Review – Ghost of Tsushima explores the samurai world without being a cartoon

by Nathan Dutil

Marcelo Jabulas | @mjabulas – I admit I wasn’t too excited to play Ghost of Tsushima. Personally, I thought there was a heightened hype about the game and that it would be another medieval Japanese game in the style of Sekiro and Nioh 2 that would abuse mythology to improve its gameplay, titanic enemies and to a degree. of difficulty bordering on sadism. But I need to give my arm to twist. The Sucker Punch team went above and beyond and proved they can go beyond the Infamous franchise.

The game is revealed in different ways. At first it looks like a Hack & Slash, in the best God of War style, but later it turns into an Action RPG, which, in a simplistic analogy, would be some sort of Days Gone samurai. Amidst the chaos, the player must explore a huge map in search of upgrades, new skills, allies and weapons. Instead of a motorcycle, a horse. And instead of the frenzied hordes, fanatics and thieves, Mongol warriors commanded by an impetuous general who wants to crush all forms of resistance.


Ghost of Tsushima is built on historical facts, dating back to the Mongol expansion in the 13th century.Tsushima is a Japanese island located in the Korea Strait. In the Mongolian occupation plans for Japan, the island had a strategic function as a fulcrum, because it was halfway there.

According to history, the Mongol Empire made two attempts to dominate the Japanese archipelago, in the years 1274 and 1281. Resistance in Tsushima would have been responsible for the failure of Mongolian expansion.

The parcel

In the game, the player takes on the role of Jin Sakai, a samurai raised and trained by his uncle, a samurai general, who was one of the leaders of the resistance against the Mongols. At the start of the game, the samurai are surprised by Mongolian military might. Jin’s uncle is taken prisoner of war and it’s up to the young warrior to launch his offensive.

Left for dead, after a fight with a Mongolian leader, the samurai must liberate villages, find new battle companions. As a samurai, the player is the authority in the game. Among villagers, travelers, and monks, Jin is always received with deference due to his rank as an Imperial warrior.


Ghost of Tsushima is a game with exquisite visuals, beautiful environment, and texture quality that impresses even when running on the standard PS4 version. But it goes further and has refined elements that promise to extend the player’s immersion. In addition to offering the Japanese language (which is recommended for a better gaming environment), there is also the Kurosawa mode.

Akira Kurosawa was one of the most important Japanese filmmakers, owner of an impeccable filmography, and who portrayed the figure of the samurai in several films, such as The Seven Samurai, The Lost Fortress, as well as Sanjuro, in which the story is about a samurai who must save the uncle.

The Kurosawa mode reproduces the monochromatic aesthetic that the filmmaker used in the 1962 film. When the filter is activated, the image, in addition to converting to black and white, also reveals the spots and dust fragments of the old. movies. The audio also undergoes changes, more muffled, as if it were a mono channel.


Ghost of Tsushima is a game designed according to the samurai code of conduct, Bushido. Jin faces major dilemmas during the game. For example, he doesn’t sneak around and murder his opponent. In the samurai booklet, it’s cowardice. It is necessary to stand in front of your rival and attack him in front of his eyes, giving him the opportunity to clash.

And this can be a problem for the player, as the young warrior often finds himself in situations where it is impossible to face an armed group with an open heart. And in this story of honor, you have to challenge your opponent to a duel. At this point there is a command that allows you to execute the opponent at once. But you have to have the right time to attack. The problem is to face the rest of the class alone.

But as the game progresses and under the influence of other Jin characters, he discovers that in a dishonorable war there are certain dogmas to be overlooked.

you all

The protagonist can regain his energy as long as he accumulates willpower points. That is, every time he defeats an enemy, his morale increases and he can regain lost blood.

With the evolution of the character, the points of “confidence” increase, as well as the bar of energy. As Milton Leite would say, it’s when the guy puffs up his chest and thinks, “Now I’m going to dedicate myself!”

follow the wind

The game has a simple menu of commands: attack, dodge, jump, run, heal button, whistle to summon horse, etc. An interesting feature is found on the Dualshock 4 trackpad. It is possible to activate different commands depending on the direction of travel.

Since there is no minimap or compass. The samurai is guided by the wind. just slide your finger up and down and a stream of air shows the direction.


Like any action RPG, one of the player’s tasks is to scour the scenarios for items, such as metals, wood, and other supplies to acquire upgrades for their weapons and armor, as well as resources to buy new pieces of their clothes.

However, on the map there are also places such as foxholes and hot springs. The little lupine has symbolism in the culture. Following these animals from their lairs provides improvements for the player.

Fountains, on the other hand, are places where samurai bathe and meditate on different dilemmas in their lives. In addition to invigorating, the baths also guarantee improvements in the protagonist’s abilities.

New characters also appear during the campaign and introduce Jin to new weapons and techniques. In other words, you can’t be lazy to scan Tsushima’s map for upgrades.

last word

With the hand held by the paddle, it is clear that Ghost of Tsushima goes way beyond expectations. Without relying on spells and elements of mythology, it is a game totally centered on historical contexts. And the solution to recovering energy, according to the “will” of the samurai was a brilliant way to avoid resorting to mysticism.

The elements with the use of wind for orientation allowed for a cleaner look. Much like the Kurosawa mode amplifies the romanticism of the production. Certainly a great game that comes in the home stretch of the PS4. Even if the friend does not know the filmography of the filmmaker, it is worth taking a look.

Leave a Comment