A beginner's guide to Ghost of Tsushima

How to prepare for Jin's journey.


Before you begin

From the start, you can choose to play Ghost of Tsushima in English, or in Japanese with English subtitles for a more authentic samurai cinema-style experience. You'll also have the option to play in Kurosawa Mode, inspired by the legendary filmmaker, which changes the world to black and white, cranks up the wind, and makes subtle changes to visuals and sound. You'll be able to enable this option at any time in the menu.


Lesson 1: Let the island guide you

Follow the wind

Watch your surroundings for clues that can lead you to points of interest, such as smoke on the horizon or mysterious-looking trees. Call the Guiding Wind to help navigate towards your current objective.

As you explore, you can pick any point on the map and follow the wind to find it, ranging from various Tales of Tsushima to specific points of interest, villages or even collectibles.

Use animals as nature's tour guide

Pay attention to animals like golden birds or foxes, which can lead you to special landmarks or activities. Plumes of smoke can also mark enemy strongholds, villages, people in need, or other things to be discovered.

Keep an eye out for buildings or rock faces that can be climbed, as you never know what you might find at the top.

Explore the map to uncover points of interest

While you'll need to explore to find new parts of Tsushima initially, once you've discovered an area or point of interest, you'll be able to return to it with Fast Travel. It's worth talking to merchants you meet, as one may give you a special outfit that can aid you in your journey and even help you discover hidden secrets.

It's also a good idea to keep an eye out for materials like bamboo or yew wood, as well as flowers growing across the island, as they can all help to transform your weapons or armour in different ways.

Wear the right equipment

While Jin can wear many outfits, not all of them are simply to give him a new look. Each armour offers unique stats and advantages, so it's always worth considering the right attire for any given moment. Even after you've unlocked a specific armour, you can upgrade it to strengthen its effects, or purchase new dyes to change its appearance and match your favourite style.

Quick tip: Musical moments

Try climbing as high as you can and getting a good a look at the island, then play Jin's flute. A break for a nice song may have unexpected effects.

Lesson 2: Surviving early combat

Combat in Ghost of Tsushima can be surprisingly brutal if you're not prepared. Even common enemies can defeat Jin with just a few strikes, so it's always worth being on guard. Look for visual and audio cues that signal an enemy attack and turn the tables to your advantage. 

Blocking, dodging and parrying

Blocking, dodging, and parrying are essential tools to winning fights in Ghost of Tsushima. You can hold L1 to block most attacks, but you'll need to tap it just before an enemy strike in order to perform a parry, which will allow you to hit with a brutal counterattack. You can also use Circle to dodge an attack altogether, which can also leave enemies vulnerable.

Early on, guard often to learn different enemy strike patterns and timing. Once you start to feel comfortable, try blocking first and parrying follow-up strikes until you learn the right pace.

Watch and learn

Your best tactics to fight back against the Mongol invasion are the combat stances Jin can learn to quickly counter various types of enemies. By defeating or observing Mongol leaders at occupied encampments, you'll earn points towards unlocking new stances that are particularly effective against enemies using specific attacks.

You'll start with the Stone stance, which is particularly effective against swordsmen, but take the time to learn the Water or Wind stances in order to effectively fight back against enemies with shields or spears. Mastering the various stances is key to effectively breaking an enemy's attack and coming away victorious.

Quick tip: Keep your ears perked

Enemy archers will always call out to alert their allies before firing an arrow. Make sure to listen closely so you can dodge, and maybe fire back an arrow of your own.

Lesson 3: Suggested first upgrades and tales

Early on, even the most basic fights can quickly become dangerous for Jin. Here are some ways to even the odds.

Go for the gold

Tales that are a part of Jin's Journey (marked in gold on the map) will earn you the biggest increases to your Legend meter, which can help you earn Technique Points for unlocking new abilities. Also look out for villages or points of interest with a golden aura, which may indicate that a new upgrade is available within.

Early on, consider upgrades like the Perfect Healing Parry and Deflect Arrows. The former can help offset early misses as you learn to time your blocks and attacks, while the latter helps you avoid threats from afar while taking on closer enemies.

You may also want to consider Evolving Tactics that focus on healing – particularly Iron Will, which lets you spend two points of your Resolve meter after you've been defeated so you can jump back into the fight.

A helping hand

Early in Jin's Journey, focus on Tales that involve recruiting a new ally, such as "The Tale of Lady Masako." In addition to establishing powerful connections, these Tales will earn you new weapons or armour that are sure to aid you in your quest to retake the island.

You should also keep an eye out for the Golden Temple, one of the earliest landmarks you'll discover and a safe haven for the people of Tsushima. Here, you'll find a gift altar that can help you gather supplies, and vendors who can increase the power of your weapons and armour.

The citizens of Tsushima who have taken refuge at the Golden Temple may also offer you valuable information about where you can find people who need help, or interesting new locations.

Quick tip: The aftermath of battle

After a fight, you can use the touchpad to clean your blade, stow your sword, or pay respects to a fallen foe.

Lesson 4: Jin's evolution and Tsushima's secrets

Tsushima is overflowing with resources that aid in Jin's journey. You'll find most of these as you progress, but if you're looking to make the most of early discoveries, we've got you covered.

  1. Don't be afraid to explore. There are plenty of things you can find on the way to your objective, so be sure to follow wildlife to track down a new shrine or gather materials, even if it's slightly out of the way.
  1. Bamboo Strikes found across the island help unlock permanent gains to your Resolve meter...that is, if you can master them.  Concentrate on speed and accuracy, but be careful not to get overzealous; you'll fail if you miss a button press.
  1. Jin can jump pretty far – farther than you might think, actually. As make your way to a hard-to-reach shrine, don't be afraid to test Jin's abilities. But if there's a gap you just can't cross, maybe come back once you've acquired an additional tool.
  1. Shrine climbs offer two extremely important rewards if you can make it to the top: wax wood and major charms. Wax wood is a key material necessary for bow upgrades, and major charms offer the most substantial perks that you can equip early on.
  1. Hot springs throughout the island give you a moment to reflect on various elements of your journey, and will add permanent increases to your health bar. Individually, they aren't massive gains, but they add up. 
  1. Fox dens are home to some of Tsushima's smartest wildlife, who will bring you to shrines where you'll earn rewards to help along your journey. Some of the approaches to these shrines are more arduous than others, but the minor charms they offer are worth the detour.
  1. As you work to liberate more of Tsushima, consider putting Technique Points into exploration upgrades. These will let you steer the wind towards the exact type of undiscovered points of interest you seek.

©2020 Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Ghost of Tsushima is a trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC.

©2020 Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Ghost of Tsushima is a trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC.