Ghost of Tsushima is one of Sony’s last big exclusive games on the PlayStation 4, and developer Sucker Punch showed off a bunch of the title’s gameplay today in a PlayStation State of Play online video. The game debuts as an exclusive on the PlayStation 4 on July 17. Ghost of Tsushima is a samurai action-adventure game coming from Seattle’s Sucker Punch Studios, the developer that made other PlayStation exclusives like the Sly Cooper and Infamous series.
The game is set in Japan in the 1270s, during the first Mongol invasion. You play as Jin Sakai, the Ghost. Sucker Punch previously made Infamous: Second Son, one of the earliest exclusives on the PS4 in 2014. And this game has some features that Sucker Punch fans will recognize.
At the demo’s outset, Sucker Punch showed how you’ll explore the island of Tsushima, which has diverse countrysides, shrines, forests, estates, and villages. To maneuver, you can look at a map and mark a destination. Then you can hop on a horse to get there, checking in along the way with the “guiding wind.” When you do that, a gust of wind blows in the direction you should go.
As you ride through the woods, you can pick up resources like a stick of bamboo, apparently by pressing down on the right stick (R3) as you pass by the indicator. You can also use R3 to speak with nonplayer characters who greet you as “Sakai-san.”
In the forests, you may also run into animals who can help. A fox may guide you to something hidden. This is the first real look we’ve had of the open world nature of the game, where you can go off on your own and choose the missions or destinations you want to pursue.
Combat is where Ghost of Tsushima shines in a way that is reminiscent of blood-spewing samurai films.
Jin is a master of the sword, and he instills fear in the ordinary enemies he faces. In combat, you press L1 and R1 at the same time to execute a timed block or killing blow. The Mongol enemies may fall in a kind of slow motion. The animations of the body parts flying, the blood spraying, and agonized death sounds feel like they come straight from a samurai film.
Jin can fight as a swordsman or archer, and fight in a kind of ninja stealth mode. In stealth, Jin can distract guards with firecrackers and get them distracted so he can close in for quick kills. If Jin is on a killing spree, some enemies may become paralyzed with fear, making them easier kills.
You can customize Jin’s clothes, giving him different kinds of armor that accent your play style. You can equip charms that give you an edge in battle, like the “charm of ferocity.” So you can fine-tune the look and affect how the gameplay evolves. You can halt the action and take photos in photo mode. You can change the wind’s direction and add particles to the images you want to take in photo mode, which is a staple in Sucker Punch games.
You can also record videos of the action in what Sucker Punch calls “Samurai Cinema.” So you can create a windy, black-and-white mode that you can turn on from the beginning of the game. It all has a very cinematic style that may make you feel like you’re participating in Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai.
It was a short 18-minute demo of the gameplay, but Sucker Punch promises more coming soon.