Ghost of Tsushima Tips Guide – 13 Things the Game Doesn’t Tell You

Slice and dice your way to a better sort of samurai with our tips and tricks!

Today we bring you some Ghost of Tsushima tips to make this tough AAA game just a little bit more manageable. The open-world affair likes to cut new players open quickly, especially as you start the game, so it’s important to have every weapon in your arsenal ready to go. Whether that’s deadly kunai, better positioning, or simply the right upgrade: you need to be prepared for the opening hours. Just need some help surviving until you become a true ghost? Well, our Ghost of Tsushima tips have got your back, too!

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Red Means Go – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

Most normal enemies in Ghost of Tsushima don’t have health bars. That is until you damage them! A red pip of health will appear on foes that you’ve brought into kill range. This isn’t quite as much an instant kill opportunity as the Deathblow mechanic from fellow samurai simulator, Sekiro. But it’s damn close. A red bar of health on an enemy means just one more solid hit will kill them. And while you perform the kill animation, enemies will leave you alone. So it’s a good idea to go for the strike when you see the opportunity.

Run Up on Archers – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

Ghost of Tsushima is hard enough when you can actually face your foe. It’s harder when snipers lob arrows at you from a distance. They’re deadly accurate, too, and won’t give you much time to snipe back. It’s much, much more effective to get in close and kill them at melee range — where archers are basically defenseless. They have little health and no close-range options. That means you can sprint through groups of enemies to clean out archers first and make battles much more manageable.

Second Time’s the Charm – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

A good rule of thumb, especially early on, is to tap enemies twice when you get the chance. Most attackers will block your third strike! If you’re using light hits (i.e. the Square button) that’s a waste of time and positioning. So get what damage you can and prepare for a counter.

This doesn’t apply to every situation, though. If you reduce an enemy to red health, your third strike will usually count as a killing blow, and go through smoothly. Brutes on the other hand can eat a normal attack and keep on swinging. They’ll finish their full combo, only giving you time for one attack of your own between swings. It takes some practice, but you’ll eventually recognize the patterns.

Don’t Use Kurosawa Mode – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

There’s been some debate about whether Kurosawa Mode — the audiovisual filter that makes Ghost of Tsushima black and white with film grain and lower-quality audio — is good. But it’s pretty undeniable that the game isn’t tuned for it. There are too many color coded elements that you just won’t experience with the filter. Skip it for now, and maybe try it on a second playthrough.

Ghost of Tsushima Guide

Check Back in Towns – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

Ghost of Tsushima doesn’t have vantage points like Assassin’s Creed games. Most of what you find on the map, you need to discover on your own. Though you can get a lot of help from NPCs! Villagers with speech bubbles above their heads will direct you to side quests and points of interest. You can sometimes save these folks from invaders out in the open world, but they also frequently appear in towns and camps. That’s even if you’ve already checked there. If you leave a village and come back, after enough time has passed, more NPCs will appear to direct you.

Towns also include gift shrines. These produce supplies you can use to purchase upgrades. The game will tell you when new gifts are available, however, and mark the icons gold on your map. Whereas new townspeople with things to say are unmarked.

Fast Travel Frequently – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

Ghost of Tsushima has stunning load times. Take advantage of them! Most camps and other points of interest become fast travel points as soon as you free them. Fast travel is also a great way to get down from high ledges, temples, and other structures — since the game doesn’t have leaps of faith or parachutes to take you down faster.

The Kunai is Killer – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

Very early in the main story, you can unlock the kunai. These throwing weapons absolutely kill. I mean that literally. The descriptor makes it sound like they distract enemies or break their block. They do that, too, which is worth the price of admission on its own. But they also deal massive damage to any target you hit with a tap of the button. Never forget you have kunai during group battles. They absolutely kick ass, but are easily forgotten in the flow of battle.

Make Sure to Observe – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

You’ve probably learned you can “kill or observe” enemy leaders to progress toward your next combat stance. That’s not entirely true. You can kill and observe. You’ll get credit for both on a single boss — giving you double progress toward your next stance per camp. Since stances are massively important in combat, this is a great thing to achieve as quickly as possible.

To observe an opponent, you just need to sneak into their base. Then get close to them without raising the alarm. The heavily armored foes will be practicing on training dummies. If you get close enough to watch, you can press R2 in order to sneak a second pip of progress into your repertoire. Kill them afterwards for an extra shot.

Ghost of Tsushima Tricks

Block Early, Not Late – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

The parry window in Ghost of Tsushima is… weird. Jin raises his weapon more slowly than I would like. As such, I’ve found it’s much better to parry to early than too late. You might not get the actual parry without practice, but blocking is still better than nothing. As long as the enemy isn’t using an unblockable you’re way better off.

Get the Arrow Parry – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

Most of the in-game upgrades are pretty solid. But the arrow parry tips things in your favor more than the rest. Despite the name, this actually lets you block incoming ranged attacks. Since health is at a premium early on, and you’ll be blocking a lot anyway, this makes a huge difference when you’re surrounded by archers. Plus you can use it to help close the distance on those suckers and end them once and for all.

There Are So Many Upgrades – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

Speaking of upgrades: there are more than you might think. The game directs your attention to just one page of options. However, if you look to the left-hand side of the screen, there are entire extra tabs of upgrade options for you to peruse. Ghost weapons (e.g. kunai, smoke bombs, etc.) get even better. Stances can extend your combos. There’s plenty more to spend your Technique points on than you might think. And you should think carefully about which ones you use.

End Suffering to Build Resolve – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

It’s a little gruesome, but keep an eye out for gurgling goners on the ground. Sometimes enemies that you “kill” will actually remain alive, crawling underfoot, waiting for you to land the final blow the Square. You know it when you see the prompt “End Suffering.” While this feels like more of a stylistic choice than anything, the mercy killings actually come with a mechanical benefit. You get a full pip of Resolve for doing it. These are the golden circles of healing and special move juice you deploy throughout a fight. Save the suffering (or its end) for when you need an extra shot of the stuff!

Just Back Up – Ghost of Tsushima Tips & Tricks

Listen… Jin is a totally fine protagonist for Ghost of Tsushima. But he’s more of a one-on-one fighter. The island hero doesn’t have a lot of ways to deal with large groups of enemies attacking at once. That means it’s often best to just back up in battle — drawing enemies toward you one at a time. This makes melee combat more manageable without relying on consumable tricks, like smoke bombs and kunai.