Game Design | Day 12

This session was on 1st April, 2021

The year is 1274 CE on the island of Tsushima. Samurai warriors are the legendary defenders of Japan until the fearsome Mongol Empire invades, wreaking havoc and conquering Tsushima, defeating nearly all samurai stationed on Tsushima Island. As one of the last surviving samurai, Jin Sakai rises from the ashes to fight back with help from his allies, but the honorable tactics and code of the samurai won’t lead to a possible victory over the Mongols. Jin must move beyond samurai traditions to forge a new way of fighting — the way of the Ghost — as he wages an unconventional war for the freedom of Japan.

Today, we watched a stream of the action-adventure PS4 exclusive, Ghost Of Tsushima! This game was developed Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2020. Some other titles from the studio include the Infamous game series, which was also quite popular.

In an open world, Jin Sakai, a samurai is on a quest to protect Tsushima Island during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. The game features a large open world, without waypoints, which can be explored without guidance. Players can travel to different parts of the world on horseback. The direction guiding mechanism in this game was quite unique, which was through wind. Just place a marker on the map, and the wind will show you the way.

The most unique aspect of this game for me, was the intricately beautiful landscape, ultra-realistic graphics, added with the natural charm of the Japanese culture. The grass and bushes swaying in the wind was absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Mitchell Saltzman of IGN described the game as “an absolutely gorgeous adventure through one of history’s most strikingly beautiful landscapes”, which was on point. The stream was in Japanese for the first half, and the experience was 🎶🤩🥰. Dialogue in English kind of made the experience a little less enjoyable, but it had the added benefit of the ability to focus more on visuals rather than reading subtitles half the time. The fight sequences reminded me of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which I happened to play a little some time back. Unlike Sekiro, the focus here was on the narrative rather than gut-wrenching gameplay difficulty.

The characters of the game were:

The protagonist Jin Sakai , is the head of Sakai clan and a samurai warrior. He is the nephew and ward of Lord Shimura, the jitō of Tsushima. He has several friends and companions he meets, including a thief named Yuna and her blacksmith brother Taka, a female warrior named Lady Masako Adachi, renowned Kyūdō archer Sensei Ishikawa, merchant and con-artist Kenji, Buddhist warrior monk Norio, Clan Sakai’s elderly caretaker Yuriko, and Jin’s childhood friend and leader of the infamous Straw Hat rōnin, Ryuzo. The main antagonist is the ruthless and cunning general Khotun Khan of the Mongol Empire, grandson of Genghis Khan.

Being an anime fan, I loved this game. Experiencing the beauty of the Japanese culture in an ultra realistic medium, with soothing background music and gorgeously crafted cutscenes, the experience was just phenomenal. I would love to play this game someday.

Kratos, the God of War, has defeated the Gods of Olympus and has started his life anew, in one of the Nine Realms of Norse Mythology: Midgard; he now has a son named Atreus, whom he had with his late wife Faye. Together, Kratos and Atreus travel across The Realms to scatter Faye’s ashes from the highest peak in all the land.

The next game streamed was God of War 2018. God of War is an action-adventure game developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was released worldwide on 20th April 2018 As a PlayStation 4 exclusive. It is the eighth installment in the God of War series, and the sequel to 2010’s God of War III.

The game director for God of War was Cory Barlog. He is the creative director of Santa Monica Studio. He‘s a director and a writer, most famously known for his work on the God of War series. Described by Cory as a reimagining of the franchise, a major gameplay change in this game is that Kratos makes use of a magical battle axe instead of his signature double-chained blades. God of War also uses an over-the-shoulder free camera, with the entire game in one shot. It was the first 3D AAA game to use a one-shot camera. The game also includes role-playing video game elements, and Kratos’ son Atreus provides assistance in combat.

In this game, the thing that I liked the most was the interaction between Kratos and Atreus. Atreus would talk constantly, asking silly questions, and putting himself in danger, just like kids do. It was kind of annoying, but the connection between both the characters as father and son felt very real. The single shot feature of the game was also quite interesting to watch.

All in all, I felt this game had some drastic changes as compared to it’s previous titles. Having played the first instalment and being a fan, I’m not sure if I like the new weapon and camera mechanics. After all, it was God of war which made hack and slash my favorite fight mechanic. But if we look beyond such technical and mechanical aspects, this game explored a different side of Kratos, which we had never seen. Seeing a monster slashing beast in a father figure who cares for his will get you emotional somewhere throughout the story. So, in conclusion, I think this game, though bringing in drastic changes, offers something that we would’ve never gotten otherwise in any other title.