Ghost of Tsushima: Everything you need to know about the PS4 exclusive

Ghosts of Tsushima is a brand-new PS4 exclusive from Sucker Punch, otherwise known as the minds behind Sly Cooper and Infamous. Having cut its teeth on platformers and epic open-world experiences, the studio is now delving into the lands of Feudal Japan.

Trusted Reviews has compiled everything you need to know about Ghosts of Tsushima including all the latest news, release date, trailers and our very own gameplay preview.

Ghost of Tsushima release date – when is it coming out?

In development exclusively for PS4, Sony is yet to confirm a release date or window for Ghosts of Tsushima. We wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being a cross-generational title for PS4 and PS5 consoles, given we expect the latter to launch in 2020.

Ghost of Tsushima – What is it?

Set in the province of Tsushima, Japan. You play as a samurai, exploring an open world and engaging in missions. From an extended look at Ghost of Tsushima at Sony’s E3 2018 press conference, it seems that stealth will to play a substantial part in the game, as will some frankly brutal melee combat.

A tense one-on-one duel was also featured, which appeared to rely on you not flinching until the exact moment it’s time to strike. It was this one-on-one fight that gave us our best look at the title’s combat, which seems to place a heavy emphasis on parrying your enemies attacks.

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Ghost of Tsushima Gameplay Preview

The Ghost of Tsushima trailer shown during Sony’s E3 2018 press conference came immediately after The Last of Us Part 2, a tough act to follow for anyone. It also left many viewers with more questions than answers despite its utterly stunning showcase

Seeing the team behind InFamous’ vision of feudal Japan, which is a stunning huge open world and how Jin, our lead character, fits within it, was a nice first-look. But it wasn’t until a behind closed doors session with Sucker Punch co-founder, Chris Zimmerman, that I got any idea how the game will play, and an opening glimpse at the incredibly exciting story that lies in wait.

The game’s vision of feudal Japan is not hamstrung by history.  Zimmerman notes during the presentation that the team is not allowing themselves to be slaves to history – the devs are taking artistic license when it comes to historical accuracy. How this will shape up in the finished appearance remains unclear. 

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Therefore, the story that unfolds becomes inherently more interesting. You play as Jin, a man raised in the art of Samurai who must defend his island from a Mongolian invasion. However, all of Jin’s masters have been slain during the conflict, thanks to the Mongolians not conforming to the rules of Samurai, leading Jin to question everything he has been taught.

This answered a big question that I had about the game. Being an open-world experience in which we played a samurai, I feared for the progression system. Sucker Punch has always delivered excellent leveling mechanics and a well-paced unlocking of new abilities, but I couldn’t envision how a samurai could unlock a new outfit or special powers. Zimemrman answers this through the story: Jin must adapt and make the decision to abandon his teachings in order to beat the Mongolians, and in that lies how the game will allow new weapons and techniques to be unlocked.

He does point out, however, that players can choose to play through the experience as a samurai, but during the post-demo Q&A notes this will not be a Dark Souls-style experience where players can end the game how they started without any form of leveling up.

We then come to the first fight in the trailer, this time being played in real time. Jin’s ‘Jutsu’, the samurai art of a strike delivered as the sword is drawn, is a skill that is earned in the game, and is shown once again. Zimmerman notes that skills such as these have the potential to intimidate other enemies in the encounter, and the two other Mongolians noticeably step back in fear as the strike lands. Zimmerman also says that every single droplet of blood that spatters after the strike is tracked in real time.

Each fight will reportedly be a stiff challenge as Sucker Punch wants every encounter to feel worthwhile and meaningful. Your success in fights comes down to timing blocks, countering and strikes. Watching the sword fight happen in real time, the game looked thrilling.

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I did have concerns about the camera, though. Watching the developer controlling the demo it looks like the camera is manually controlled by the player, and attacks are done using the face buttons, which could prove fiddly during heated exchanges – though Zimmerman promised the camera controls won’t unfairly punish the player. Time will tell whether or not this will be the case.

When Jin approaches the house to rescue the monk, Zimmerman confirms that players can approach this mission in multiple ways. If you like, you could enter via the front door and challenge all the Mongolians inside to a fight, or you could opt for a stealthy approach and enter quietly through the roof.

But the most interesting thing about this demo is the almost Darwinian approach to the story. Jin’s need to abandon his teachings in order to not only save himself but also his land will be fascinating to see unfold, both from a narrative and gameplay perspective. Seeing how it plays into the game’s RPG-esque mechanics of unlocking new weapons and abilities will be very interesting in this historical setting, particularly from a studio that’s best known for creating gorgeous worlds that focus on a supernatural lead.

It gives Ghost of Tsushima so much more potential than I thought it had, and certainly, this presentation sold it in a far better light than its E3 trailer did, because of how much more room to breath it’s been given.

Ghost of Tsushima First Impressions

With Ghost of Tsushima immediately following that frankly astounding Last of Us Part 2 trailer during Sony’s conference, I was initially underwhelmed. Getting a second stab at it, and having the team at Sucker Punch guide me through the concept at a much greater level of detail, I’m now far more interested in what this game could become.

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Ghost of Tsushima Trailer – How’s it look?

Our most recent look at the game came at E3 2018 when Sony showed off a lengthy gameplay trailer for the upcoming game.

You can watch this trailer below.

Ghost of Tsushima Story – What’s it about?

While the trailers have revealed little in the way of detail, the description of the video revealed plenty more about the game:

“The year is 1274. Samurai warriors are the legendary defenders of Japan–until the fearsome Mongol Empire invades the island of Tsushima, wreaking havoc and conquering the local population. As one of the last surviving samurai, you rise from the ashes to fight back. But, honorable tactics won’t lead you to victory. You must move beyond your samurai traditions to forge a new way of fighting–the way of the Ghost–as you wage an unconventional war for the freedom of Japan.”

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There’s no doubt we’ll find out much more about the story and its lead characters as we get closer to launch.

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