As promised, Sony delivered 18 minutes of Ghost of Tsushima gameplay via the latest State of Play broadcast. If you missed it, or you just want to watch it all over again, we've embedded the full video above. It covers exploration, combat, character customisation, photo mode, and more.
All in all, it's looking like a very promising open world project from Sucker Punch. Here are the key takeaways from the stream:
Exploring the World of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima’s gameplay has been hiding in the tall grass for quite some time, but one detail that was getting a lot of attention was the lack of waypoints. The game adopts a fairly minimalistic HUD, but there are flourishes in the world that will direct your attention. For example, you can mark points of interest on the map, and gusts of wind will guide you to them. You can call in the wind at any time, to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
But as you’re exploring, nature will try to capture your attention. Smoke on the horizon will lead you towards campfires, while birds will signal collectibles. Even animals, such as foxes, will appear and direct you towards important destinations, ensuring that you absorb as much of Tsushima as possible – without having to deal with a billion icons, like in Assassin’s Creed.
Die by the Sword
As has been alluded to in the past, Ghost of Tsushima's combat is split into two distinct paths. Jin starts the game as a capable samurai warrior, honouring the traditional way of the katana. However, the events of the game cause him to adopt a ghostly persona, using new techniques that go against his training but allow him to strike from the shadows. We've had a good look at both styles in this demonstration, so let's break them down.
When approaching enemies as a samurai, Jin can initiate a standoff. This begins a sequence in which you and an enemy square up to each other to see who twitches first. Playing in this way, it seems all your strikes are very deadly, as Jin is able to take down enemies with a single swipe of his blade. It's brutally fast and efficient. As he moves into the Mongol encampment, we see him fighting outside of this standoff sequence, and it puts us in mind of Sekiro. Like From Software's action title, there's an emphasis on parrying attacks to stagger your foes, which you can then follow up with more fast slashes. As a samurai, it appears precision and swiftness is the order of the day. To that end, you'll also be able to swap into various stances to deal with different enemy types.
While you can fight honourably and traditionally, it's clear you'll be engaging foes as the Ghost – the clue's in the title. When Jin adopts this alter ego, the game's combat is far more stealth-based. You'll have various tools at your disposal to deal with threats without breaking cover. Throwing fire crackers or rocks will distract enemies with sound, and you can use that to sneak past or perform a stealth takedown. The demo also showcased some verticality, with Jin clambering onto rooftops in order to take down Mongols from above. We also see you'll have access to a bow and arrows to kill silently from range, smoke bombs to stun enemies and throw them off, and kunai for fast eliminations if you're spotted.
The two styles are obviously vastly different, and it's unclear exactly how much freedom you'll have, but judging by the customisation options, it sounds like you'll be able to make Jin your own. We imagine you'll need to combine both styles of play to get through different areas, but it seems as though you'll be able to tackle combat scenarios as you like. One thing's for sure – we wouldn't want to get on Jin's bad side.
Make Jin Your Own with Customisation
As well as upgrading Jin with better weapons, you'll also be able to customise his look with new armour pieces, decals, and colour schemes. You'll be able to change the colour of individual garments as well as completely overhaul your appearance with different pieces. That can be done by collecting dye flowers out in the open world, which when enough have been gathered, allows you to give a piece of armour a palette swap.
It's the Charms which will have a more dramatic effect on Jin, however. Omimori Charms can be collected out in the open world and when equipped, give your character a specific boost. The Charm of Okuninushi gives you the ability to slowly recover health outside of combat while the Charm of Unseen Respite has smoke bombs restore 25 per cent of your health. They appear to be either passive bonuses or context-specific upgrades which could come in handy in the midst of battle. And when you've got a stylish Jin to go along with that, there's not a solider in Tsushima who could stop you.
Bells and whistles
It feels like a long time ago now, but Sucker Punch pioneered the idea of Photo Mode, and thus there’s no surprise the feature will return in Ghost of Tsushima. In addition to shutter speeds and filters, you’ll also be able to set the wind direction and particle type, to create the perfect atmosphere for your portraits. Moreover, you’ll be able to pick different soundtracks to make short, motion pictures – perfect for GIFs on social media.
And this is a game that you’ll want to photograph, as it looks stunning. Fascinatingly, the developer has included the option to play entirely in black-and-white, with a film grain filter to capture that classic, samurai movie look. You can read more about that feature through here. If that’s not convincing enough for you, then the excellent English voice acting can be swapped out for Japanese dialogue, selling the setting of the game.
How do you think Ghost of Tsushima looks? Find all the pre-order options and retail editions through the link, then clean your blade in the comments section below. Also, don't forget to tell us whether you'll be buying the exclusive through here.