I am rarely willing to drop $80 on a game, but I just did it to buy Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut on the PS4.
In this game, you experience the Mongol Invasion of Japan through the eyes of a lone samurai. You have a large and beautifully detailed island of Japan to explore at your leisure, uncovering a conspiracy surrounding the invasion and balancing the ethics of fighting a guerilla war.
The combat system is the deepest sword fighting system I have used, but it is expertly balanced by simple combos and easy to use buttons. Everything about Ghost of Tsushima focuses on this simplicity. Unlike many games, there is not a large-scale HUD to help you navigate. You can pull up a map that shows you your objective, but once in the game, you have to go on visual cues. To find your objective you follow the direction of the wind. To find secret items you spot foxes and birds and follow them.
Despite a dramatic background, the story is deeply personal and the use of colour gives the feudal Japanese setting not just a historical sense but also a mystical vibe that makes your characters’ otherworldly skill feel all the more real.
All of these elements make you feel like a badass and keep you fully immersed in this world. The last time I had a new favorite video game was in 2015. This may be the new winner.
Jonah van Driesum is the senior editor of Link, and co-host of our the MicroLink podcast!