The last big exclusive for PS4 is Ghost of Tsushima — a beautiful open-world action-game that drops you onto a lovingly crafted Japanese island, and tasks you with fighting back the invading Mongol hordes by yourself. As a brave samurai, you’ll learn new sword techniques to battle increasingly difficult foes, and master the arts of stealth to overcome your seemingly unbeatable foe.
If you’ve played any of the new Assassin’s Creed games like Odyssey, you might see something familiar in Ghost of Tsushima — but there’s a little more polish here, a little more attention to detail, and a lot more cool abilities to unlock. As a samurai, you can become an unstoppable dealer of death with the right techniques.
Still not sure about Ghost of Tsushima? Here’s what we’ve experienced so far — we’ve got 10 tips, features, combat tricks, and Easter eggs you need to know about before you buy.
#1: There Are Four Combat Styles To Master
Combat isn’t too hardcore in Ghost of Tsushima — this is a game meant for everyone, but you won’t be able to simply button-mash through every enemy encounter. As you progress, you’ll unlock four different fighting styles. Some are better against shielded enemies, while others can make dealing with spear-wielding enemies much easier. Swap your styles constantly to fit the opponent you’re fighting to master early combat.
#2: Complete As Many Side-quests As You Can!
Side-quests aren’t just for earning skill points — you’ll also get valuable new attack abilities or weapon variants you won’t find anywhere else. By completing quests, you can find special attacks, or weapons like the Longbow for easier enemy sniping. You’ll find an old monk that will give you rumors, sharing hints to help you find these one-of-a-kind upgrades.
#3: Don’t Upgrade Your Armor Until You’re Sure It Fits Your Style
Each set of armor has its own upgrade tree — you can upgrade them up to four times! But, you’ll have to upgrade each set of armor separately, and they all have different unique attributes. Depending on your needs, some armor is better for stealth, and some is better for combat. Upgrades are helpful, but not integral to the gameplay, so it’s perfectly fine if you wait, test the armor out, then upgrade when you’re ready to go.
#4: Stealth Is Tricky Early On — Use Your Bow!
Before you unlock future upgrades that allow you to stealth kill multiple opponents at once, stealth can be pretty tricky. Your trusty sword is enough to handle a few opponents, but once you start infiltrating entire camps of Mongols, you’ll have to be careful! One of the best ways to defeat opponents is the bow. It deals huge damage, often killing in one hit, and it staggers opponents, leaving them open to a killing blow.
#5: You Can Swap Armor On The Fly & Customize It Even More!
Armor can be swapped in the menu at any time. It doesn’t exactly make sense — your samurai can’t possibly carry all that stuff around, can he? — but it is handy for really getting immersed in the world. The island you’re trapped on is beautiful, so why not match it? You can switch to armor for horse-riding, then put on the heavy stuff for combat. And if you’re feeling especially colorful, you can dye your armor different colors to match the seasons! How about a pink set of armor for the falling cherry blossoms?
#6: Staying Hidden Using Your Tools Of Stealth
At the start of the game, your stealth options are pitifully low. But, as you learn from your new thief friend, you’ll gain more sneaking options — and these aren’t just ways to kill more bad guys. You’ll get a bell to lure enemies away, a blowgun to dart opponents silently, and a grappling hook to scale cliffs and walls. You can even swim and dive in water to stay out-of-sight.
#7: Mongol Alarms Are Low-Tech — You Can Fight Without Alerting Everyone
Fighting is always an option in Ghost of Tsushima. From the very start, you can charge into the middle of a camp and start slashing enemies. Even if you’re caught, it’s okay to stand your ground and fight because you won’t alert everyone in a large camp. Alarms aren’t exactly sophisticated, so if you kill everyone in one side of a camp, the other side might have no idea what’s going on.
#8: Clear Out Mongol Camps To Create Fast Travel Points
You’ll have a trusty horse to aid you while travelling around the vast island of Tsushima, but sometimes that just isn’t fast enough. The island is a big place! To get around quicker, you can clear out Mongol Camps — defeat everyone at these locations, which are easy to spot via smoke trails — to generate a fast travel point. And fast travel loads ridiculously quickly.
#9: There Are Easter Eggs | The Cooper Clan
The developer promises plenty of Easter eggs. While I haven’t found any Easter eggs from the Infamous series (yet), you can earn yourself a suit of armor from the sneaky Cooper Clan — the family of thieves featured in the Sly Cooper games. Well, not exactly; you’ll have to find specific armor pieces and wear them together to unlock the ‘Cooper Clan Cosplayer‘ trophy.
#10: You Can Rapidly Swap Sword Styles To Pull Out Insane Combos
For advanced players, you’ll be able to unlock killer abilities for your different sword styles — and some of these abilities chain together insanely well. Shooting arrows in combat leads to easy parries, or you can swap around, kicking an enemy away, then plastering them with a bomb and an arrow while they’re still flying. There are some absurd combos, so you’ll absolutely want to experiment with all your unlocked abilities. Think of the possibilities and don’t limit yourself to just one combat style at a time!
That’s all the basics we think you need to know all about to get started in Ghost of Tsushima. This is a big open-world game with a lot of fun stuff to discover, and if you’re looking for an Assassin’s Creed that goes a little more in-depth, this is the game you’re looking for.