Alex Birlo on July 14, 2020
So, we have less than a week before Ghost of Tsushima releases on July 17th and it is your last chance to preorder the game.
The game transports the player into late 13th century Japan, to Tsushima an island of the Japanese archipelago located approximately halfway between the Japanese mainland and the Korean Peninsula. And the story will unfold during the first Mongol invasion of Japan.
The game leans towards grounded realism, with a touch of classical Japanese samurai-cinema sprinkled all over the place.
But in terms of historical accuracy, the developers took a lot of creative liberties.
For example, mixing together certain details from slightly different historical periods such as specific weapon types of variants of armor or even some parts of Japanese etiquette.
You play as the protagonist Jin Sakai. A young samurai who participates with his clan in the suicidal first engagement with the invading Mongol navy as they land in overwhelming numbers in Tsushima, on their way to the Japanese mainland.
His entire clan gets slaughtered and everyone thinks Jin is dead when in reality he survives and goes on to wage a guerrilla war against the Mongol forces left to occupy the island.
In the process, Jin begins to realize that the old and honorable way of the samurai will not work when he faces single-handedly against such overwhelming odds.
That’s where he begins to use anything at his disposal, including different underhanded tactics, to get results.
The player will have the choice of playing through the entire game as a Samurai that honorably faces each opponent, or as the dishonorable Ghost that becomes the dagger in the night and spreads fear among the enemy lines.
But mind that these are only different ways to approach the various scenarios throughout the game. They in no way influence the main story and you can even mix and match between the styles at any given point during the game. You will never get locked from playing one way or the other.
The developers stated that they wanted to create a grounded, and brutal setting, so the game is meant to be challenging.
There will still be the usual 3 difficulty settings – Easy, Normal, and Hard.
The opponents you will face are as human as you are, so the enemies go down in one or two hits. But Jin, as the playable character, will be also able to take only a moderate amount of punishment himself before going down.
So throughout the entire game, the player will have to be cautious and weigh their skill against the risk of facing several opponents at once.
The usage of special moves, that act as skills in the game, revolves around the resolve meter which is displayed as small yellow circles in the bottom left corner.
They deplete when you heal and use special moves, while get refilled as you deal damage and kill opponents.
We have already mentioned the special moves and there are various ways you can get those: through story moments, overall progression, and exploration – to which we will come a bit later.
Then there is something called “The Legend of the Ghost” which acts as a measure for your progression and you will be able to grow your legend through everything you do throughout the story.
Amongst your equipment there are also “Charms” they are like the Japanese good fortune Omamori charms that you can find, again, through exploration.
When equipped they will augment or reinforce certain stats and abilities Jin has.
And of course, it would not be an RPG if there were no armor builds.
There will be tons of different armor pieces you can equip that will also influence how the character is played.
For example, you will not wear a heavy Samurai armor for a nighttime stealthy infiltration because it would make you less agile and slow you down. But in open combat it would provide you with great protection, increasing your survivability.
Let’s start with the interesting visual part. The game’s HUD will be easy on the eye since the developers decided to get rid of the mini-map, compass, and destination markers.
Instead of cluttering the screen with waypoints and markers, the player will be able to choose a destination on the map by placing a marker and then at any time during the game use what they call “The Guiding Wind”, by pressing a designated button a gust of wind will come near Jin and it will blow in the direction of the waypoint – keeping the immersion of the experience.
Also, the developers said they wanted to come up with ideas of “how can the island itself guide the player”.
And thus the game is packed with events and locations that continue to genuinely pick the players’ curiosity as smoke pillars can signify a campfire with an NPC that requires help, or strangely growing vegetation can mean there is some kind of mysterious location with a piece of gear to discover or even animals like birds and foxes, that can try to get your attention and show you a shrine with a charm or a new move, or some abandoned temple.
All in all the game is shaping up to be a unique experience that will stay with you long after the credits roll.