Exploration is a critical feature in Ghost of Tsushima. The freedom to explore beautiful Japanese forests, mountainous terrain, or rural farmsteads and more is up to the player. Jin rides a beautiful white horse that gallops across the map. The guiding wind feature guides the player towards a destination they have pinpointed on their map. Secret locations that do not appear on your map will be guided by birds native to the island of Tsushima. Foxes can guide the Samarai to hidden shrines across the island. The Samarai knows no magic, but his deep connection with nature and love for his island makes it possible to call upon the winds, birds, and foxes for guidance.
The combat in Ghost of Tsushima is gory, thrilling, and nostalgic for people who love Samurai movies. When playing as Jin, the player can choose to alternate between The Ghost and The Samarai. The Ghost is a dishonorable combat tactic where Jin strikes from the shadows and takes down enemies silently. Jin must use the Ghost often, as he cannot face hordes of Mongols on the battlefield alone. Over time the Mongols learn to fear the Ghost, and the player can use this to their advantage. The mere sight of you may cause a Mongol to stumble, fall, and run head over heels in the other direction. The Samarai is the traditional, honorable combat tactic where the warrior takes on his enemies face to face with deadly precision. Jin must be cautious when dealing with the Mongols because one wrong step could mean his demise.
The different armor Jin dons in Ghost of Tsushima gives Jin various mechanical advantages. Different armor helps supplement one’s play style. For example, when choosing to use the Ghost, they may wear light armor that allows them to climb and move around obstacles deftly. On the other hand, Samurai armor is slower, and heavier, but is built to withstand powerful blows.
Another exciting feature in Ghost of Tsushima is the photo mode. A player can freeze time whenever they want and create videos or photos of Jin doing Samarai-like feats like praying, posing with a sword, or playing his flute. When dictating the flow of the wind, the player can create a flow of leaves, or other natural things found on the island of Tsushima to supplement the player’s desired video or photo.
Samurai mode lets the player go through the entirety of the game in black and white. They can also toggle Samurai mode with normal mode to get a vast array of vibes, and varying color palettes. Samurai mode invokes nostalgia for players who love old, grainy black and white Samurai movies like “Seven Samurai” or “Yojimbo.”