Hi everyone, long time lurker, first time poster here. I actually never knew this forum existed untill Royta told me about it on twitter. Great place to talk about action games. I had to register and post about Ghost though because I need to clear up some misconceptions about this incredible game.
EDIT: I waited to play this on a PS5 as I feel that action games cannot be played enjoyably at 30 fps.
I usually only play action games at 60 fps hence why I waited 6 months. If you have a ps4 and don't mind the frame rate then that is fine but if you are a frame rate freak like me, I would highly recommend you wait and play this on a PS5 instead.
I'm going to get straight to the point. Let's start with why I love this game:
1. A true Samurai game, FINALLY. To be honest I was waiting on a true next gen Samurai game since Onimusha and Way of the Samurai died about 15 years ago. I loved those games and I feel WotS is very underrated. I just wanted a third person action adventure game with a KATANA in my hand, I mean is that really too much to ask for? well, apparently it was, untill now. This game nails giving you the true Samurai experience.
The setting, the characters, the swordplay, the lore and most importantly Jin Sakai a true Samurai through and through but he has to fight his inner samurai spirit to become the Ghost. A unique take and interesting to play through and slowly watch Jin resort to ninja-like tactics to overcome the powerful mongol empire.
2. It's not another Soulsborne clone, thank the LORD. Since Soulsborne games were the new "thing" every developer out there wants to make a souls clone. Some of my favourite franchises like God of War and Darksiders have fallen victim to this copycat nonsense and it's really pissed me off.
Let Soulsborne be Soulsborne and let classic action slashers be classic action slashers. No need to cross breed them. Ghost is it's own thing, it doesn't desperately try hard to be something it's not.
3. GAMEPLAY PART 1: Hit detection and enemy reaction. In Ghost, if you slash to the right, the enemy will react by stumbling to the right. If your final blow is a slice to the throat, the enemy will hold his blood ridden throat and fall to the ground. Some games (Witcher 3 and some soulsborne games) you will slash away at an enemy and the enemy will just stand there, no reaction. The hit detection is sublime, accompanied with the feedback from the controller, you can really feel your sword piercing through opponents.
4. GAMEPLAY PART 2: NO FREE FLOW COMBAT. I've been reading this thread and was surprised at some people comparing it to Spiderman and the Arkham games' combat. I'm going to be blunt here, I really hate the Batman games, primarily because the combat is free flow, same with that LOTR mordor game and Assassins creeds. Spider-man was tolerable as the excellent web slinging and dodge mechanics saved it, just about. That auto-combo nonsense is not my thing.
in Ghost, you have light attack and heavy attack, not one button to bash away at and go auto combo jumping between 10 different fools lol. Heavy attack is stance specific so for example the moon stance incorporates 2 side kicks and a downwards slash. Holding heavy attack in this stance will unleash a powerful rotating slash attack. So, every stance will have a 3 hit combo heavy attack and a "hold heavy attack" power move. Your light attacks remain the same in every stance, which I don't mind because the move list is pretty extensive if you include all the the 4 stances' moves and special attacks "pressing 2 buttons together" The combat is tactical. You cannot button bash to victory. Timing of your attacks, blocking, parrying and dodging need to be mastered in order to excel, especially on higher difficulties. By the way you need to play on HARD (1st playthrough) to really appreciate the combat.
4. GAMEPLAY PART 3: PARRYING. The parrying feels fantastic. it takes a while to master "perfect parry" and when you unlock parrying spears, it simply makes the game a joy to play. Deflecting swords not only feels great but actually looks phenomenal too.
5. Animation and Motion Capture of Jin. SP mo capped some of the most skilled sowrdsman in Japan, experts with vast amounts of experience in the fine arts of wielding the Katana and it shows. Jin's animations/mo cap are 10/10.
His footwork, his technique, his grip, his movement, everything is flawless. In my opinion, this is what makes or breaks a game for me when it comes to combat action games. NGII had some of the best combat animations ever created, TO THIS DAY. Ryu's technique and movement is impeccable, same thing with Jin, I can't really fault the animations one bit.
6. BLOOD SPATTER: Let me start off by saying, the blood is red lol No lava (GOW 2018) NO PURPLE MIST (NGS2) none of that stupidity...it's dark red and there's LOTS OF IT.
Now, getting on to the blood spatter, if you slice say for eg, downwards, the spatter will follow your blade then splash on top the ground. Sideways and the spatter will follow your blade and spatter on an enemy for example. Pierce through someone's chest and Jin's face will be covered in blood instantly. The splatter mechanic is done really well and makes you feel like you are inflicting HELL on your opponents. In Ghost stance (kind of like a devil trigger) majority of your attacks de-limb foes, same goes for special attacks on low health enemies.
7. Audio and sound effect design: Commonly overlooked by many, imo this is what makes you "feel" the combat. Onimusha nailed the sound of a Katana ripping through flesh, it sounded brutal and oh so satisfying. Ghost takes this and ramps it up. You can hear every slash, every stab, your Katana piercing through hearts, there's even a different sound effect for a throat slice where the enemy will gargle in pain due to the blood spewing from his throat, rather than screaming in pain, meticulous attention to detail here. This immerses you into the combat intensely and truly makes you feel like a total badass, award winning sound design. If you have a home theatre 5.1.2 system or similar like mine, then you are in for a real treat.
8. Combat is not over the shoulder. Referring back to GOW 2018 I kind of hate the way the camera is just stuck behind Kratos the entire game, a huge dislike of mine and thankfully Ghost does not incorporate this system.
9. METICLUOUS ATTENTION TO DETAIL:
1. Mo capping real-life swordsman. The quality if the animations shines because of this, no
doubt. SP really took that extra step, travelled to Japan and mocapped top martial Arts
sword instructors from the Tenshin Ryu School of Martial Arts....and I'm so glad they did.
2. Ability to manually sheathe and unsheathe your Katana. I mean, need I say more? what an
awesome feature to have. After a bloody battle, swiping right on the touchpad to clean the
blood off your blade and sheathe it, amazing.
3. Japanese dub. If you're a real samurai nut, then yeah this one's for you. Did they need to
include it? No. Is it incredible that they did it though? hell yes.
4. Kurosawa mode. Paying homage to the legendary director himself.
There's just too many list so I might save these for another post as this one is long as it is. Let's now talk about why this game may not be for you:
1. THIS IS NOT NG OR DMC. I think some people expected some type of arcade fast-paced combat action game, this is definitely nothing like that. I would say this is more akin to a samurai/katana combat simulator with splashes of arcade combat thrown in.
2. You expected Tenchu from the stealth mechanics. Although the stealth is good, it's just kind of added in as a bonus and to mix up the mission structure.
3. You are a soulsborne fan. Talking to a couple of soulsborne fans and they do seem to prefer bloodborne and other games to Ghost, they don't really like Ghost as much but I would say keep an open mind and give it a try at least.
4. You cannot be bothered unlocking your move set. It takes while to unlock your stances and it is a slow progression. I actually love this as it makes you appreciate what you have worked hard for but some may find it annoying and lose patience.
That's it really, if you're on the fence like me before playing Ghost, give it a go, you might end up loving it. I was afraid of it being a free flow combat clone with no depth but boy was I wrong. GOTY 2020 HANDS DOWN.