You'll probably die a lot during the first hours of Ghost of Tsushima. Here's a guide to help you know what to do and where to go, in order to be able to quickly reverse the trend.
Getting good basic equipment
- Rather than going directly on an adventure, your priority should be to complete the first step of the Yuna and Ishikawa-sensei quests in order to unlock the assassination technique and the short bow.
- You should then do the quest for Lady Masako in the North East, this will unlock what we consider to be the best armor in the game for melee combat. It will help you greatly during duels.
- You don't need to do Yuna's quests right away to free his blacksmith brother. There are already all the artisans you need at the Golden Temple to upgrade your equipment. The Sakai Katana and Masoko Samurai Clan Armor should be your priority.
- You also have to quickly get your hands on 2 major Charms by finding Shinto Shrines. You should start with the Shrine on the northeast coast which will offer you a passive life regeneration outside of combat charm, then with the arrow peak sanctuary in the South East which will unlock a charm to double the resources you find (Rations, Leather, Predator skins, Bamboos and so on). It'll allow you to improve your equipment much faster.
- Take small detours by the Hot springs, the Foxholes and the Training Bamboos.
- Clean a first camp of Mongols. It'll get you some technique points and a piece of armor that'll help you find collectibles.
Skills and postures
- There are lots of good techniques available from the start. Invest first in techniques of deflection, dodging and especially in the Stone Stance. This combat method is by far the most useful.
- Improving your Ghost tools and new stances a bit is always a good idea.
- To unlock new stances, you will need to kill or observe Mongol leaders. Observation is an optional objective when you attack an occupied area. Stay hidden and find the camp leader training. You must then keep R2 pressed for a while while observing it. Kill him afterwards, which will earn you another stance point.
- Unlocking the stances and using them is absolutely vital to have the upper hand during fights.
- You can engage small groups of enemies, but it takes good reflexes. Favor assassinations when you can. If you can't, it's better to receive a blow from the enemy rather than to attack first.
- Stealth kill as many enemies as you can. Don't forget that shooting explosive barrels, beehives and lanterns will help you reduce the number of enemies.
- As mentioned above, having the right posture for each type of weapon is by far the best way to fight. Remember to change your stance each time you change your target type.
- Many enemy attacks are unstoppable (red glow). Dodge them until you have the advanced skills to block them. A bad combo can kill you, so it's better to hit and run than absolutely parry attacks, which requires very precise timing.
- The simplest and most effective strategy in general is to focus on one enemy at a time and only attack with powerful attacks (triangle) until you break his guard. You can then chain rapid attacks (square). The loaded attacks are powerfule, but you have to take a little distance and have the right timing. They also do wonders during duels.
- Don't overlook the Ghost tools. Kunais and Sticky bombs are absolutely devastating and easy to find in quantity.
- Archers are powerful but fragile, so eliminate them first. Two or three quick blows, or an arrow in the head. You can dodge their attack when they scream, or just parry their projectile with the right technique.
- Bears are really deadly in melee, we strongly advise using a bow and fighting them from a distance. It is better to send them a few arrows, preferably in the head. You can do it on horseback.
- Dueling can be incredibly difficult at first. Adapt the right stance (Stone in general, sometimes Water), dodge a lot. Distance yourself and prepare for charged attacks. Heavy attacks can also put pressure on the enemy.
- Important: You can change equipment and charms during a duel.
- A good parry gets you behind the enemy's back. A perfect parry gives the opportunity to inflict devastating blows, or even to kill an enemy instantly. However, this requires training and anticipation. A major Charm of act 1, the Mizu-no-kami one, allows to slightly increase the parry window, use it for all duels and other fights. You can get it by completing the Shrines in the north of the region.
- Cleaning up Mongol camps is the best way to reveal portions of the map, while getting hold of collectibles, legendaries, components, improving your stance and so on. You can usually reveal the position of camps by helping people taken hostage on the roads.
- Whenever you enter a town or village, take the time to walk around and talk to the NPCs with a white bubble. This will often trigger quests, or bring up points of interest on the map.
- Follow the orioles (golden birds), they will often guide you to a point of interest, or even to a hidden collectible.
- It's impossible to free a region before having completed the corresponding act.
- Once all the occupied zones of a region are freed, the fog of war lifts and the whole region is revealed on the map, with all its points of interest.
- Take detours to pick up the flowers, you will never have too many if you want to unlock all the cosmetic elements.
- Finally, remember that the Traveler Outfit will make the controller vibrate when a collectible is nearby.
Original content by Robin "Raiden" Bouquet.