Ghost of Tsushima State of Play Recap: Beauty, Death, and Foxes

Today's State of Play gave us a tantalizing glimpse at the beautiful and brutal world Sucker Punch created for Ghost of Tsushima.

As advertised, Sony’s latest State of Play was all about Sucker Punch’s upcoming Ghost of Tsushima. There’s a lot to dig into, including combat, customization, and modes so let’s get started.

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Things kicked off with Sucker Punch’s Jason Connell showing off how we’ll explore the gorgeous open world of Tsushima. We already know there aren’t any waypoints, but you’ll still have a map to guide you and you can call a guiding wind to point you in the right direction should you get lost.

Exploration revolves around the island itself guiding you through sparking curiosity and giving you places to explore, because as Connell said, “you can’t have exploration without curiosity.”

These could be big story moments, side quests, or any number of things, and you’ll need to pay attention to a number of environmental cues like smoke and animals to uncover unique interactions. Birds, for example, point out areas of interest, foxes lead you to shrines where you can acquire special charms, and some animal symbols turn red when there’s danger nearby.

It’s a big world, and fortunately, Jin has a trusty horse to help take him through it, and you can even gather resources even while you ride.

You’ll find resources in a variety of places, including abandoned buildings, so it’s worth taking your time to explore the island. And once you find a location, you can go back to it through fast travel as well.

Exploration isn’t everything in Ghost of Tsushima of course. A big part of Jin’s journey is combat-centric, and according to Sucker Punch’s Nate Fox, half of Tshushima‘s combat is the classic samurai faceoff that pits one warrior against another.

You’ll be fighting a ton of warriors, and each action counts. What combat stances you take can change the course of battle, as can choosing the right moment to make your presence known and strike up close or stay back to hit from afar.

Jin isn’t just a samurai, though. He’s also the Ghost, using stealth, fear, and any number of underhanded tactics to take down his Mongol opponents. Stealth in Ghost of Tsushima is an involved process too. One scene, for example, showed Jin using a firecracker to both distract enemies and cover the sound of his own footsteps as he neared their camp from above.

Eventually, the Mongols will fear Jin the Ghost, which you can also use to your advantage and enhance with actions like eliminating victims as they try to flee. There’s a “Slaughter” option you can choose instead of just the typical “Assassinate,” and something tells us that might have something to do with increasing fear as well.

Jin’s armor and outfits aren’t just for looks; they also accent your chosen playstyle. You’ll find a number of omamori charms that enhance your abilities, and the same goes for skills. How Jin develops is entirely up to you, as you create and hone your own unique playstyle. For instance, one technique build has Jin restoring health whenever he uses a smoke bomb, so there’s a ton of ways to play.

And there’s Photo Mode, of course, because this is Sucker Punch. Ghost of Tsushima‘s photo mode gives you a ton of options for making your ideal photo. There are overlays, changing wind direction or adding particles, and even changing the soundtrack if you’re making a video. And that’s just some of what’s available.

Outside of that, you can customize how the game itself looks, with a special Samurai Cinema filter you can turn on right from the start that gives everything a grainy, black and white, windblown look. Also right from the start, you can choose a Japanese voice track if you want. Kurosawa on your PS4

Sucker Punch says this was just the start. There’s a lot more they haven’t even shown yet, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Ghost of Tsushima news as we near its July 19 launch date.

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Josh Broadwell
Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.