Ghost of Tsushima: Still a Ghost to Me: A Review
Ghost of Tsushima is, without a doubt, a tremendous game. Its audio is well-designed, its voice acting is top notch, and from what I’ve heard, it looks pretty good too. Sadly, that’s about where my appreciation has to end, for while Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut does boast some cool new additions, nearly none of them will help the totally blind. Below is my accessibility review of Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut, which was provided to me by Playstation.
First and most importantly, yes there are new accessibility options. However, while helpful to some, certainly, the list is still relatively small. There is, for example, an aim assist, which is theoretically great, though I wasn’t able to get far enough in the game to actually try it. There are also some practical features that, I understand, have already helped some folks. Features that allow you to remove timing requirements on certain actions, a setting for turning tapping sequences into holds, and so on. These are truly great features, and I am happy they are present. However, given the recent, and even not-so-recent accessibility barrages of other Playstation studios like Insomniac, I can’t help but feel a little left out here. There’s even a feature called Enhanced Combat Cues, but the description of it makes it clear that these are strictly visual enhancements.
All of this said, there are actually still things that stood out to me about Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut. Firstly, this is the first PS5 game I’ve played where full haptics were added to the Playstation Studios logo, and it was honestly pretty awesome. I was feeling the logo as much as hearing it. Secondly, the use of 3D audio in this game was awesome in the original version, and remains awesome in this one. It’s simple to tell which direction your enemies are coming from, and when you’re surrounded, it sounds like you’re surrounded. It’s awesome.
But now I have to go back to haptics, because we’re coming to the final thing that impressed me about Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut. The haptics in-game are awesome to behold. For me, it provided the missing element I didn’t know existed until I had it when it comes to combat haptics. There are plenty of other games, Demon Souls Remake for instance, which have impact haptics for enemies, and even different materials. Ghost of Tsushima on PS5 does that, but goes a step further. Now, you not only get the haptics for the impact, you even get a haptic sensation for swinging your weapon through the air. You feel your weapon cutting the air as it approaches your foe, and then, on a successful hit, that crunching impact as it slams into them. In fact, there are haptics for just about everything. There’s a moment in an early cut scene where someone takes away your sword, drawing it from your own scabbard… And you can feel that happening. There are early horse-riding segments as well that let you feel each hoof clomping over the ground. Despite everything else, I think Ghost of Tsushima may be up there with the best haptics I’ve experienced.
Ultimately, I wish I got to experience more of the game than I did. The story intrigues me, and there is enough here that I know I would truly enjoy the full experience if I could play it. I’m glad the improvements to the game exist, (there is even lip syncing on Japanese voices now for you sighted players out there), but for the blind, the Ghost of Tsushima will have to remain a ghost forever.