Ghost of Tsushima is an adventure that gives players the freedom to explore a striking and stylish open world. Having a variety of activities and interlocking systems is a key part to keeping the adventure feeling fresh in the long term. However, when you’re just starting out, all of those options make it tricky to know the best ways to focus your efforts. Which items are worth collecting? What are the must-have skills? Those answers can vary depending on how you want to play, but that can take time to figure out. Fortunately, we have some spoiler-free suggestions for the sure-fire quests, items, and skills you can prioritize when you’re first starting out.
The First Two Quests
Once you have access to the open world, you may be tempted to put the story on hold and just explore. However, you should really do a couple story missions first. “The Warrior’s Code” and “The Tale of Sensei Ishikawa” are the first main missions, and they provide absolutely essential rewards: focused hearing and the ability to use a bow. These really aren’t even rewards – they’re core mechanics that you should obtain immediately.
Switching between stances as your attention moves from one attacker to the next is part of what makes combat feel so fluid, so I can’t overstate how helpful it is to learn all four of them as soon as possible. Each stance you earn makes you more effective against a certain type of foe; enemies like brutes or spear-wielding soldiers can be real headaches until you learn the stance designed to counter them specifically. You learn stances by observing or killing Mongol leaders in camps and fortifications, so don’t pass by the opportunity to make progress toward your next milestone.
The First Four Technique Points
You spend technique points to learn new abilities. You don’t just have one skill tree to invest in; you can use technique points to improve stances, enable chain assassinations, and even find points of interest on the map. You can easily earn enough technique points to buy everything you want by the end of the game, but I recommend you spend your first four technique points on these skills in the Deflection tree. In terms of value, these skills are the best way to open up the entertaining intricacies of combat.
- Perfect Parry: With proper timing, you can deflect a blow and strike back with lethal precision.
- Unyielding Sword Parry: When enemy attacks flash blue, you can parry them. When they flash red, you need to dodge. This technique turns most red sword attacks into blue ones, creating more opportunities to perform perfect parries.
- Deflect Arrows: Getting peppered with arrows while you’re in the middle of melee combat stinks, especially if you need to disengage just to clear out the archers on the periphery. You don’t need to worry about that with this skill – just hold block and Jin automatically swipes arrows aside.
- Unyielding Spear Parry: Same as the sword one, but for enemies with spears.
Charm of Okuninushi
The single most useful item in the game, this charm is found at the circled shrine in the upper-right on the map above. It automatically recharges your health when you aren’t in combat. Without it, you need to spend your Resolve to heal between encounters, which adds a layer of health management that feels like a hassle. Plus, it’s more fun to save your Resolve for cool attacks.
This is another good reason to not put off the main story missions for too long. You get the grappling hook automatically as you progress through the plot of the first act. Once you have it, you can reach previously inaccessible shrines and cosmetic gear. So, don’t let your compulsion to de-fog the map and chase foxes distract you from the main tale for too long. Once you get the grappling hook, though, you can delay to your heart’s content.
For more about Ghost of Tsushima, you can read our review, check out these tips to help you get started, and get a taste of the game’s unique Kurosawa mode. Or, you know, you can just stare at some hot, hot springs.
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