The Wait For It Podcast

The Game Room Where It Happens - Ghost of Tsushima

January 17, 2024
The Wait For It Podcast
The Game Room Where It Happens - Ghost of Tsushima
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Show Notes Transcript
Embark on a journey through the misty isles of Tsushima with us as we dissect the intricacies of one of the most talked-about PlayStation exclusives. From the gripping opening sequence to the serene petting of friendly foxes, we promise to guide you through every nook and cranny of this masterful gaming experience. Reflect with us on the crisp transition from playing on PS4 to being awestruck by the definitive edition on PS5, and join in as we compare notes on how "Ghost of Tsushima" has carved its niche alongside industry behemoths and even given Assassin's Creed a run for its money.

This episode isn't just about gaming mechanics and stunning graphics; it's about immersion, storytelling, and the emotional resonance brought to life by a stellar voice cast and side characters that stick with you long after you've turned off your console. Discover how the innovative decision to minimize on-screen UI creates a canvas for players to truly become one with the game, and why the idea of a cinematic adaptation has us on the edge of our gaming chairs. The wind is calling, and it beckons you to join us in The Game Room Where It Happens, where the spirit of adventure is just a play button away.

Want to hear more about how we got into gaming? Listen to the interview we did with Your Friendly Neighborhood Gamers

🔻You can find all important links for the podcast over at https://linktr.ee/waitforitpodcast (which includes our brand new Patreon site!)🔺

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to your go-to source for entertainment. Wait for it.

Speaker 2:

Gaming. Wait for it. Anime Plus Ultra.

Speaker 1:

Mr Eric Almighty and Phil the Filipino. Yeah, they've got you covered, and all you gotta do is Wait for it.

Speaker 2:

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Wait for it podcast. I am your co-host, phil Smith, aka Phil the Filipino, and joining me, as always, is your other co-host, mr Eric Almighty. And Eric. We are here with yet another first of 2024, which is the first episode of the game room where it happens, and super excited for this conversation. This is a title that I have been begging you to play for a very, very long time. It actually kind of totally slipped my mind that this came out at the very end of the PS4 lifecycle. Now, of course, that game is available on PlayStation 5. Now the definitive edition and, to jump a little bit ahead, I think the way you must play this game in 2024 and how you experience it is especially it needs to be on the PlayStation 5. And I can't wait to hear about your experience. You haven't gotten to play it all the way through, but, as we discussed in our pre-show before we got started, you've gotten a pretty good feel of it and I'm excited to see you know how your experience went and how you feel about the franchise going forward.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's going to be super exciting. This game has been on my radar for a while and, phil, you know how we have like a backlog of queues and watch lists and stuff like that for movies and TV shows. Well, my gaming queue is pretty backed up and it's kind of harder to jump into those because you have to commit so much time and attention to those type of games. But when we were kind of thinking about what is a game that we could talk about here in the month of January, this game just popped into my head and I was like, yeah, I think it's time and it's kind of interesting that this game came out in 2020 and the PS5 version 2021. So, just a few years removed, still pretty fresh, and I can tell you now this game plays very well. So I don't feel a very big difference. I don't feel like I missed out on the time of when they released happen. So I'm excited to give my perspective from the PS5 side of things and of course, you played it, I believe, on the PS4. So we're going to have a nice little mixture of perceptions on how this game kind of plays and ultimately, how we felt about it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the commentary on this game is very interesting because it is overwhelmingly positive, but it seems like it has failed to exist, kind of in the zeitgeist of those PlayStation exclusives that are very, very good, because this is, in my opinion, again jumping ahead, a top tier PlayStation exclusive, but we just don't really hear too much about it. Maybe that's because it's been a while since it came out Again. It did come out during the pandemic, technically, and then we got the definitive edition. So I am excited to see how you feel about it now, getting a fresh pair of eyes on it, and then again, we'll go back to how I felt back in 2020 when it first came out. And, as you can see in the title of this episode, we are talking about Ghost of Tsushima, which was developed by Sucker Punch and Eric that's a developer I mean you have a lot of love for in terms of other games that they have put out. So when they were announced to be putting out this you know a samurai, you know type of game I thought, hey, they're a great studio and I'm excited to see what they can do with this. And boy did they run with the ball. So, before we get started, if you are not familiar with Ghost of Tsushima. I'll give you a very quick synopsis of the game. This is, as we mentioned, a PlayStation exclusive. The year is 1274. Samois samurai warriors are the legendary defenders of Japan until the fearsome Mongol Empire invades the island of Tsushima, wreaking havoc and conquering the local population. As one of the last surviving samurai, you rise from the ashes to fight back. But honorable tactics won't lead you to victory. You must move beyond your samurai traditions to forge a new way of fighting, the way of the ghost as you wage an unconventional war for the freedom of Japan. And yeah, that's Eric. This game also popped up a lot on when we used to do what did I miss like monthly? Because the community for this game has also been really great. When you talk about the actual island of Tsushima and as this again, as time has passed, it has been really neat to see kind of people in this community revisiting the game, seeing people put out YouTube, quote unquote documentaries about their initial experience and then how they re experienced it again on the PlayStation 5. So I want to ask you probably the question I've I've been waiting to ask you the most and one of the things that have stuck out with me still to this day with this game, and even though you know we're going to get into a whole lot of really memorable moments Right out of the gate. What do you think of the opening scene? And then the opening title scene where he's on the horse, you know, riding through the field and it's just this absolutely beautiful set piece. Everything opens up. You hear the music crescendo, you see the sun rise on the horizon and everything like that. That is one of those moments that has stuck with me, in terms of just gaming in general, for a very, very long time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I don't know again to your point earlier how people aren't talking about this game as one of the top pinnacle, like a PlayStation exclusive games, because I immediately was sucked into this world and this game starts off pretty strong. I mean you're, you're in it and you're going through it and once you get to the title screen and all of that's happening like I was ready to explore the world. At that point. I think the world they've built for this game is quite outstanding, outstanding, to become completely honest, because the game is so beautiful to look at from a technical standpoint and the combat is fast, it's quick, it's fun, it's got some skill level to it and some patience needed. I love the elements of the story so far. Again, just for transparency, I have not completed Ghost of Tsushima. I am in the latter part of Act Two at the time of this recording. But, phil, you obviously have finished the game and we'll have some different perspectives there to talk about. I'm curious with this game. I've heard you talk about it like at times but what was kind of your reaction when the game came out? Because I was surprised to see, when I was looking back at 2020, other games that came out that year, the Last of Us, part Two, hades or around that time, I should say Animal Crossing. I mean there were so many games that were nominated for Game of the Year Award. I kind of understand why the game hasn't gotten the notoriety at this point, considering the pandemic, but what was it like for you playing it, compared to some of those other titles that year?

Speaker 2:

Man, it was a weird year, right. I mean you talk about the Last of Us Part Two and the kind of just mess that that had left us in in terms of emotions and, of course, all of the controversy. And then you know Animal Crossing that's another great example too. That came out and was like the perfect pandemic game and I think what it is with Ghost of Tsushima as far as why it's kind of just fell by the way, fallen by the wayside, and maybe this is like a lazy answer, but it didn't really have a lot of controversy. I think the game released without a hitch. You know, it was reviewed very, very well and it was just a solid game from start to finish. Remember, when Animal Crossing came out, you couldn't find a Nintendo Switch, like I had to search high and low to get a Switch Lite. That's how I ended up playing the game. Obviously, we're not going to get into all the mess with the Last of Us Part Two, but I think really that might be. It is that it just kind of came and went. It was very, very good and, you know, maybe some people just kind of missed out on it until you know that definitive edition came out. I actually was watching one of the creators I follow on YouTube who stated when they first played it on the PlayStation Plus, on the PS4, that they really could not get into the game just because it wasn't performing too well on the PS4 Pro. I don't remember having that many issues. I know I definitely ran into a few bugs here and there, but nothing game breaking. But then when they revisited the game in 2023, I believe, when the definitive edition had been well out they now will look at it as again one of those tentpole franchises for the PlayStation going forward. I think this was also. It was after Days Gone had come out as well, and maybe people had a little bit of, like a bad taste in their mouth from that, even though that is also now a game people are coming around to and recognizing it for being a really, really good game. Eric, that might be have to, might have to be something we have to like revisit, maybe somewhere down the line, because people are seeing the praises of that game now and maybe their creator, maybe we owe that person an apology because people are now coming around to that game. It's getting a little bit of a renaissance. So I think all of those things kind of played into it. But I mean, when you release in the same year as a powerhouse, such as the last of us, part two, it's going to. You're going to struggle with headlines when you know again, the game just kind of came and went and you know it was what it was.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and again, this game like has a lot of stuff going for it. It's funny to read this after playing it, because I wasn't a big fan of this original game Mind you, I didn't play it when it came out originally. But Shadow of the Colossus is kind of the comparison when it comes to like exploring the world and some of the style, and that makes a lot of sense. Reading it now and doing some research leading up to this episode, I would think that would be really appealing to a lot of people. From what I understand, wikipedia fact of the day that I could see was that this was one of the fastest selling titles Make you know, not the fastest ceiling, but it did pretty well and it was pretty successful enough to garner interest for a potential movie, which I do remember being brought up on. What Did I Miss on that series that we do and we did back in the day. So in that format I personally think there's a lot of stuff going for this game. I guess I'm just shocked that not a lot of people were talking about it, but I do want to talk about the game at Lang Phil and a little bit about the gameplay. I was shocked that you played this game once I got into the combat, because this is not your style of game at all. So walk me through your experience I'm assuming positive with this game and how you felt about the combat, which is very much about patience, parrying and the likes. What do you?

Speaker 2:

mean, have I ever given a sense that maybe parrying isn't my specialty? I don't recall.

Speaker 1:

Parrying and platforming, you know just basic game functions.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't know what it was about this that made me pick it up. And not to say that the game is easy, because it is not. There are definitely moments where I got absolutely annihilated, especially in some of those boss fights, those one-on-one duels, and I think again, as you mentioned, you know, it does require a whole lot of patience and maybe because in some of those other games I feel like my patience wasn't necessarily rewarded. Maybe that's why some of those other situations are a little bit more frustrating. But also, the combat is just so satisfying, like towards the end of the game and Eric, you're getting a little bit closer to there. I mean, once you start leveling up and getting better gear and unlocking new items and stuff like that and becoming becoming the ghost. I mean the gameplay is just so much fun. It really really harken back to the days of, like the older Assassin's Creed games and you know that's where this game gets a lot of comparison and I'm just going to say this right now other than maybe the OGs, you know the Assassin's Creed IIs and some of those are original games that came out earlier on. This blows Assassin's Creed modern day out of the water, I mean, I think this, I think Ghost of Tsushima is everything that Assassin's Creed would like to be. No, granted, I haven't played an Assassin's Creed game in a while, but I can tell you that I've dabbled in enough of them to know that I never felt that the combat and the mobility or anything like that was as fluid as it has been in Ghost of Tsushima, even back then and especially here now in 2024. So I think just the fact that the combat was so satisfying and the ease in which you can switch between different fighting styles is so cool, like adjusting on the fly. Eric, this is like not an exact one on one comparison, but we talk. You talked about how you know Hogwarts Legacy was your game of the year and I talked about how, like, once you finally got into the groove of combat with Hogwarts Legacy, it became a lot of fun and adjusting the type of spell that you need to use or, of course, in Ghost of Tsushima, the stance you needed to use, which weapon you needed to use. All of that is just so rewarding and so much fun that I probably just didn't recognize it too much, even though I know at times I did struggle.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I do have to pause really quick because before you know, you know I'm attacked about that game of the year vote. I just want to make it known the only game that I played that was like universally nominated for game of the year was Spider-Man 2. Wanted to play Alan Wake. 2. Wanted to play it. Still want to play Baldur's Gate. I will play Baldur's Gate at some point, but just want to make that clear that you know I didn't have a lot to go off of. I still like Harry Potter more than probably most people. I enjoyed my time with that game, minus a very crap story, but luckily I didn't have to worry about a crap story with this game. Phil, you mentioned the combat very, very strong. I was surprised that there wasn't so much assassination stuff going on, especially early on. So in the story I found it very interesting how Jin is our main character. He's trying to really combat his, the things he needs to do in order to achieve victory right now and what he's been taught as a samurai. As someone who's finished the game, how does that story kind of progress and finish out in your mind? Do you feel like this story, from you know, beginning to end, was pretty cohesive. How do you feel on that end of things?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the story is excellent and again it shows that in garnering interest in having a live action show, which I don't necessarily think you need, you know, you know me, I'm a little bit of a snob. I don't believe that if you're going to play the game you should get to necessarily experience the story. But you know, that's another conversation for another time. But the progression from again, his reluctancy to use these dishonorable tactics and then embracing them and then, and then, you know, fully accepting that he is, you know, the ghost of Tsushima, it's excellent. The complex nature of the relationship with his uncle and then, of course, all of his allies, and all of that was satisfying from beginning 10. There is maybe a little bit of a lull before the finale that I thought was a little odd, where you meet a new clan, a new group of people that help you out, but for the most part, I mean, it's got some good twists and turns, it's got some betrayal, it's got some heartbreak and you know, just like you haven't played Redemption 2, but you know, and there's also some bits in there with a horse that you grow really, really close with and then that is just devastating a little bit later on in the game. But, yeah, from beginning to end, I never found myself struggling to follow what was going on, and I was you know, you've talked about this with other games that you've played we all have, actually where I was always just so Excited to explore everything that was going on within this world. So I never found myself overwhelmed and it's an excellent story and I do think it would lend itself very well to like an episodic TV show. I don't think it should be a movie, but it is a really, really great story and I cannot wait for to see what happens next. You know we should be getting an eventual sequel. I wouldn't be surprised if that was actually announced here in 2024 and then maybe released in 25, 2026, but it's excellent all the way through. So, for as far as what you've experienced so far, what has been your, your thoughts on it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so obviously combat very strong. Like we mentioned, I'm a big OG Assassin's Creed player, love those games and I felt a little bit of that here. However, I also did feel some of that Ubisoft-esque like missions that are there, like they get really really, really, really close to the end of the game. They're there, like they get really repetitive after a time. Some of the same things over and over. Like you know, the standoff feature is kind of cool, but it's just kind of, like you know, sometimes I don't even want to go through all that because I just want to get to the end of killing these Mongols that I just happened to stumble upon. I really liked the most out of this game fell so far exploring the world, and you know, this game kind of got memed a little bit. I kind of harkened back to girlfriend reviews who did a video on this and she was hilarious. This game, I mean, you're literally squirrel Bird, fox, fox, you're looking for any animal possible and you just kind of get sidetracked. And to be completely honest, phil, there should be no surprise to you. The reason I'm not further along in the game is because that's me, that's me to it. See, you know that I like to do a lot of those side missions or things that are going on, and there are just things that I ended up getting sidetracked with, and I like that in my video games because the world feels so alive and so vibrant and so fresh. I wanted to explore it and I wanted to take my time doing so. What I ended up finding out was, as I tried to speed run through the story for the sake of getting to this episode, I was enjoying it a little bit less just going through the motions not a detriment necessarily to this game, but the way I chose to try to play it. In the last couple of days I had a lot more fun when I was just traveling around with my horse, stumbling upon a cliff and getting to a shrine, so I could get a headband that I'm never going to wear.

Speaker 2:

Did you ever find the Sly Cooper headband?

Speaker 1:

No, I did not know there was a Sly Cooper headband. Now I'm going to be exploring even more. That's exactly my point.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's a Sly Cooper headband and a Sly Cooper, I think, Samurai Sword cover. It's pretty cool.

Speaker 1:

Just give us a Sly Cooper game, sucker punch. Just give us the game. Don't do that.

Speaker 2:

No, I don't think so.

Speaker 1:

When that day happens, Phil, I'm going to be insufferable.

Speaker 2:

I'm just going to let you know. Hey, it's okay, I'm totally okay with that. I do want to ask you one thing. You know, as we talked about in the beginning of the game, you know it really has you focus on hey, look, what a a visual, you know, masterpiece, this is. What did you think of the guiding wind as a navigation method, as opposed to? You know, most games have a giant pillar in the sky and say, hey, go here, turn left, turn right. What did you think about that? As somebody who is, you know, terrible with directions, I was wondering how you were going to react to that.

Speaker 1:

It's funny I haven't brought up the guiding wind so far, because that might be my favorite feature, because my ass is just I don't know how it is on the PS4, but I just keep swiping up on the dual sense like hey, where am I going? And it's just gushes of wind telling me where to go, like 24 seven, because I have a short attention span. But it was nice, it was um. The way I'm going to say it, phil, is like traveling in this world is so subtle and easy Like I never felt. Even when I went off road, I never felt like I wasn't going to get to my main destination. I was going to get lost from place to place. There's a lot of times, once I set my marker, I'm not looking at my map again, which was great, because every time you got to press pause and look at the map like it just takes you out of the game. You know we talked a little bit about this with Spider-Man to. Some of the issues I had with that game was I felt like I was taken out of the immersion with some of the things that happened. This game does a good job of not taking you out of the immersion of the environment of the culture of the characters you're interacting with, and I really appreciated that when it came to this game so far.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it really wants you. It wants to take away that UI. You know really doesn't want you to see any of those things as far as your health bar and you know your stance and everything like that, because that's all taken away and unless you actually need it, you know, obviously, like in the heat of battle and things like that, you know changing between different outfits and different items and all that. So I really, really loved that decision and I, you know, I can't wait to see what they do with it going forward in terms of, you know, whenever that that next game comes out yeah, it's like you said, as far as there's so many different things, you'll see the bird flying around. You're like you'll find the fox that you do get to pet the foxes, by the way, if you haven't gotten to play the game very very important, very important part. You'll always have to pet the fox. That is very, very important. It's got a great cast of side characters and characters that are very important and integral to the story and, yeah, voice acting is fantastic. I actually had been replaying through this game. While Eric was playing it. I tried to play it in the Kurosawa mode with the black and white, with Japanese subtitles, and I don't know if it was just my PlayStation or if there was just an issue with the game or something, but the audio was just off. So if someone else has done that with the definitive edition and run into issues, let me know. I haven't really looked into it too much, so I just started replaying through the game through the you know, the normal dub, but it was. It's excellent and I really hope that more people experience it because, again, it did just kind of come and go and you know, now we're just, I guess, waiting on the announcement for another one or whatever it is, and we are definitely in a. Not that that I really ever went away, but the samurai story is probably as popular as ever. I mean, we just talked about blue rice. Samurai Rise of Ronan is coming out this year. I'm not sure you know. As far as the style of the game style, I mean, stylistically it looks very similar, but I know it's more like a rogue like or not a rogue like game, but more of a souls type of game. So that's not something I don't think either one of us are going to check out. But legends of second row yeah, a legend of second row obviously came out a couple of years ago, so this genre is as popular as ever. And you know, when you have such excellent writing, voice acting, setting the story, you know all that, when it just comes together, I mean it's, this is what you get. I mean it's just more proof, eric, that all Ubisoft had to do. I'm glad, I'm glad you have been bringing up that Ubisoft formula is, you know, people wanted a Assassin's Creed game set in Japan. We never got it and now sucker punch has beaten him to the punch and made a game. I think that is just as good or better than any of the Assassin's Creed games that are out now.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it always feels like Assassin's Creed is like a step behind. A step behind. If I'm correct, by the time they came out with Valhalla, wasn't God of War already a thing as well?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure. Yeah, that's another good point.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I think Valhalla came out came out around this time actually of Ghost of Tsushima and God of War, obviously, you know, 2018. So, not not great. Not great, for Assassin's Creed is a franchise I know Jordan will fight us a little bit on that a friend of the show, you know it is what it is Like. I'm definitely excited to play the rest of this game and then to look forward to an eventual eventual sequel. I would hope I will ask you this, phil, as someone who has not finished the game Does it leave off where a second one would be necessary, or do you feel like this is a good one in done game?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question. I think they definitely left it pretty wide open for a sequel. So if it did end here, I would be a little bit upset. But you also do get a lot of closure on some of the primary stories, so it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But no, the way that they again knocked this one out of the park, they got to follow it up. So I don't think people would be very happy if this was it and we just never saw these characters again. So I think the sequel is inevitable and they're probably working on it right now. We just haven't gotten any confirmation of it. Even. It's kind of like one of those yeah, we know it exists, but they just haven't said anything yet, kind of things.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, when this game comes back around, I hope it gets the recognition as you mentioned, phil that it deserves the. Ultimately, though, I had a great time with this game. If you have not played Ghost of Tsushima really we haven't gotten to anything too spoilery on this episode, so I would just recommend you give it a shot. I definitely think it's well worth your time. I will say there are three acts which I did not know going into the game, so I would just prepare, you know, to spend a little bit of time in this game, but I definitely think it's time well spent, and I'm really glad that we finally pushed to have me play this game so we could talk about it together. Phil, we've got a lot of different things that we've got planned for this series throughout the year. We're going to take a couple of different approaches as well in 2024. For example, there are a lot of games that me and Phil have played together, but there are some games that neither of us have experienced, but it gives us a nice discussion to have, potentially with some guests, throughout the year, so there will be some big hitters. You guys know I've been waiting to do like a BioShock or Skyrim episode, but, phil, very limited exposure to those type of games. Well, those type of episodes are going to be a little bit more easy to put together and just a little bit of a preview of what you can expect on the game room where it happens. But, phil, if they want to check up on any of our previous episodes or future episodes of this series, let everyone know where they can do that as we close out the episode.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, everything you need is going to be in the link tree, link of this and every single episode. You'll find a lot our entire library of our guide episodes, including every single episode of the game room, where it happens. It would also allow you to check out our social media the most important ones, to keep up with our Instagram, tiktok and our Discord page. All of those are ways to speak to us directly. We are a couple of weeks now away from a brick city anime festival in Ocala, florida, so we hope to see some of y'all there, either for the first time or catch up with you. We always love seeing you guys out at the conventions. One of the best ways a couple of ways actually you can support the show, a one. You can leave us five star reviews wherever you possibly can. Likes on YouTube, that obviously helps as well. You can also share our content. Tag us, let us know that you're listening, let other people know that you are listening. We love hearing from you and that goes a long, long way. But if you're ever feeling like you want to maybe be a little bit more generous with your time and your funds and you want to join a very special community, eric will let you know how you can do that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So the first way you can do it is by going directly to our Buzzsprout website and becoming a supporter of the show, or you can also support the show monthly via Patreon, where patrons like Stefan and Briar are keeping the show going and they get access to exclusive perks, like behind the scenes, and early access to episodes like this one, with a bunch of additional perks depending on the tier that you select. We're looking to really grow this platform in 2024. As we grow, our Patreon count, so please make sure to check that out. But the freeways, you can do it Everything. Phil just mentioned those likes, those shares, those comments, those reviews always a great way to help us out with. That being said, my name is Mr Eric almighty. That is my co-host, phil the Filipino. And please don't forget, we release new episodes of the podcast every Wednesday with bonus content on platforms like Tik Tok, and all you got to do is wait for it.

Speaker 2:

So I heard you're looking for a go to source for entertainment. Wait for it. Gaming, wait for it. Anime Plus, ultra.

Speaker 1:

Mr Eric almighty and Phil the Filipino. Yeah, they've got you covered and all you got to do is wait for it. This is the wait for it podcast.

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