Jin Sakai faces a moral quandary in Ghost of Tsushima, as he walks a fine line between the honor code of a samurai and the cold realism of guerrilla warfare. Tsushima seeks to have players deal with the truth and implications of their actions through cinematic storytelling, as opposed to the quiet, cryptic narrative told by FromSoftware in Sekiro or the frantic action of Ninja Gaiden.
Tsushima is divided into three acts, each of which ends with a big set-piece fight that hints at the plot of the following actions. This is appropriate for a game that pays tribute to Akira Kurosawa, the Japanese director. Despite the lack of cowboys and six-shooters, Kurosawa’s Tsushima follows the three-act format of conventional westerns. Jin’s development as “the Ghost,” a near-mythological embodiment of Tsushima’s resistance, lies at the heart of all of the story’s major turning moments.
GHOST OF TSUSHIMA ENDING
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Jin and his companions are transformed into versions of themselves they could never have imagined as a result of the Mongol invasion and following conflict, while the final outcome is up to the players to decide. While the game is ultimately a romanticized ninja and samurai dream, it delivers a very sophisticated story with a surprising amount of subtlety for adult gamers to enjoy.
The Adventure of Jin
Jin’s journey from noble samurai to the famed assassin and a guerrilla warrior is the central theme of the story. Jin is Tsushima’s Kamakura-era Batman in a lot of respects. Jin is called a revenant, a giant, and a demon, among other things, as his fame increases with each act of the game. He sparks a movement that thwarts the Mongol invasion while also accidentally disrupting Tsushima’s conventional power system, which is led by Jin’s uncle, Lord Shimura.
The times when the player is forced to consider Jin’s actions from a holistic perspective are the game’s finest narrative accomplishments. In the end, the game favors pragmatic, existential survival above samurai bushido, although there are occasions when Jin’s techniques have unintended effects, such as when Taka is motivated to save Jin from probable death, only to get himself into trouble.
The personal anecdotes of Jin’s companions help to demonstrate Jin’s development. Jin’s allies utilize his decisions as excuses for the actions they perform, while others will follow his development with interest, providing both advice and caution. “These stories represent some part of Jin’s personal journey,” according to Mitchell Saltzman of IGN, with Jin’s actions impacting his comrades and vice versa.
Cedar Temple’s New Observant
Norio’s story missions have some of the most heartbreaking sequences and developments in a game full of them. His stories are among the greatest at explaining the impacts of PTSD, survivor guilt, and other combat tragedies, offering context and explanation for Jin’s harsh techniques. Norio’s narrative comes to a head when he is reunited with his brother, Enjo, whom he thought was dead, however, the reunion is far more brutal than he could have anticipated.
The majority of Jin’s allies fulfill their objectives, or at the very least bring their stories to a satisfying conclusion. Norio, on the other hand, gives in to his wrath and goes on a horrific rampage through a Mongol-controlled base, seeking retribution on the Mongol commander who tortured his brother. Norio is one of the most pleasant and open characters in Ghost of Tsushima, so this shift is striking.
While Jin reassures Norio that he has earned the position of Cedar Temple’s new guardian, one gets the impression that he will always be haunted by his brother’s defeat and torment.
Students and their teacher
Ishikawa Sensei’s pursuit of Tomoe, his devious student, is part personal vendetta and half an atonement mission. Ishikawa taught Tomoe deadly archery techniques, which he then passed on to the Mongols. Tomoe maintains she was only trying to survive.
Ishikawa enlists Jin’s assistance in completing his mission, in exchange for which he teaches him new archery methods. However, as the two battle together, Ishikawa gets afraid that his training would hasten JIn’s development into a guerrilla warrior and assassin, potentially more hideous than Tomoe.
Tomoe’s connection with Ishikawa is similar to Jin’s with his uncle, in that Ishikawa intended to make Tomoe his heir, but to a lesser extent. Jin, unlike Tomoe, never overtly betrays his people, but he does regularly violate his code of honor.
Tomoe stays devious and cunning until the end of Ishikawa’s narrative, but her resolve to repent (and take advantage of an opportunity to flee) eventually convinces Ishikawa to abandon his vengeance as well. Tomoe’s escape is depicted as one of the game’s more positive themes, despite the fact that she escapes penalties for her misdeeds.
A Widow’s Retaliation
Lady Masako’s journey begins with her seemingly losing everything, only to suffer considerably more as her desire for vengeance intensifies. Masako appears to be more accepting of Jin’s unconventional ways than Ishikawa and Shimura. In fact, their relationship is the polar opposite of most of Jin’s, with him advising Masako to exercise caution when pursuing vengeance.
Masako is the sole character who is so dedicated to her aim that she comes to blows with Jin, intending to murder him in order to exact her vengeance. This presents Jin with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show kindness in a game where it is uncommon.
Masako’s story follows a common retribution plot: no matter how much a person has lost in life, they risk losing much more in the quest for vengeance. However, the severity of Masako’s losses and the intensity with which she exacted vengeance act as checkpoints for Jin’s own wrath. Despite the fact that he has no sympathy for the Mongols, her example reminds him to be firm when it comes to safeguarding prospective innocents in the lack of evidence.
Because of Tsushima’s historical context, a sequel with the same characters is doubtful, yet a spiritual successor set in a different time period or region of Japan is not impossible to envision. Sucker Punch, after all, has just advertised employment positions for a new project that sounds suspiciously similar to a Ghost of Tsushima sequel.
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A direct sequel may be interesting, especially if it introduced Jin to foes other than Mongols, such as the samurai tasked with tracking down the Ghost and the outlaws terrorizing Tsushima after the battle. Is Jin prepared to slaughter his own people if it means defending Tsushima if he has truly turned his back on forgiveness and honor?
In the end, though, no sequel appears to be absolutely essential, which is refreshing in an age where every new game is supposed to be the start of a massive series. Tsushima is a well-crafted, self-contained novel about the horrors of war and the high price of honor that stands on its own.