Rise of the Ronin vs Ghost of Tsushima, which game is better?

Rise of the Ronin vs Ghost of Tsushima, which game is better?
Jack Webb Updated on by

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It’s Rise of the Ronin vs Ghost of Tsushima as we try to lay out which game is better. Given the two have some striking similarities, the question of which is better was always bound to come up.

These similarities, we believe, are entirely surface-level. However, they are similar enough by most standards to warrant delving into how deep these go, and which game offers the better experience. Naturally, this is our opinion and might not be your experience with either game.

For more, we have a Rise of the Ronin tips and tricks guide if you’re just getting started, and a guide covering how to romance companions. Now, which is better: Rise of the Ronin or Ghost of Tsushima?

Rise of the Ronin - our character poses with their sword
Rise of the Ronin – Image by VideoGamer

Rise of the Ronin vs Ghost of Tsushima

Before we get into this, we want to say that Rise of the Ronin is a decent game in its own right. With that in mind, it might be a little unfair to compare it to Ghost of Tsushima, and in our review, we said: “There are some surface-level similarities, but saying these two are alike simultaneously doesn’t give Ghost of Tsushima enough credit and gives Rise of the Ronin too much.”


The combat systems in these two games are vastly different. In Ghost of Tsushima, the samurai blade wielded by Jin Sakai is deadly and precise. Combat in Tsushima is over in a flash and hoards of enemies will fall to your peerless skills, all the while you look exceedingly stylish. The time to kill enemies is extremely fast and there is no stamina or other RPG systems to concern yourself with.

Meanwhile, Rise of the Ronin is firmly in the RPG camp. Everything has stats, you have a stamina bar, and there are multiple different weapon types to choose from. In Rise of the Ronin, the aim of combat is to reduce the Ki (stamina) bar of an enemy to dispatch them. Most enemies in Rise of the Ronin will take several hits to fall, while they will die fairly quickly in Tsushima. At the end of the day, we find the combat in Ghost of Tsushima much more stylish, fluid, and satisfying, with significant weight and precision behind each attack.


Perhaps the biggest similarity you can draw between these two games is that they are both open-world adventures. How the open world is handled, however, differs greatly between the two. Rise of the Ronin sadly suffers from an enormous, almost overwhelming amount of bloat in the shape of map objectives, missions, and things to do.

In comparison, Ghost of Tsushima does an excellent job of keeping things streamlined. The map in Tsushima isn’t bogged down by hundreds of icons and other things to do, instead, they are meaningfully dotted about, while the pacing of each thing to do is executed almost perfectly.

ghost of tsushima - Jin looking over a cliff
Image via Sony

What’s more, the exploration in Rise of the Ronin pales in comparison to Ghost of Tsushima, the former of which suffers from a lack of visually interesting locales. Put simply, you will quickly grow tired of seeing the same environments in Ronin whereas there is always something enticing just over the next hill in Ghost of Tsushima.

Setting and story

The setting for each game is also very different. Rise of the Ronin is set during the 1800s, while Ghost of Tsushima takes place in the 1200s. Naturally, these time periods have extremely different vibes, especially when you have American and British flags flying in towns in Rise of the Ronin.

It is a matter of personal preference, but the time in which Rise of the Ronin takes place is undeniably interesting. It is inspired by the real events of American ships arriving in Japan and the following political intrigue. 1800s Japan is a time period seldom explored in games and it is interesting to see the history in Rise of the Ronin.

While the setting is more interesting in Rise of the Ronin, the story in Ghost of Tsushima is miles ahead. Rise of the Ronin is bogged down with too many facets and the real history behind the events, while Ghost of Tsushima pushes a much more compelling narrative and a character who has an actual stake in the events. Your custom character in Ronin doesn’t talk much and things just happen to them, while Ghost of Tsushima is about Jin Sakai and his arc going from samurai to guerilla fighter, and reconciling the actions he takes to justify beating the invading Mongols.

Visuals and graphics

This is one of the easiest comparisons to answer. Ghost of Tsushima has better graphics and visuals, hands down. While playing Rise of the Ronin, we were less than impressed by the flat visuals, poor graphics, and everything looking bland and sharp. Ghost of Tsushima, on the other hand, is absolutely gorgeous. The visuals, for a PS4 game, are astonishing. While Tsushima could tone down the particle effects, the graphics are truly stunning.

rise of the Ronin how to get silver coins - our character poses in Yokohama
Rise of the Ronin – Image by VideoGamer

Which game is better?

In case you weren’t keeping score, we think Ghost of Tsushima wins this bout by a clear and substantial gap. At the end of the day, it will come down to your personal preference. Outside of the very surface-level visual similarities, Ghost of Tsushima and Rise of the Ronin are different.

Ronin offers an RPG-heavy game complete with stats points, stamina, and hundreds of different outfits to wear. Ghost of Tsushima is much more contained, streamlined, and compelling thanks to its simple deadly combat, and how it perfectly captures the feeling of being a ridiculously cool wandering samurai. If you like Nioh 2, Rise of the Ronin is going to hit the spot for you. If you want something different, Ghost of Tsushima offers what might be a unique gaming experience seldom seen.

That’s it for our examination of Rise of the Ronin vs Ghost of Tsushima. For more guides, read our pages covering whether Rise of the Ronin is Soulslike and all difficulty options in the game.