Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima is the Sony’s next big exclusive, developed by Sucker Punch Productions and releasing on July 17th for PS4. We’ve already gone over things you should know before picking it up but given the game’s size and scale, there’s even more to discuss. So without further ado, here are 15 more things to know before buying Ghost of Tsushima.
As you probably already know, the story is set on the Island of Tsushima during the first Mongol invasion in the year 1274. Protagonist Jin Sakai, who’s clan has been wiped out, learns of the way of the Ghost and begins striking terror into Mongol forces. Before that, however, there’s some set-up to the entire story as Jin’s background and Tsushima’s situation are outlined beforehand. So expect the game to be on a fixed path for some time before the world opens up for exploration.
Inspired by Red Dead Redemption, Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Sony isn’t new to open world titles, especially after publishing games like Days Gone and Horizon Zero Dawn. But it’s interesting to hear that Ghost of Tsushima’s inspiration was actually the first Red Dead Redemption. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild also served as an inspiration especially with how it utilizes curiosity to stoke player interest in a variety of different ways.
Extensive Side Stories
A lot has been said about the open world and activities that players can partake in. However, along with the main story, there are also extensive side stories to experience. This was seen back in the game’s gameplay debut in June 2018 which saw onna-bugeisha Masako fighting alongside Jin before facing him in a duel. She’s only one of many side characters that will be encountered – players will find that most have their own stories that can be explored. Interestingly, that sequence from 2018 was described as “part” of Masako’s storyline, perhaps hinting towards other quests in her overall arc.
Continuous Passage of Time
The Island of Tsushima has a lot going on, whether it’s events to help villages against attacking Mongols, camps to clear out. However, even as you explore the various nooks and crannies of the world, time will still progress normally. You’ll receive updates on what stage the Mongol invasion is currently at, though how this plays into the overall gameplay is unknown.
No Karma System
It’s a bit surprising, considering Sucker Punch’s history with the inFamous series, but there’s no Karma system in Ghost of Tsushima. Instead, the focus is on telling a “human story of someone who is this way and has to evolve into something else, versus transform completely into something else,” as per creative director Jason Connell to IGN. Having Jin Sakai go back and forth between being good and bad just didn’t quite work in telling that kind of story.
Artistically Distinctive Areas
The world is pretty big but there’s a fair bit of diversity to it as well. Sucker Punch has spoken about the rolling plains, bamboo forests, snowy mountains and other areas that players can expect to explore. But there’s a strong emphasis on making each area feel distinct from an art perspective. Though some areas may come across as a “little bit loud” – like the “Forest of No Return” which focuses on tales of betrayal – they feel memorable and provide “visual anchors” as Sucker Punch describes them to help players better determine their direction while exploring.
Of course, for as gorgeous as the world looks, the clouds may steal your attention more often than not. Sucker Punch co-founder Chris Zimmerman confirmed to VentureBeat back in 2018 that the weather is dynamic and the clouds are procedural and simulated. In fact, you’ll apparently “never see the same cloudscape again” because they’re “always changing”. Time-lapse creators, rejoice.
For a game that’s releasing in the PS4’s twilight years, Ghost of Tsushima looks very, very good. Jason Connell said that this was thanks to the “amazing technical rendering gurus at Sucker Punch” who managed to “pull out every little ounce of performance so that we could have our dreams of making this game.” This can be seen in the environmental effects and viewing distance, the latter which Connell insists is not faked through any hacks and such.”You can just get down from that mountain and go to those places. It’s stunning what they’ve been able to pull off for us from a technical perspective.”
Armor sets have already been discussed and can augment one’s play-style, whether it’s a Samurai-focused or Ghost-focused build. But there are also Charms which provide various benefits, like slowly recovering health while out of combat; poisoned Wind Chimes that kill foes who pick them up; Smoke Bombs restoring 25 percent of health on use; and so on. More Charm Slots can be earned, further incentivizing players to go out and explore the open world.
Combat is all about precision, parrying and Resolve for either striking fatal blows or healing in battle. There are also Stances, spotted in the State of Play deep dive, which Jin can switch to in combat. Sucker Punch told VG247 that these were inspired by samurai cinema and that certain Stances will make it easier to fight against certain enemy types. How restrictive this will be remains to be seen but it should help add even more strategy to combat encounters.
Sword Cleaning Button
If the past few gameplay videos haven’t served as enough indication, there’s going to be a lot of blood in the game. As a result, one of the cooler features is a dedicated button for cleaning blood off of Jin’s sword before sheathing it. It’s a nice touch and a fitting end for the more gruesome battles.
Hero of Tsushima Set
Ghost of Tsushima has various special editions that can be pre-ordered right now. If you pick up the physical Special Edition or Collector’s Edition or the Digital Deluxe Edition, then you’ll receive the Hero of Tsushima set. It includes an additional in-game horse, saddle, Golden Mask and sword, and armor set for Jin to use. You’ll also get the Charm of Hachiman’s Favor and one Technique Point, the latter used for upgrading abilities.
Among all the things that have been discussed for Ghost of Tsushima, crafting has arguably received the least amount of information. It’s possible to craft bamboo and yew along with picking flowers to change the color of Jin’s armor. We also know it’s possible to improve Jin’s katana and alter its appearance but how crafting will play into this and the overall loot system still remains to be detailed.
Animals can be very helpful, whether it’s birds guiding the player to specific points of interest. You can kill these animals (you monster) but there’s no benefit to doing so. Don’t worry though – as Sucker Punch noted in a recent Q&A on the PlayStation Blog, there will be a “few predators that will be aggressive.” Players can acquire “upgrade resources” upon defeating them, though again, how this plays into the progression system is still unknown.
Japanese Voice Acting
Finally, it wouldn’t be a samurai game without Japanese voice-acting. Ghost of Tsushima can be played entirely in Japanese from the start and along with the black and white filter, it’s recommended for those who want that authentic samurai cinema feel. Anime fans also take note – Jin’s Japanese voice actor is Kazuya Nakai, who’s voiced iconic characters like Roronoa Zoro from One Piece and Mugen from Samurai Champloo.