Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Navigate Japan’s island of Tsushima in the famous Nagasaki Prefecture as you horse ride through realistic forests and mountains. Set in the 13th century, watch history unfold before your eyes as you take part in this picturesque, adventure-based video game of feudal Japan. For those interested in Japanese culture and history and especially those who like samurai films, here’s why you should play Ghost of Tsushima.
What is Ghost of Tsushima about? Beyond its visually pleasing set up and adventures through feudal Japan, players play the game as Jin Sakai, a samurai who reinvents himself as a dark, mysterious figure known as “The Ghost.” His biggest mission is to save the island from Mongolian control. It’s almost like a Japanese-based version of games like Assassin's Creed or Red Dead Redemption where open-world action and plot meet incredible graphics and open terrain.
Explore the island of Tsushima, Japan.
Ghost of Tsushima is like a walking tour through Tsushima in the 13th century. Its highly accurate depiction of life, landscape, and events is enough to send any history buff or traveler on a magical, virtual adventure.
You’ll navigate along the Genkai Sea, enjoy life-like sunsets, venture through fields of vivid pink flowers, and uncover numerous temples and real-life Tsushima locations.
As you play the game, you’ll come across a number of touristic locations still available today. Japanese tourism board Explore Nagaski outlines the special spots that visitors are still able to visit today within its Tsushima City x Ghost of Tsushima section.
This virtual walking tour will take you to Komoda Beach, a historical spot where Mongols made their first attack back in 1274. In the game, you can stand over Mt. Shiratake, looking down at the highly-detailed terrain, buildings, and sea that surround it.
Ghost of Tsushima has also created its own version of the Watadumi Shrine. This shrine is dedicated to deities from Japanese mythology. Two of the five torii shrine gates are built in the sea and, at high tide, the sea water surrounding the shrine is reminiscent of the palace of the Dragon God. However, during low tide, the first torii gate is accessible on foot.
There are several other spots to discover virtually while playing this impressive game. Take a visit to the Kaneda Fortress Ruins, which date back 1,350 years ago and have since largely been reclaimed by nature. Plus, see the Banshouin Temple, Kaneishi Castle Ruins, and gorgeous Mount Ariake while exploring more of feudal Japan along the way.
Players get to take part in historical events.
In the 13th century, the Mongol Empire destroyed entire nations along their vigorous mission to conquer the East. As it happens, Tsushima Island is all that stands between mainland Japan and a massive Mongol invasion fleet led by Khotun Khan, the main antagonist in Ghost of Tsushima.
As the island suffers from the first attack by the Mongols, Jin is then one of the last surviving members of his clan. He must take on the war for the freedom of Tsushima— at whatever cost.
When you first start playing, the mission is quite simple. You must capture Jin’s uncle who happens to be the leader of the Tsushima samurai. Eventually, things become more intense and historical as you must lead the resistance against the Mongol army and stop the invasion from spreading to mainland Japan.
The events that occur in Ghost of Tsushima both represent and pull from real life history beginning back to 1274 feudal Japan. Mongols did invade Tsushima Island, quickly overwhelming the awaiting samurai on Komoda Beach.
Of course, in the end it is a video game, and as with movies and TV series, it will not accurately depict historical events faultlessly, but it does a good job of sending players back in time to what life could have looked like for a samurai in the 13th century.
The major historical differences within the game is that the characters depicted in Ghost of Tsushima never existed in history, no single samurai took on the Mongolian Invasion of Japan, and the armor isn’t quite accurate. However, you will still be in for a look at history while enjoying this video game.
It’s perfect for those who love samurai films.
If action-packed samurai films interest you, you will have a great time playing Ghost of Tsushima. You will basically be placing yourself inside of a classic samurai film. Take on the Mongolian military with fantastically detailed one-on-one samurai sword fights in feudal Japan— even in a cinematic black and white.
Ghost of Tsushima offers a variety of customization options like “cinematic mode” where players can drop themselves in a Kurosawa movie with a nostalgic, film-grained, back and white filter over the game. This will give those one-one-one sword fighting scenes even more of a classic feeling.
Even without the cinematic filter, the game is almost a samurai film in itself. The graphics feel real with even the smallest of details accounted for, leaving you feeling like you are fighting and living in a samurai film yourself.
To sum it up, this game is special for travel, history, and samurai enthusiasts alike. Its high-quality graphics of feudal Japan, striking terrain and scenery, plus its samurai fighting scenes are sure to be enjoyed by anyone looking for a unique gaming experience.
The game was released for PS4 in July 2020. Learn more about the history and destination spots within the island of Tsushima by checking out the Tsushima City x Ghost of Tsushima. Purchase the game on Amazon here.