Ghost of Tsushima has been received overwhelmingly positively by Japanese audiences since its release, much to the dismay of Western critics seeking to spark discourse around the game.
On July 15th, Kotaku published an article discussing how “Ghost Of Tsushima Is Being Praised By Japanese Critics,” compiling rave reviews received by the game from notable Japanese review sites, which detailed how “the critical consensus is that Ghost of Tsushima does an admirable job of bringing 13th century Japan to life.”
Taking place in 1274, Ghost of Tsushima follows samurai Jin Sakai as he defends the titular Tsushima Island from the invading Mongol forces, led by Kublai Khan.
The Japanese eventually repelled the Mongols, handing the invaders one of their most decisive military defeats, leading to a resurgence in Japanese power and presence on the world stage.
In modern times, the successful repulsion of the Mongols is heralded as a point of Japanese nationalistic pride.
Garnering high praise from leading outlets such as Akiba Souken, Dengeki Online, and Engadget Japan, Ghost of Tsushima’s highest accolade has been its awarding of a rare 40/40 score from Weekly Famitsu.
Sucker Punch’s samurai-themed historical action game is only the third Western game to receive a perfect score from Japan’s most popular video game news source, following The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto V.
However, Japan’s enjoyment of a Western-made title based on their history did not sit right with Western critics, who feared that Japanese acceptance of the title would render any criticism based on critical social justice theory baseless.
The first to take issue with Japan’s reception of the game was Gene Park, video game reporter for The Washington Post, who lamented how Kotaku’s article “will be used in bad faith to defend the game against criticism,” specifically because “Asians will have different perspectives than Asian Americans.”
Park’s sentiment was soon echoed by like-minded players, many of whom were white or Asian American, who similarly feared that the lack of Japanese outrage towards the game would invalidate their Western-centric, critical race theory-based criticism:
This sentiment quickly received mass amounts of pushback from the wider gaming community, as players noted that not only was the game based on real historical events, but that these complaints were based in bad-faith desires for controversy:
Ghost of Tsushima is now available exclusively for the PlayStation 4.