Ghost of Tsushima used a lethality contract to create gaming’s best sword combat
When awards are handed out this year for various games, Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima definitely deserves to be in the consideration for many a prize. It has style, it has a fantastic world, and it has hands-down the best swordplay ever seen in a video game since Kyle Katarn began slicing up Stormtroopers in Jedi Outcast.
That facet of gameplay right there, is where Ghost of Tsushima stood out from the sandbox pack. While you could be a sneaky bastard who ran across rooftops peppering the faces of Mongol invaders with shurikens, there was a pure thrill to any sequence that involved a clash of steel. Whether it was the tense showdown sequences that tested your reflexes or a mad scramble against enemies, the swordplay felt just right.
And it took SuckerPunch a lot of work to nail that sensation of deadly blades, soft flesh, and geysers of blood.
“When we did our early playtests we received very negative feedback that enemies felt like ‘sword sponges,'” senior combat designer Theodore Fishman explained on the PS Blog.
My favorite quote from players was ‘I felt like I was hitting enemies with a foam bat.’ Giving the enemy a form of hitpoints wasn’t working, so the team ended up integrating a “maximum hits to kill” system, whereby no standard enemy could withstand endless attacks.