Ghost of Tsushima: Game Mechanics

Ghost of Tsushima: Game Mechanics

Game Mechanics
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Our Ghost of Tsushima Game Mechanics guide provides the most comprehensive list of gameplay mechanics that are present in the game. We have separate guides for the major topics containing the items shared below.

Starting the Game

Before starting the game, it is important to know what settings you have to choose for your gameplay. This includes:

  • Difficulty Levels
  • Voice Tracks
  • Samurai Cinema

Difficulty Levels

Ghost of Tsushima has a difficulty setting, which you can set before even starting the game. You can also change this while playing.

The game has three levels of difficulty.

  • Easy
  • Normal
  • Hard

On Hard mode, the game is fair but very challenging. The enemies are more aggressive, and the player must be precise to pull off extraordinary moves. In comparison, Easy mode is for players who want to explore the Island, enjoy the flow of the story, and still be occasionally tested by a worthy opponent.

No matter which difficulty players choose, the health of the enemies will be the same. It will never be increased. This is to maintain the deadliness of the katana.

The combat is all about the player's skill.

Japanese Voice Tracks

The player can choose Japanese voice tracks with subtitles before the first scene of the game even begins.

Kurosawa Mode

Sucker Punch is a huge fan of Samurai film, so they let you play the game as though you are playing your favorite Samurai movie. They created a windy, black-and-white film-grained out mode that you can turn on from the very start of the game.

Menu Interface

The menu of the game includes the Map, Journal, Gear, Techniques, Collections, and Options. We have separate guides for each of them.

Legend of the Ghost

Core to the overall gameplay is the concept of the Legend of the Ghost. This is visible in the top-right of the menu. It gradually accumulates as you go on your journey as Jin Sakai. Through quests and normal progression of the story, it will increase.

Quests contribute varying amounts to the gauge.

Guiding Wind

Exploration is at the heart of the open-world games designed by Sucker Punch. And with Ghost of Tsushima, they gave their best to make the game as immersive as can be. They continuously iterated on an interface where the Island can guide you in your exploration in the most thematic and immersive way possible.

The result of this design principle is what they call the Guiding Wind.

Instead of using waypoints and intrusive interfaces, Sucker Punch designed the wind in the game to guide the user towards the direction he wants to go to.

You can mark your destination, as shown below.

And now you can call a gust of wind to point you in the right direction.

Quick Menu

The game gives you three actions that you can easily initiate via a quick menu.

  • Guiding Wind
  • Calling the Horse
  • Healing

You can call the Guiding Wind easily and anytime through the quick menu, as shown below. It maintains the immersiveness as you don't have to open a big map that takes you out of the game.

Guiding Wind Destination

An icon shows up when you are about to reach your destination. You can also see the icon of the wind showing on top of your target. As you move closer to the target, the icon gauge becomes full.

And once the gauge is full, you will see the message that you have arrived at your tracked location.

Calling your Horse

Using the same interface, you can call your horse.

Where does the horse come from?

Jin's partner in his adventure is his horse. At the beginning of the game, there is an opportunity to select the horse you want to go on this journey with.

Mounting the Horse

Press R2 to mount the horse.


The third quick menu item is Healing. You are going to consume a mechanic called Resolve to do this. Continue reading below to find out what Resolve is.

Material Gathering

You can gather materials without stopping, just press R2.

Flash of Insight

When there is an event or people near you, you will observe a flash of light that tries to notify you of such an event.

You will see the icon as well, and it points you to the direction of this event.

The icon for animals is different. In this case, it's for a bear.

This flash of insight and icon happens as well while walking, not just when riding a horse.


Smokestacks indicate people in need of help. It's a sample of emergent gameplay. It's for things that you didn't know in advance and would not know unless you actually see it. It is for discovery, as compared to the Flash of Insight.

The game has other ways of informing you of interesting events:

  • Peculiar and odd-shaped trees
  • Animals trying to get your attention

Bird Guides

While traveling, an animal might suddenly appear and get your attention, like in this scene below, Jin was riding the horse, and the bird showed up. It will lead you to points of interest, such as hidden locations.

The bird will land into a point of interest.


Foxes will guide you to hidden shrines across the Island. This is the best way to discover hidden Inari Shrines.

Talking to People

While exploring, you will meet people. To talk to them, press R2.

Collecting Rare Resources

Explore abandoned buildings to collect rare resources. To gather supplies, just walk through them and press R2.

Fast Travel

Fast travel is unlocked by visiting a location. In this sample, it is for a shrine.

Grapple Hook

Jin can jump and traverse open spaces through his grappling hook. Press R2 to initiate it.

You can use the grappling hook to climb or swing across gaps.

Day/Night Cycle

The game has a day and night cycle. You might want to play as the Samurai during the day, and as the Ghost at night.

Dynamic Weather

The game also has dynamic weather conditions that you will experience throughout your adventures in Tsushima. Some of them are tied to certain regions to give more personality and flavor to them, while others are tied to story moments.

Ledge Hang

Jin can also move through ledges and cliffs.