For exploration, the game forgoes traditional map markers and instead utilizes a “Guiding Wind” that will point protagonist Jin Sakai in the right direction on the island. Additionally, there are other signs that point to certain points of interest, such as smokestacks in the distance indicating that an NPC may need help.
Animals such as birds and foxes may try to get Jin’s attention and lead him to hidden locations. Foxes in particular will lead Jin to hidden shrines all across Tsushima, and upon visiting a specific location, fast travel will be unlocked at that location.
In gameplay, Jin can deal with his enemies in two different styles, dubbed “Jin, the Samurai” and “Jin, the Ghost.” In the former, Jin is out in the open in broad daylight and can challenge his foes in lethal standoffs. Since multiple opponents will have their eyes on him at once, players must be precise in their movements to make sure no action is wasteful. Jin can switch between different stances, such as the Water and Stone stances, in order to maximize the amount of damage he inflicts on certain enemies. Additionally, he can parry enemies at the last moment and open them up for follow-up attacks, as well as deflect arrows shot at him with his sword.
When playing as Jin, the Ghost, the player will approach enemies under the cover of night and use dirty tricks if needed, such as throwing rocks for distraction and employing smoke bombs to escape. Jin also has access to smaller weapons, such as the kunai, for quick kills if he’s spotted. His foes will also occasionally retreat in fear and maybe trip over themselves, giving Jin an open window to eliminate them.
Jin has access to a grappling hook to climb and swing around gaps. He also can ignite enemy barrels and use their own weapons against them.
In the trailer, Jin is wearing two different sets of armor when approaching as the Samurai or the Ghost, and each offers technical advantages. Charms can also be found and will grant Jin certain abilities when equipped, such as slowly recovering health while out of combat. As Jin gets more powerful, players earn technique points to upgrade skills. For cosmetic customization, players can look out for dye flowers that allow Jin to change his armor’s color.
In Photo Mode, there are features such as color grading, depth of field, and wind direction. Sucker Punch has also confirmed dual audio, letting players experience both the English or Japanese voice track. Finally, a windy black-and-white film grain can be turned on in order to make the game feel like a classic samurai movie.
Ghost of Tsushima launches exclusively on PlayStation 4 on July 17, the same day as Paper Mario: The Origami King.