We're looking for new writers to join us!

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima

Written by John Yan on 5/30/2024 for PC  
More On: Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima was one of the highlights of the PlayStation 4 library. It’s a great classic samurai tale with a lot of memorable characters. It is beautifully crafted with some amazing visuals showing off a gorgeous island, with many different settings that set each area apart. With Sony getting into releasing their games on the PC, I was excited to check out a game I didn’t play when it was first released on the console.

Released back in 2020, Ghost of Tsushima has you playing Jin Sakai, a samurai looking to liberate the island of Tsushima from a Mongol invasion. Along the way you’ll learn new stances, sword techniques, ninja-like abilities, and acquire new weapons to try and drive the Mongols off Tsushima. You’ll meet a whole host of interesting characters and partake in some great side quests that flesh out each one. Some stories are uplifting while others don’t have a happy ending. Most are fun and add some depth to the allies you’ll need to recruit on your quest to drive back the Mongols.

Zach did the original review on the PlayStation 4 and absolutely loved the game for its action and imagery. I agree with all his points and found the game one of the better PlayStation exclusives on the last-gen console. It’s a game where it starts out slow at first, but slowly draws you in and turns it up to 11 in the third act. It reminds me of Sucker Punch’s other great PlayStation hit, Infamous in that sense. I remember trying it out and not seeing anything special early on and then everything falls together and blows you away in the end.

Sword fighting in Ghost of Tsushima is fun and strategic. You learn up to four different stances as you go and each one is tailor made to be effective against a certain type of enemy. Water stance, for example, is great to counter enemies with shields. Big enemies are susceptible to Stone stance. With a group of different enemies coming at you at the same time, you’ll get into the mode of switching stances as you switch between different enemies to attack. Thank goodness it’s easy to do so. As time slows down, you go into the mode to select a stance, giving you enough time to choose it without being attacked by someone.

Along the way you’ll pick up points that you can use to upgrade your character, such as adding more strikes to each stance, increasing your ghost technique’s abilities, or adding to your ability to track certain events on the island that increase your character’s abilities. This, along with weapon charms and outfits, helps tailor make Jin to your liking and improve on Jin’s fighting abilities. I found the system to be easy to understand and not overwhelming to the point where I would get analysis paralysis on figuring out where to spend some of my technique points. In fact, I bypassed a few of the stance updates and I was able to still easily finish the game. I didn’t have any trouble during the end battle where you’re tasked to use a multitude of different styles and things you learned along the way.

Points aren’t the only way to better your character, as you’ll be upgrading to different sets of armor and increasing those items as well as your swords. To do so, you’ll gather collectables as you traverse the island of Tsushima such as linen, iron, steel, gold, and bamboo. Picking up these items are really easy and the engine allows you to be able to do so even at a good distance away. Items that are collectable will have the object flash so you can easily see what can be picked up. Even when riding a horse at high speed, I was easily able to grab items out in the world as I rode by and be able to even if I passed by it for a half second or so. Once collected, you’ll be able to take these items to various characters in a town and have them upgrade your gear in a slow, but impactful manner. I found the progression of your items to be paced pretty well and given that you can easily pick up anything needed quickly and efficiently, it was a pretty painless process. The map even notifies you at which town or campsite you can upgrade something if you have enough ingredients and lets you know which characters to visit to do so. I wish more games would make it this simple to see where and when you’re able to improve yourself as now you’re not wasting your time visiting people unnecessarily.

Ghost of Tsushima does a pretty good job of gradually adding more and more moves and abilities so that by the time you’re into Act 3, you’re experienced enough to go through the challenging enemies and stages in that level without too much trouble. I really enjoyed seeing what enemies were ahead of me and instinctively switching stances as another different type of foe came up to challenge me in combat.

With as many jump puzzles, ladders, and tightrope areas to traverse, Sucker Punch does a great job at making sure you aren’t frustrated by it all with some clever design choices. Come up to a fallen log that is used to cross a gap between mountains? Just move Jin there and the game engine automatically plops you onto the log when you walk up to it and you’re easily able to walk across it. See some cliffs that you have to jump to and climb up the side? The game engine is really generous on your position to latch onto a handhold when doing a leap from the other side of it. There were a few times I fell, but it didn’t take more than one or two tries to get it right and the game does autosave often so you aren’t being pulled too far back from where you died. Ladders are also very easy to climb and descend. All these little things combined make for a very frustrating-free experience in this department of the game.

So, the game is great. Now, how does the PC port fair? Well, if you’re familiar with Nixxes’ work, then you know it’s going to be solid. Nixxes was responsible for the ports of Marvel’s Spider-Man, Miles Morales, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Horizon Forbidden West. All of those were really well done and were solid PC offerings.

My PC specs consisted of:

  • AMD 7800X3D
  • ASRock B650E PG Riptide
  • 64GB TEAMGROUP DDR5 6000MHz (PC5-48000) CL34 RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090

Settings wise, I ran the game in 4K with everything maxed out and motion blur disabled. I also played the game on an OLED with HDR enabled to really make the scenery pop. If you can, definitely turn this feature on as Ghost of Tsushima has one of the best implementations of HDR out there that I’ve seen.

Let me start by saying I had zero crashes in my 40+ hours of playing the game. Zero. That’s pretty amazing for a PC port. I was expecting to see a crash here or there like I did with the Spider-Man games, which even when it happened, it was a rare event and didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the games on the PC. But with Ghost of Tsushima, everything was crash free.

Performance wise, the game was solid and stayed above 60FPS and hovered around 80 or so at 4K. I didn’t see any dips in performance even during intense fights with a lot of enemies and architecture on screen. Everything was silky smooth and I had no performance issues. If it showed up it would be in some of the heavier fights, but I was able to parry, dodge, and counterattack without fail.

What if you don’t have a top end system? AMD’s FSR and NVIDIA’s DLSS3 with Frame Generation are also supported. Testing DLSS, I first turned it on without Frame Generation to see how much of a performance gain I’d get. Once turned on and choosing quality mode, FrameView reported my FPS in the 120FPS range. That’s a solid 50% increase and more in certain situations. With the quality mode set, I didn’t see anything that looked off and when using DLSS, I always suggest the Quality performance if you can and don’t go below Performance.

Still wanting some more FPS? Enabling Frame Generation saw my FPS jump into the 140s. Now, enabling Frame Generation does increase latency and that does partially get offset by enabling NVIDIA Reflex mode. I played with both enabled for a bit and tested my skills on Iki Island to see if the increase in latency would affect my sword fighting abilities. I’m happy to report that even with the increased latency, I was able to take down the Mongols without any problems. I thought I’d have my timing be off when trying to do perfect parry, but I was able to have the same performance fighting with Frame Generation on.

Other PC centric features that really help is the ability to increase the field of view and uncapped frame rates during in-game cutscenes. Playing on my 42” OLED TV, I was really happy to be able to change the field of view so it didn’t feel like Jin was taking up too much screen space, which can make it feel claustrophobic with it in its default setting.

During cutscenes, if your PC is powerful enough, you can see a nice performance increase and more fluid motion since the game’s just using the engine to play out a predefined set of animations instead of calculating the game’s actions and scenes which can slow things down. Having that smooth cut scene play out can be pretty cinematic at times and really draws you in the game. And since you can’t skip any dialogue or cut scenes, you might as well get the best quality you can get during these times.

It’s not all perfect though as I did run into some small issues, one which was prominent on the PlayStation 4 version and not fixed for the PC port. The most annoying bug I found was during some standoffs, the game wouldn’t recognize me holding down the button. You need to hold down a button and release at the right time in order to kill an enemy in one blow during standoffs. Miss your timing and you’ll lose a good portion of your health. When this happens, I just hoped I had enough resolve to heal myself as there’s no way around the game not detecting you holding down the button. I searched around the Internet and found other people seeing this same issue on the PC and it’s there on the PlayStation 4 version as well. Nixxes said they think they have the reason this might be happening so hopefully they can patch this in the near future.

One minor bug I had was the focus during cutscenes would sometimes be off and make things blurry for characters in the frame. There were a few times someone else was standing next to Jin talking with a clear face while Jin’s looked all fuzzy or like it had a low resolution texture on it. This also happens in the background sometimes. Once you’re out of the cutscene, everything becomes clear again though so thankfully, this isn’t an issue during gameplay. Again, a small annoying but, but one that I hope Nixxes can fix in the future.

If you’ve been waiting for Ghost of Tsushima on the PC, you won’t be disappointed with the port. I waited and was incredibly happy with how well it turned out. The graphics are great, the gameplay is fantastic, and the story is engaging. You can put Ghost of Tsushima into the bucket of another successful Nixxes PC ports from the PlayStation and one that you should experience if you haven’t done so on the console.

A wonderful PC port, Ghost of Tsushima is one of the best PlayStation games to come around on the PC side. This is one that you'll enjoy, especially if you're a fan of classic samurai stories.

Rating: 9 Excellent

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima Ghost of Tsushima

About Author

I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. As one of the original writers, I was tapped to do action games and hardware. Nowadays, I work with a great group of folks on here to bring to you news and reviews on all things PC and consoles.

As for what I enjoy, I love action and survival games. I'm more of a PC gamer now than I used to be, but still enjoy the occasional console fair. Lately, I've been really playing a ton of retro games after building an arcade cabinet for myself and the kids. There's some old games I love to revisit and the cabinet really does a great job at bringing back that nostalgic feeling of going to the arcade.

View Profile