6 things I’m excited for in ‘Ghost of Tsushima’

Sony unveiled Sucker Punch‘s 18-minute gameplay video of their upcoming open-world samurai game “Ghost of Tsushima”. The game’s extended look premiered at PlayStation 4’s recent State of Play—about three years after the game’s first footage was shown at Paris Games Week in 2017.

Looking through the satisfyingly long gameplay footage, here are some of the best bits of the above video:

Guiding Wind

I could sit here and write all day about how beautiful the entire gameplay footage was, and how taken aback I was at how the soundtrack is subtle and fitting. But the first thing that blew me away was how instead of having arrows or a graph tell you where to go next, you follow the “colours of the wind” to navigate the open world.

This meant that there is very little that could block the beautiful views of the landscape and gameplay. You’re likely to be immersed into the game as there aren’t many things to distract you, and at the same time, following the ‘wind’ to get to where you need to go is pure poetry.

Besides following the wind, you can move towards smokestacks that indicate areas where people are in need of attention. You’ll even come across animals who are in need on attention, and there will be birds that can lead you to hidden locations.

Yes, you can pet the fox

This feature is super appealing to me, and to 36,000 Twitter users who follow the “Can You Pet The Dog?” Twitter account—a “catalog of pettable and non-pettable ‘dogs’ in video games”.

Though it’s not a dog, it’s still a nice touch by Sucker Punch to add this highlight. Coming across games that have cute animals but with no option to pet them is a huge disappointment I hope to never experience again. Of course, the foxes aren’t just there for you to pet them. They, alongside the other animals in the game, also serve as important markers to help guide you to hidden shrines or side missions.

This continues the thematics of how features like ‘guiding wind’ rely on environmental cues—like the smokestacks—to serve as navigation tools so your immersion isn’t broken.

Different combat modes

There are two big ‘combat modes’ seen in the footage. The first is the ‘samurai mode’, where there are “two warriors sizing each other up, waiting for the other to make the first move”. Once you’re in combat mode, the display screen narrows a little like what you’d see at a cowboy showdown. Even though there aren’t too many details to show how you fight, I appreciate the slashes of the samurai sword and the cinematic slow-downs.

The second mode of combat is when Jin, your character, becomes a ‘dishonourable ghost’. The footage also shows you how you can defeat the same Mongols with this mode, using “every dirty trick he can think of to even the odds, even using fear as a weapon”. This includes distracting the enemy with arrows or firecrackers before surprising them with murder.

Armour customisation

Besides having Jin decked out in style, the many different armour customisations in the game also give you “different mechanical advantages”. Whether you’re playing as the ‘samurai’ or the ‘ghost’, your choice in clothes help accent your play style.

You’ll also be able to collect specific flowers throughout the game. The flowers can help change the colour of an armour, giving you more customisation choices.

Control the details of your in-game photos and videos

The photo mode in “Ghost of Tsushima” has colour grading, depth of field, and even controlling the emotions of the characters for you to create what you want. You’ll also be able to control the wind’s direction, wind speed, change the particles to different types of leaves or fireflies, and even select music from their original score to create videos.

Additionally, there is an option for you to play the whole game in black-and-white mode with added film grain and extra wind, to make it look like you’re in a Kurosawa film.

Japanese voice track

You can opt for experiencing the whole game with Japanese voice dubs (and subtitles) to make the Japanese theme feel even more authentic. You can turn this option on before the first cut scene starts.

“Ghost of Tsushima” will be out for the PlayStation 4 on 17th July. Were there features seen in the footage that I missed out but you enjoyed? Let me know in the comments!

Dzamira Dzafri