Right out of the gate, Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima has stolen the attention of many a PlayStation 4 gamer. Among the best game releases for July, proven by its toppling of sales charts and pushing Paper Mario out of the limelight, the sword-slicing samurai adventure is a dream come true for many. From its perfected emulation of sword-fighting to its well-rounded accuracy in historical storytelling, Ghost of Tsushima stands tall as a video game worthy of the masterpiece slogan.
However, for those without a PS4, in addition to the various others who have already completed this amazing and awe-striking experience, what are some other games on par with Sucker Punch’s newfound magnum opus?
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
About the next closest thing to Ghost of Tsushima is FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It’s as much a renowned experience as it is extremely frustrating — similar to FromSoftware classics like Bloodborne and Demon’s Souls.
Sekiro tells the story of a shinobi warrior struggling to adapt to a world riddled in turmoil. Death itself is the very issue plaguing this 16th-century Japan, where a number of foul beasts, demons, and wraiths have taken up residency. Equipped not merely with a sword, however, Sekiro has a prosthetic arm that allows him a number of sweet advantages, serving as a shield, grappling hook, and even an axe.
Although far more difficult than Ghost of Tsushima, Sekiro remains a staple of the sword-fighting Japanese video game chic. It did win game of the year in 2019, after all.
Read our full Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review
Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag
For many, many years, Assassin’s Creed fans have long been begging Ubisoft to deliver a game akin to Ghost of Tsushima. Instead, experiences within the Animus have largely steered away from Japanese lore, focusing more so on specific events throughout history, from the American Revolution to their forthcoming Viking adventure.
Despite having no Japanese fanfare in the guise of Ghost of Tsushima, Assassin’s Creed still has some heavy hitters when it comes to sword-fighting and stealth. One such adventure, Black Flag, stole back much fan appreciation following the dismaying release of the third title in the series. Debuting in 2013, Assassin’s Creed IV invited 18th-century pirates in the throes of establishing their own utopia as the backdrop of this series revival.
While the game did have some unnecessary features, like crafting and customizing your own pirate ship, Black Flag still contains an astounding storyline that, in many regards, saved the series from total annihilation.
While it’s a relatively unknown title, Aragami is a perfect follow-up for Ghost of Tsushima fans. Although the graphics of Aragami may not be anywhere near as beautiful and mesmerizing as Sucker Punch’s proud achievement, there is still something to be said of the way Lince Works imbued and perfected stealth for this action-adventure title.
Using interesting teleportation methods to traverse shadows in the blink of an eye, you must track down and defeat various warriors of the Kaiho army as an undead assassin known only as Aragami. These foes use light against Aragmi, not merely to keep the assassin at bay, but to also fight, in the form of trusty projectiles. The game’s Nightfall DLC, which released in 2018, allows for some awesome co-op shadow assassination fun for those who sorely wished Ghost of Tsushima came with a multiplayer mode.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Now considered among the best games of the decade, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a phenomenal experience that every single gamer should enjoy. Its success can largely be accredited to the development team behind this striking game, and their upcoming sci-fi RPG will only make The Witcher 3 look like a fan project.
In accordance with its similarities to Ghost of Tsushima, The Witcher 3 has an utterly unparalleled combat system, which focuses most on dodging and striking at keen moments. As a monster hunter in a fantasy world, CDPR’s breathtaking portrayal of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels is only expounded upon with two DLC expansions that tack on at least another 30 hours to an already over-100-hour-long experience. The Witcher 3 should be at the top of any gamer’s list who hasn’t yet journeyed into the dangerous and gorgeous lands of the continent.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Even after nearly a decade of scouring the vast and gorgeous northern region of Tamriel, The Elder Scrolls V still beckons more and more exploration. It’s one of the few video games that remains a staple in the industry, a profound experience that brings players face to face with mythological creatures of lore and has evolved the way open-world exploration could be utilized more fluidly.
Skyrim still stands the test of time and will most assuredly reward Ghost of Tsushima veterans in its swordplay and narrative. Though brimming with fantasy monsters and magical abilities, Skyrim mirrors Sucker Punch’s newly heralded open world in this very context of prolonged exploration. Players of The Elder Scrolls V rarely ever follow the main storyline to completion, as a winding road of side-quests and random events take the player’s attention by storm at every turn. Then, of course, there’s always some random dragon to kill.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Winner of five BAFTA awards, in addition to numerous others (not to mention countless nominations across the board), Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is among the best experiences to tackle after beating Ghost of Tsushima. Its expert weaving of narrative and underlying themes, which coincide with Ninja Theory’s implementation of a rather interesting death mechanic, make for a spellbinding game with compelling characters, award-winning sound, and unrelenting action.
Hellblade follows a young Senua on her quest to save her loved one from the goddess Hela, located in Helheim. Focusing on psychological trauma and a commitment to real-world mental health, Ninja Theory sought actual neuroscientists in the development and broadening of the main character’s struggle against voices inside her head, which she calls “Furies.” It’s an expert weaving of horror and puzzle-solving, with the right amount of that same hack and slash all Ghost of Tsushima fans will adore.
Now is the perfect time to tackle this title too — a sequel is rumored to be in the works for the Xbox Series X.
Dark Souls III
Though exponentially more difficult and grueling than Ghost of Tsushima, Dark Souls as a series is just as compelling and similarly chock full of interesting secrets. Not everyone has the patience and willpower to take on FromSoftware’s crowning jewel, but for those who can simply conquer the very first boss, the road beyond becomes far less demoralizing.
Like Ghost of Tsushima, Dark Souls III is a world riddled in exploration. You must combat your way through a variety of creatures and monsters from the very outset, many of which are just as difficult to defeat as the painstaking boss battles. In this strange and destroyed world, you must collect souls in order to level up, acquire stronger weapons, and continue onward, not to mention survive — in and of itself the most difficult aspect of the title. Do you have what it takes to take on Dark Souls III? Jin Sakai may think otherwise.
Sequel to the highly beloved Nioh, Team Ninja’s second entry only amplifies the initial experience and evolves the narrative of this wonderful tale. As a prequel to its predecessor, Nioh 2 takes place amid the 1500s and follows a yokai spirit, named Hide, in his quest to survive constant bouts with an entity known as Kashin Koji. The main character befriends a merchant and a demon hunter during his ever-long quest leading up to the Siege of Osaka.
Nioh 2 may not be for everyone, but it’s a well-balanced action RPG with a dedicated team behind it and an unforgettable story. What sets Nioh 2 apart from Ghost of Tsushima is a long list of interesting weapons at the player’s disposal, from the odachi to the kusarigama, not to mention an unparalleled amount of skills to learn as the character progresses through the story.
Arguably one of the best games of 2019, despite the mixed bag of reviews, and a shining promise for the return of Hideo Kojima, Death Stranding is a love letter to all post-apocalyptic open-world gamers. Though it may be nothing like Ghost of Tsushima — given that it’s based in a futuristic America ripped asunder by a cataclysmic event, coined simply the death stranding — Kojima’s first solo project is a stellar invitation for players across the world to connect in a variety of interesting ways.
Calling it the first of its kind as a “Strand game,” Kojima has imbued a functionality unheard of in open-worlds before it: A multiplayer experience that rewards assistance over competition. This isn’t Call of Duty or Fallout 76, where players are fighting to be the best of the best. In Death Stranding, everyone comes together to help rebuild and reconfigure this broken world. In fact, much of the game can be expressed as a mirror of our current reality, with Kojima even going so far as to say recently that he isn’t a prophet.
His many fans across the world, however, would beg to differ, as Death Stranding is as gorgeous as it is an experience worth hours of playtime.
Read our full Death Stranding review
Final Fantasy VII Remake
As a more cyberpunk sci-fi title in a series that is largely among the most memorable of video game classics, Final Fantasy VII Remake may feel like an odd choice to play after completing Ghost of Tsushima. However, from the sword-striking combat inherent in Cloud’s main weapon to the ingenious ways Square Enix has reimagined Midgar, it’s a more recent experience that long-time video game aficionados will enjoy.
Adapting the original game’s combat into a more streamlined approach, reminiscent more so of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, the Final Fantasy VII Remake uplifts the original experience twofold. The newfound focus on exploration and side quests allows players exponentially more time to enjoy the first part in an already extremely long series. With the elimination of load times, players aren’t sitting around waiting to play the game, as well, giving it the right amount of immersion unreplicable in contemporary video gaming.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Every Lord of the Rings fan has fantasized about revisiting their beloved Middle-Earth, yet few gaming experiences have captured quite the same awe as either the films or novels. Except, of course, Shadow of Mordor, an award-winning experience that debuted over five years ago, yet still holds up to this day. The story tracks Talion, a once Black Gate guardian and ranger of Gondor who was dispatched by the vile underlings of Sauron. Reborn with impeccable gifts and a bloodlust for vengeance, Talion ventures without reproach into the land of Mordor, wherein players will be able to ever-slowly chip away at Sauron’s army.
The story takes place between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Although it’s not necessarily grounded in history quite like Ghost of Tsushima, the brilliant storytelling and action-packed adventure brimming within Shadow of Mordor will certainly make up for it. Shadow of Mordor was improved on in its sequel Shadow of War too, so if you’re looking to jump into a brand-new world with two entire games to tackle, check this title out.