archived 18 Jul 2020 10:41:41 UTC
Ghost of Tsushima
I loved playing Sony’s new exclusive, Ghost of Tsushima, debuting worldwide today on the PlayStation 4. It is a beautiful game — not quite as well written as The Last of Us Part II, but moving nevertheless. I enjoyed going back in time and living in a world full of Japanese traditions. But I felt aware that the game was a small slice of history, placed during a time when Japan could rightly claim it was the victim of foreign invaders.
One of the mechanics in the game is the Divine Wind, which sounds a lot more ominous when you consider that in Japanese, that’s “kamikaze.” The wind guides you in the game, and it evokes the spirit of the hero’s fallen father. The wind and the storms it produced took out the Mongol fleets on a couple of occasions during the real history, and that contributed to Japan’s spirit of invincibility. That attitude continued until World War II, and it led to Japan’s downfall. As an American, I would be worried about this wind, but the wind has no negative connotations in the game at all.
Some reviewers criticized the game for representing an American view of Japan, as development studio Sucker Punch is a Seattle-based company. That view of inserting a colonialist attitude of ancient Japan, before its colonial days, is something that Westerners might do. But Sucker Punch didn’t do this and didn’t make a lot of mistakes, beyond having some poor dialogue. And it turns out that Japanese gamer reviewers love the game. Famitsu gave it 100-out-of-100 and said, “There is no sense of discomfort in this foreign-made Japanese world.”
If an American company made American mistakes and imposed an American world view on Japan, then you can be pretty sure Japanese gamer reviewers wouldn’t like that. In other words, it looks like Sucker Punch succeeded in taking us back to Japan in the 13th century and making us feel like we were there. That’s a fine achievement, and a good way to judge the game.
I haven’t looked closely at Spiketrap’s data about Tsushima, but I do know that the vast majority of it so far is positive. I don’t think the fact that Americans made the game is going to hurt its sales. As much as I am sensitive to the fact that people should tell their own stories, in this case I would hope that people judge this game for what it is, rather than who made it.
Asian-American/Korean-American 교포 pissbabies and soycucks whine about Japanese Nationalism in a video game.
Japanese gamers don't care, rate the game good.