Sucker Punch Productions released the long-awaited open world action-adventure game Ghost of Tsushima on July 17, 2020. The game has been well received by critics and highly appreciated by online gamers. The game is centered around Hitoshi Sakai, a samurai who is trying to drive away the invading forces from the Mongol Empire from Tsushima Island in Japan. The story is inspired by the success of Mongolia’s invasion of Tsushima in 1274.
The main story spans three acts, but given the open world, the pace is adjusted to the player’s wishes. In this article, we will only focus on the main story of the game. You might look at some of the optional character stories in separate parts, but for now, I’d like to see Jin’s Journey. What worked, what didn’t, and why they worked or failed. Let’s take a look at Sakai Hitoshi’s journey without any further effort.
Jin’s journey begins at Komoda Beach. Any capable samurai who can fight gathers on a hill overlooking an invading Mongolian warship. The battle continues and the Mongols easily win. Sir Shimura, chief of the Clan Shimura and uncle of Jin, is captured by Kotun Khan. Jin was injured in the battle but survived. He is found by a local thief named Yuna who can help him regain his sword and drive out Mongolian troops in a nearby village. Eventually, Yuna reveals that she needs Jin’s help. His brother Taka was captured by a Mongolian slave. At first, Jin is reluctant and just wants to save his uncle. But as long as Yuna helps Sir Shimura rescue him, he agrees and she agrees.
At first, Jin tried to infiltrate Kaneda Castle with Yuna alone, but was beaten in a confrontation with Kotun Khan. Now, I would like to touch on the first issue of Jin’s story. It’s too predictable. As soon as the first confrontation with Khan began, I knew exactly how the story with Khan would end. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that a story is predictable, but it can be decisive if one of the biggest story beats is so obvious.
This confrontation with Kahn was gameplay-oriented, but it was also positive for me. I love how to handle one-on-one duels in this game. The tense, cinematic sensation of music involves the player and makes them feel as if each of these duels is really important. Especially when talking about Act II, we will duel.
Anyway, after this first showdown with Khan, Jin and the player will be released into the open world. In New Game +, the game takes you to a new merchant, Baku The Voiceless, which we’ll talk more about at the end of this article. Jin has now set out to free Kaneda Castle and recruit his own army to rescue Sir Shimura. Jin hires Dr. Ishikawa, a shooter who served former Nagao, and seeks Jin’s help to track down fraudulent students. Masako Adachi, her own skilled shooter, seeks Jin’s help to track down the person responsible for murdering Adachi’s woman and child on the night of the battle at Komoda Beach. Jin’s longtime friend Ryuzo and his Straw Hat Ronin. Taka, the brother of Yuna’s blacksmith. Kenji, a liquor dealer who helps hawks rescue.
Yuna revealed to Jin before Taka’s rescue that he had plans to take Taka to mainland Japan if Sir Shimura was rescued. This shows the difference between the two protagonists since the start of the game. Jin is very loyal to his samurai code and loves Tsushima dogmatically because he considers Tsushima to be his our home. However, Yuna offers one of the best lines in Act 1. Houses are everywhere Taka and I go.
At this moment she is Jin’s foil. As Sir Shimura says, she has no worries about striking from the shadows. And since she didn’t live a life like Jin, she doesn’t feel this unwavering love for Tsushima. She is not a samurai. She has nothing to do with Jito. She had to fight for what she and Taka needed, and the constant movement lost loyalty to the island to Yuna, putting her loyalty entirely to herself and Taka.
The legend of ghosts is first told by Yuna after the liberation of Komatsu Forage. Jin rejects it at first. He believes that people should believe in samurai. If Sir Shimura is free, you don’t have to believe in folk tales. This also helps to show the cracks in his already fragile relationship with Ryuzo.
When Ryuzo was first introduced, he and Jin discuss a duel at Sir Nagao’s tournament two years ago in the summer. Ryuzo served him as a lord and expected his victory to become a samurai. However, Jin treated the duel as if Ryuzo was his deadly enemy, and Ryuzo had no choice but to treat the straw hat. Ryuzo feels like Jin is out for himself, and the story of ghosts only enhances Ryuzo’s impression.
Nevertheless, Ryuzo seeks Jin’s help after his best men have been captured by the Mongols. After releasing these men, Ryuzo agrees to help Jin rescue his uncle. Jin and his small army attack Kaneda Castle. However, Ryuzo turns on Jin and reveals that he and his men intend to hunt Jin for the prize money given to him by Kahn. A duel between Ryuzo and Jin that Jin wins. However, he spares Ryuzo and finally asks for help again. Ryuzo refuses and warns Mongolian guards of the existence of Jin.
Jin eventually defeats Mongolia and rescues Sir Shimura. Together with Yuna, Ishikawa-sensei, and Mrs. Masako Adachi, the two will clean up the remaining Mongolians and recapture Kaneda Castle. Sir Shimura and Jin release Fort Ito. After the battle, Yuna demands a safe passage to the mainland, and Sir Shimura agrees as long as Yuna helps Jin raise troops from Yarikawa. She agrees, and this is the end of Act 1.
So far, Jin’s story is really fun. Previously, if I am a predictable story is too, it says you can be a problem. However, this is not always a problem. The best way to avoid predictability issues is to make your trip attractive. If you could make the player want to go on a journey, you did a great job, even if you knew how it would end. And Sucker Punch did a great job at Act I.
However, there is a small problem. We’ll cover it here, but we’ll talk more about it later. You may feel that the gameplay doesn’t really support the story. I’ll cover this because it affects the story more than gameplay. In the case of Act 1, this problem arises when Jin’s companion comments on the brutality of his battle, but Act 1 does not really show much anger or brutality. He pushes it back.
And Act I’s gameplay loop doesn’t feel like it gets crueler over time. If you play in New Game +, you can claim that, given that Jin’s Ghost Stance is unlocked from the beginning, but you can’t play in New Game + without completing the game once. And to me, the brutality that Jin’s allies see isn’t really embodied in gameplay.