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Ghost of Tsushima – 10 Things to Know Before You Play

If I would've only known.


Before you play Ghosts of Tsushima there are some things you should know about the game.  We’ve played it, we’ve seen the credits roll and these are things we wished we knew before we started playing to have a better handle on things.  In no particular order, these are the ten things to know before you play Ghosts of Tsushima.

1. Unlock all the stances as quick as possible


Stances are the most important thing you need to memorize when it comes to combat.  There are going to be various types of enemies that all have unique weaknesses and these weaknesses are exploited by using stances.  Your goal should be to unlock these Stances as quickly as possible so that you can deal with any type of enemy very easily.  So how do you unlock the stances quick?  They are tied to Strong Mongol mini-boss enemies in Mongol controlled areas.  Liberate these areas and kill the boss and you earn points toward unlocking.  Spy on these bosses for even more points towards unlocks.

2.  Use the Wind for Guidance


Ghost of Tsushima uses a unique mechanic when it comes to waypoints and objectives.  You can set them in the map in the options menu, but there isn’t a traditional onscreen pointer.  Instead, the developers expect you to use a distance meter and a visual representation of the wind to find your way to your objectives.

3. Simplifying the controls and the combat


There’s a lot going on in terms of the combat for Ghost of Tsushima but it can be boiled down and simplified.  As we mentioned the most important thing when it comes to combat is using the correct stance for the right enemy type, but you also need to know how to block, dodge, and parry.  There are basically three states that an enemy can attack you in.  Normal, Red (Unblockable), Blue (Strong Attack but can be parried).  When it comes to combat make sure to always dodge out of the way for Red Attacks (Circle Button) and look for openings when Blue Attacks or no color attacks are being used.   From there, you simply need to know that if you want to change stance press the R2 Button.  If you want bow and arrow you can draw it with L2 and shoot with R2.  Things can get a little bit more complex from there with the ability to use things like poison darts and secondary items, once you have the basics down this other stuff is a lot easier to manage.

4. There’s a lot of Organic Elements to the Gameplay


“You see that mountain, you can go there.”  So, that’s an open world cliche at this point, but Ghost of Tsushima adds its own spin on things.  Clearing the Mongols out of your homeland is your primary objective and you’ll do that by taking back your lands one outpost at a time.  Marked on the map as red, but can be seen from distance while out in the game world.  Smoke in the distance could be a smoldering village, fiery cities that you see in the distance will also be Mongol camps as well.

5.  Make sure you use your Technique Points wisely


With so many games nowadays give you one way or another to respec your character at some point, I’ve gotten out of the habit of saving things like Skill Points.  In Ghost of Tsushima you don’t want to go spending them on power-ups that you don’t really want because there’s no going back from the decisions that you make with them.

6. Constantly gather supplies


Always keep your eyes out for supplies.  These items and raw materials themselves are everywhere, so after a Mongol encampment is cleaned out you definitely want to search high and low for supplies and materials.  They are paramount to upgrading your gear.  It’s easy to get behind the ball here if you aren’t collecting early or try to rush to fast through the story missions.

7.  You can change the weather with your flute


Jin Sakai carries a flute as well as his weaponry.  This flute can be used to change the weather in the game.  So if you’re trying to get a certain look in photo mode or just want different weather for a mission there are four different songs that can be learned by collecting crickets.

8. Standoff Fakers


It won’t be soon after you learn the art of the standoff that things will start getting a little more difficult here with faster enemies and some who lunge at you and fake attack.  You might as well get used to it, as the game progresses more and more standoffs will have a fakers to draw you in and mess you up.  Always look to make sure that they have fully committed to the attack before pressing Triangle again and killing the enemy.  If you mistime it, you’ll need to be ready to fight and at a disadvantage.

9. There’s no new game plus

It would have been nice to know that there’s no New Game Plus in Ghost of Tsushima.  That said, once the credits roll you’ll be able to head back out into the world and round-up anything you missed in terms of Mongol camps, armors, side-quests, and more.

10. Defintely try out Kurosawa Mode with Japanese VO


For fans of old Samurai movies or films in general the Kurosawa mode and Japanese VO is really great combined with the atmospheric nature of the world.  It might not be your cup of tea, but it might be.  I didn’t find until late in the game and wish I’d played with it more.

And those are 10 things I wish I knew before playing Ghost of Tsushima.  If you have any of your own feel free to add them in the comments section below.

- This article was updated on:July 16th, 2020

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