as a whole. I only realized the depth of this change weeks after I had fought my last Mongol and platinumed the game. In a pursuit to find the next adventure to sink my teeth into, I found myself comparing every other game to Ghost regardless of what genre they belonged to. That's how you know Ghost is truly a masterpiece.

In a day and age where video games go gold and are released in a half-baked state, and then gamers are asked to not only pay full price, but also have no guarantee that the original vision of the game may never be fully realized, Ghost is a refreshing reminder of what a finished and polished product should be. With the amount of action and scenery on-screen at all times, you would expect frame-rate drops, nasty pop-ins, character clipping issues, and everything else we have come to see from largely interactive, open-world games. While playing Ghost, I can count on one hand the number of times the frame-rate dropped enough for me to notice.

Even if most of the other large open-world games solved the glitches and frame-rate problems, I have never seen a game optimized as well as Ghost. Let's take fast traveling for example. By definition, it should be a simple and "fast" way of making your way across a large map. But what I have come to see in most games is that many times, it's neither simple nor fast. In other games, there are times when I need to decide whether or not to use the fast travel system because either it's inconveniently designed through specific travel points which require you to go there first, or the load times are so unbearable, that riding my horse (I'm looking at you AC: Odyssey) is much faster than the "fast travel" system. In Ghost, since fast traveling was actually quick, I sometimes couldn't even finish reading the on-screen tip, so I never had to choose what to do out of need. I could choose to enjoy the scenery along the way or use the fast travel system to get there quick. And when I got there, I was never disappointed. I never grew tired of discovering new locations because each place seemed hand-built to evoke a sense of awe and majesty. From the top of a cliff overlooking a waterfall, to the endless fields of colorful flowers swaying in the wind, the joy of finding a new place stayed with me all the way until I hit 100% completion of the game.

I could go on for days about the combat, the gear/item management, leveling system, cinematics, voice acting, story, etc... but again, it's nothing you haven't heard before. It's all fantastic. Here's where it's different. Every game I play from this day on will, inevitably, be compared to Ghost, for better or for worse. This game ruined other video games for me. It is a technical masterpiece that, for me, has created a ripple effect so large, that it affects not only the games I play now, but also show how games in the past have missed the mark, and sets the bar high for games of the future. This is what a finished, well-thought out, lovingly optimized, open-world adventure game should be: perfection on every level.