Ghost of Tsushima vs. The Last of Us Part II

A Battle of Two Exclusive Giants

There are many games that could be put in the pot for GOTY this year. In this article me and Matt have chosen our picks for GOTY and are going to give our reasoning’s behind our choices. Matt will be fighting the corner of Ghost of Tsushima where as I will be fighting for Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II.

(Major spoiler alert) (Ed Note. I can’t handle spoilers and this was horrible to edit as I had to read them all. I’ve removed the major spoilers and left minor ones to protect those that are about to fire these games up over the holidays or on the PS5. Some hints to spoilers are left but major story beats are removed completely.)

Ghost of Tsushima

GOT in game cutscene

Ever since I first saw the gameplay reveal of Ghost of Tsushima I knew this game would be
special. I’m a huge fan of samurai and ninja games so this was right up my alley.

Ghost of Tsushima was created by Sucker Punch Productions who are mostly known for making
the Infamous game series. The quality of those games have been brought right over to GOT.

When I first picked up GOT I was amazed by just how beautiful the game was. It looked exactly
like it did in the trailer which is a good start. You are immediately thrown into combat and this is
where GOT shines. I loved the combat so much, it’s not your typical button mash like in a
Arkham game or the older Assassins Creed games.

You could be patient and wait for openings or just try and slash your way through people which
does get hard. Stances are a great way that combat is used. Different stances are used for
different opponents and in combat this can get crazy when surrounded by multiple different
enemies but my god is it fun and challenging at the same time.

I also loved the way you can play the game the way you want, later on in the game you get
access to the Ghost skills and equipment, but you can play the game whatever way you want.
I’m a stealth fan and grew up on games like Metal Gear and Splinter Cell, but in this game I
often found myself not sneaking about because I found the combat to be that fun. I just wanted
to fight everyone.

GOT gameplay screenshot

I still think it’s one of the best combat systems I’ve ever had the pleasure of using within a game.
The story is also amazing, filled with great side characters who I wanted to help all the time. I
was not bored with helping the side characters like you can be in some other games.

The story spans over 3 different regions of Tsushima island and exploring them and doing all of
the side content was a delight. I was so fully immersed in this world I would take my time to do
all of the content.

The side content in the game was really interesting and fun, it was just a typical go here and do
that type missions they were all different and these made me care about the side characters a
lot more as I felt personally attached to them and wanted to protect them as much as I could.

I loved doing the optional side content you can do such as cutting bamboo or searching for
mysterious shrines that can be all over the map. These can be found by following foxes to the
shrines. Did I mention you can pet the little cuties as well!.

I played the full game with Japanese voices and English subtitles and I recommend people play
the game this way, it was so immersive I actually felt like I was there in Tsushima fighting the
Mongolian invaders.

A big shoutout needs to go to Sucker Punch for this game, they had the bravery to create
something completely new and made it with such passion and care. You could tell this was a
game and historical event that they cared about and researched a lot.

Showdown at sunset - GOT

Ghost of Tsushima will no doubt become a franchise now with more games hopefully being
released in the future, although a sequel has not been announced, I still think this will be a franchise for the future.

Multiplayer has recently been released for GOT and it is as good as the single player. You can
play with a group of up to four players and engage in challenging raids and missions. On top of this was a free patch that was added, you didn’t have to pay a penny for the multiplayer, just top work from the devs here.

GOT has made it to number two on my all time favourite games list. it couldn’t unfortunately
beat out God of War which is the best game I’ve ever played , but to be honest I don’t think anything will
for a while. If you are a fan or samurai games and also a fan of stealth games that have a beautiful world
and a great set of side characters and amazing combat then I recommend this game to you.

The Last of Us Part II

TLOU 2 in game cinematic

It was always inevitable that Naughty Dog would make a sequel to the critically acclaimed The Last of Us. What I didn’t expect was the amount of hate the second game in the series ended up getting by some people for no real reason as in reality the game is an utter masterpiece.

The Last of Us Part II takes place 5 years after the events of the first game with flashbacks littered throughout to fill in some gaps in the story. Now I must admit when I realised this was going to be a game that flicked back and forth between past and present I was rather worried. This isn’t a mechanic I usually appreciate. However, the amazing writers over at Naughty Dog made it work here. Whether its the moment you find out who Abby really is or the heart breaking scene of Ellie realising what Joel had done at the end of the first game you really have to appreciate the use of this storytelling here.

TLou 2 in game cinematic

Moving onto the controversy. I absolutely love this story and how brutally it is told. (Spoiler removed by Editor but the writer is in love with a big moment in the first hours). The cinematics were also great. The moment Abby’s group started surrounding Joel and Tommy you knew something was terribly wrong. (More spoiler stuff of this section removed, but the duality of morality is discussed and a big part of the love. We avoid major spoilers but if you want to know more watch a playthrough or contact@backtothegaming.com and we will send you the details.)

This brings me on to one of the things that I loved most about this game that  many people hated the most. Abby. People hate Abby. So when many realised that they would be playing as her for half of the game they got a little frustrated. At first I was too but then I realised it was perfectly executed storytelling. The world of The Last of Us is brutal, unfair and downright nasty. In other words: you cannot be a good person and survive in this world and neither of our new main protagonists (Ellie and Abby) are good people.

The game tells a story of revenge and how taking said revenge will only lead to a world of pain. Take Abby for example (after early spoiler events) her group of friends are disjointed, most of them get killed and ultimately she is left with no one by the end besides Lev. Ellie fairs no better with many of her friends also being killed after joining in on her quest for revenge. Not only that but she is left with severe PTSD.

TLOU 2 in game cinematic

The game simply tells an  incredibly brutal story about revenge and redemption and does so in a realistic manner. People you care for die quickly and unexpectedly. It’s not a movie where the guy you thought died miraculously turns up at the end to save you. It makes your heart break and I love how it does so.

The story is the main reason I believe the game deserves GOTY. The gameplay is also great but honestly hadn’t evolved much from the first game. However, I must admit there is still an immensely satisfying feeling whenever you fight your way through a group enemies (human or infected) all by yourself with limited resources.

The game is also graphically beautiful, but again I don’t think this contributes much to a GOTY title. A game doesn’t have to  have perfect or even great graphics to be amazing or contend for GOTY so I’m largely going to skip over this. However I would like to give a shoutout again to whoever composed the scenes… (Major spoiler scenes but keystones of the game). 

This game was simply incredible. I have always said that no game would ever quite live up to The Last of Us and I still stand by that but if there was a game to come close to it this is it. My GOTY without question.


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