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Game Over: Ghost of Tsushima

Game Over: Ghost of Tsushima

After four years of owning Ghost of Tsushima, I finally got around to finishing the story of the game. During the pandemic, I bought it due to how fun it looked, and then I somehow dropped it after being distracted by a certain other game that came out in 2021 (I’m looking at you, Final Fantasy VII Remake), and now, I still haven’t finished FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH, and I can say that it’s poetic justice that I procrastinated that to finally finish the story.

The Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut is released this month on PC, so while I could have played that version of the PlayStation release, I decided to boot up the PlayStation 4 disc and get to work. After all, I’d rather play the Director’s Cut and the Iki Island DLC once I had actually experienced the main story. Needless to say, there will be spoilers ahead.


Truthfully, I can’t understand why I dropped Ghost of Tsushima all those years ago because, let me tell you, I have spent days exploring Tsushima and battling the Mongols as Jin Sakai. It also helps that I’ve been playing it with the Japanese dub because, as a One Piece fan, I bloody love Kazuya Nakai (as I love Roronoa Zoro), and I figured it would help me immerse myself in the story as I wouldn’t zone out during the dialogue. I’ve also been watching Shogun on the side, which really added to the experience, and now the game has done its job, and I just want to watch a number of Akira Kurosawa flicks.

So, for those who haven’t played Ghost of Tsushima, it’s about a samurai, Jin Sakai, who, with his uncle, Lord Shimura, battled the Mongols on Komoda Beach in 1274, in the Kamakura period. After a devastating defeat, Lord Shimura is captured, and Jin is saved by a thief, Yuna. With the two teaming up to save both his uncle and her blacksmith brother, Taka, you can travel the island to find Jin’s allies. These include Sensei Ishikawa, an archer who is searching for his student, Tomoe, who has teamed up with the Mongols, and Lady Adachi, whose entire clan was murdered, while her husbands and sons were slaughtered on Komoda Beach. It’s these two allies who join you first, and then there is also the shady sake merchant, Kenji, whom I love dearly.

Lady Masako and Jin

Each ally leads you to a tale, which is how quests are referred to. These quests aren’t particularly long, and you often follow your allies to help them battle their enemies. Enemies all have different strengths and weaknesses, so learning the different stances in Jin’s skill tree is essential to having an easier time of fighting them. After helping my allies on their side quests, I went to save my uncle, Lord Shimura, and hopefully with the aid of the Straw Hat Ronin, whose leader was Jin’s childhood friend, Ryuzo. With Ryuzo’s betrayal during the rescue of Lord Shimura, I have to admit I was stung. After all, Ryuzo had good motivations for doing everything he did, as who wouldn’t want to save their starving men?

When Lord Shimura returns, he’s not thrilled by Jin’s actions. While I played with a focus on Jin’s samurai skills, I did have to use his Ghost skills to assassinate enemies and ensure that everyone remained safe. Jin’s focus has always been the safety of the island, while Lord Shimura has a much heavier focus on honour, and facing your enemies head-on. Considering the loss on Komoda Beach, it’s not a great strategy. So, when we finally reached the point where we could find Khotun Khan at Lord Shimura’s castle in the north, Jin had made a name for himself as the Ghost of Tsushima. Due to that, he earned more allies, such as the Warrior Monk, Norio, and the peasants of Yarokawa Village.


Truthfully, by the end of Act 2, as the game is divided into three acts, I was fully embracing Jin’s Ghost persona. Using the Ghost techniques, you have access to Kunai, Blow Darts, and Bombs. I absolutely loved the Blow Darts, as they allowed you to either poison your enemies or cause them to hallucinate and kill each other; this was really handy when facing a large number of forces, but I didn’t want to be seen.

By the end of the game, I was becoming a lot more stealthy. Instead of rushing in guns blazing, I just kept on sneakily killing everyone. But I still tried to maintain a good nature, as Jin is kind-hearted at his core. Everything he did was for Tsushima, making him a compelling character.

Admittedly, I focused more on the open world in Act 1 and post-game. It was easier for me to liberate Tsushima without worrying about everything, and then I could look for more Inari shrines. These could only be found when looking for Fox Dens, and you could even pet the foxes afterwards, but only at specific locations. Let me tell you, any game that allows me to pet a fox will win without fail. In one side quest, the Mongols had killed a bunch of foxes, and I didn’t hesitate to kill these guys for my little fox buddies.


The gameplay was fluid, and I thought that, while it did get progressively more difficult as time went on, it was never so complicated that I wanted to rage quit. Plus, there were some fun elements included, such as the hot springs, where you could take the time to contemplate your life and the battles ahead — the added bonus being the sight of Jin Sakai’s butt each time — and the chance to compose haikus in scenic spots. But most importantly, I loved the story itself.

Ghost of Tsushima is essentially about growing up. While Jin is a grown man at the beginning of the narrative, he’s also still coming to terms with the death of his father, Kazemasa. His allies are his elders, and he learns that they are just as flawed as he is and that his uncle isn’t as invincible as he thought. While he is initially willing to follow Lord Shimura to his death, he learns that this will needlessly throw away lives, and he can’t accept it. So, the fact that Jin becomes comfortable with becoming the Ghost to save his home shows his loss of innocence and his finally maturing into the warrior he was meant to be.

Ghost of Tsushima screenshot

So, excuse me as I accept that I’ll be playing this again, and I’ll be eager to see what New Game + and Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut has in store.

Game Over
Bex Prouse

Bex Prouse

Staff Writer

Writing about all sorts like a liquorice allsort

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safecastle - 09:05pm, 24th May 2024

Without spoiling anything, the game puts you in the shoes of Jin Sakai, a samurai who becomes the Ghost of Tsushima. The open world sounds interesting and allows for exploration.