Game of the Month: Ghost of Tsushima

Face the Mongolian invasion your way – sword-to-sword or from the shadows

Ghost of Tsushima is set in 13th-century Japan. You play a samurai from the island of Tsushima and the game narrative follows your attempts to prevent a Mongol invasion.

At the start of the game, the Mongols have already attacked your home and the entire island is ablaze. To stop the Mongols from reaching the Japanese mainland, you – Jin Sakai – and the remaining samurai from your clan must outwit an overwhelming adversary.

To your aid, you have not only the discipline and training of a samurai, but also the mastery of a martial art that gives you ninja-like abilities. The game isn’t called Ghost of Tsushima without reason.

You’re also aided by various characters on the island when countering the rampaging Mongols. Characters such as Masako, an archer.

And help is something you’ll need, as the game is designed such that even lower level enemies can quickly cut your journey much shorter than you expected. Even after you’ve invested many hours of play and upgraded your character’s abilities.

Number of players: Single player

Game length: Up to 50 hours

Download size: 50 GB

System: PS4, PS4 Pro, PS5

Versions: Standard, Special Edition, Collector’s Edition

Level of difficulty: Not Dark Souls level, but expect a challenge

Game world: Open

Launch date: 17 July 2020 (PS4/PS4 Pro)

  • Your horse is your closest ally and your main means of transport in Ghost of Tsushima – and, thankfully, your horse cannot die in the game.
  • Developer Sucker Punch sent a team to Japan to record the sounds of animals found only there.
  • You can climb buildings and swim – but not if you’re wearing the wrong armour.
  • All armour in Ghost of Tsushima can be dyed if you like.
  • Choose between English and Japanese audio. You can also choose to display English subtitles if you want.
  • Once you’ve visited a location in Ghost of Tsushima, a quick travel option is made available.
  • Your character can show their respect for fallen enemies by bowing, but only if you defeated them in open, honest battle.
  • Ghost of Tsushima has a number of side quests to help you unlock skills and win back parts of the island from the Mongols.

Things you need to know about Ghost of Tsushima

There are many things to experience in Ghost of Tsushima. Here we list six things you need to know before you start playing the game.

1. The game uses a minimalist interface

Ghost of Tsushima is all about the characters, the beautiful environment, honourable battles and an engaging narrative. To enable players to immerse themselves in all that the game has to offer, developer Sucker Punch has chosen to use a minimalist interface. There’s no health bar to keep an eye on, no mini-map and no XP bar. There’s just Jin Sakai and Tsushima Island.

2. Open close combat or ninja tactics

When you encounter the Mongols who have invaded your island, you can choose how to face them on the battlefield. You can choose to storm into an enemy camp and challenge everyone to battle. To create chaos among the enemy and flaunt your samurai skills. Alternatively, you can stick to the shadows and ‘enlighten’ the Mongols as to just how much you despise their invasion by acting more like a ninja. There’s no right or wrong way, you simply get to choose how you want to do battle.

3. Use the skill tree to improve your character

Ghost of Tsushima has a skill tree that allows you to upgrade your character as the game unfolds. You can choose to invest your skill points as a samurai, a skill tree path offered from the start, or as ghost, for players who prefer to stick to the shadows. The latter path is not available at the start of the game, instead it opens gradually as the game progresses.

4. A living world

Ghost of Tsushima is set on Tsushima Island. This is a large and open island where you and your horse Nobu can move about freely. The map is full of people to talk to, animals to interact with and locations to visit. And plenty of enemies to test your sword and your patience, of course. Everything to ensure the feel of a living world that never gets boring. There’s always something to investigate, someone to help and enemies to fight.

5. Keep a lookout for smoke, wind and animals

Ghost of Tsushima has no mini-map, and there aren’t any arrows to show you which way to go. Instead, nature is used to guide you on your journey around the island. Foxes help you to find hidden shrines while birds lead the way to interesting locations on the island. Columns of smoke indicate that someone needs help, and the wind shows the way to the next stage of your mission. Everything to retain the minimalist feel so that you can focus on what’s most important in Ghost of Tsushima – the experience.

6. Hidden shrines

There are hidden shrines on the island of Tsushima. When you find them, you’re rewarded with charms typical of the period that increase your skills in different ways. They can, for example, restore your life when you’re not in combat, or offer other benefits in the game. You can only use a certain number of charms at the same time, and you can only swap them in specific locations at special shrines on the island.