In case you’re thinking of picking Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima up once it’s out tomorrow (or later depending on where you are in the world), we’ve crafted a Ghost of Tsushima tips guide to help you before you start the game. We don’t deem these as spoilers, and most are gameplay-related tips to make your time with the game more enjoyable.

Before you dive in, make sure to read our Ghost of Tsushima review to see why we thought so highly of it.

10 Ghost of Tsushima Tips:

Follow the bird!

If you see a yellow bird chirping, go follow it! It might lead you to a Hot Spring to increase your health, a Haiku spot for a headband, an enemy camp or something else. Important thing here is, it’s always something that you haven’t discovered yet, as when you do, the bird won’t bug you to check something out.

Liberating Outposts reveals a good chunk of the map

If you come across a Mongol camp, it’s best to take care of it (read: kill all enemies) and liberate it, as doing so will reveal a big chunk of the map from the fog covering it. This beats having to traverse the area yourself, and this will also reveal points of interests (marked by ?) near it.

Don’t put skill points on Guiding Winds for Bamboo Strikes, Hot Springs, etc.

It might be tempting to put a skill point to show you where the Bamboo Strikes are ASAP (for added Resolve), or for Hot Springs (for health), and the other Guiding Winds trackable items on the map, but don’t. Not only won’t you be able to access most of the locations early on, but you’ll come across these just by taking out camps, rescuing hostages, doing side quests and doing the main campaign.

Near the end of the game, once you don’t have anything you want to unlock, then yeah, sure. But at that point. you won’t really even need to.

Your horse can magically transport itself…and can be used as a “jumping point”

In Ghost of Tsushima, you’ll be on the back of your horse for the majority of the game. Thankfully, Sucker Punch has made it so that one call is all it takes for your horse to magically appear by your side — regardless of where you are (as long as it can be called). Use this to your advantage when traversing areas. Say you see a body of water that your horse can’t cross, and the bridge to cross it is quite far away, then just jump off, swim to the land area you’re going to, and then once you’re on solid ground, just call your horse. Voila! Easier than going to the bridge.

But that’s not the only way your horse can be useful.

Say you want to get down a cliff or something, and you don’t want to take damage. Jump off using your horse and once your horse lands, you’ll be thrown off and your horse will topple over. You won’t take damage, and given your horse can’t die by falling, you’ll shave off a few seconds of travel time. It’s not the most humane and samurai thing to do, but it’ll make going off cliffs and whatnot easier. Note that you can’t do this if the cliff is super high.

Use arrows on bears

In Ghost of Tsushima, you’ll need to hunt pigs and bears as you roam the open world for their Predator Hides, which are used to craft upgrades. Instead of trying to fight bears with your samurai (which can get dicey), or spending your throwables, I suggest just shooting it with normal arrows or a heavy arrow. One good arrow to the head should do the trick and save you from damage.

Also of note: if you see a bear locked in a cage in a camp, just shoot it with an arrow and don’t open the cage for an easy kill.

Max parry skills first

There are quite a handful of parries and dodge abilities in Jin’s skill tree that you should prioritize above all others first. Not to mention you’ll want to use your skill points on the skills that allow you to parry “red” attacks. It’ll make combat much easier and less stressful.

Best armor in the entire game is available quite early on, so get it ASAP!

The best armor in the game, bar none, is the Sakai Clan armor. You’ll have access to this the moment Act 2 starts, and I suggest going for it ASAP and maxing it out.

The Sakai Clan armor will give a Major increase to melee damage, and a Massive increase to health. Both these properties are super useful until end-game, and are functional in any situation.

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Wear Traverlers Attire and quick change is your friend

At the very start of the game, you’ll be able to obtain the Traverl’s Attire, with its special property being that the controller will vibrate when you’re near an Artifact (collectible). You’ll also be able to use the Guiding Winds to track Artifacts with it as well.

Thankfully, you can switch armors just by accessing the gear menu wherever you’re not in a cutscene. So this means that once you clear an area, you can switch to this armor and run around to see if it will vibrate for an Artifact. Once that’s done, then switch back to your regular combat armor. Dead useful, right?

You don’t even need to upgrade it, unless you want to feel the controller rumble sooner (upgrading it has adds distance to Artifact detection).

Use Heavy Arrows on armored brutes, arrows on brutes for easy kills

During the course of your journey, you’ll come across Brutes, which are enemy types that are not only big, but quite hard to kill since they have lots of HP, and usually can guard against normal attacks. While you can switch stances and kill them by breaking their defense, an easier method is just to shoot them in the head with an arrow. The added benefit of slowing down time with focus makes this even easier.

Once you get to armored enemies, you can just opt for a Heavy Arrow to do the trick. Thank us for this tactic later.

Spam running jump kick or running jump slash in duels for easy hits

You’ll be fighting a lot of duels (one on one) fights in Ghost of Tsushima, and while some of them are a bit challenging, there is an easy way to get hits in. Just run around the duel area, and then jump in while kicking (triangle) or slashing (square). Even if the enemy is doing an unblockable attack (red warning), you’ll be able to sneak a hit or two in. This is an easy way to get hits in if you’re having a hard time beating a certain enemy in a duel.

Well, there you have it! Do you have any more Ghost of Tsushima tips? Share ’em in the comments below. Stay tuned to SP1st, as we’ll be posting a ton more Ghost of Tsushima guides within the day and week.

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Alex Co

Father, gamer, games media vet, writer of words, killer of noobs.