Ghost of Tsushima has a ‘perfect parry’ and attack canceling

Sucker Punch opens up about the katana combat

It feels odd to be more excited about the exploring-nature side of Ghost of Tsushima than anything to do with sneaking around or slicing dudes, but that’s where I’m at after May’s State of Play presentation. Will the combat be challenging, deep, and engaging enough to sustain the whole island adventure?

It’s one of those questions that can’t be answered pre-release, but here’s a bit more to go on.

Today, in a PlayStation Blog post, Sucker Punch shared more details about the game’s combat design and intent – including a stance-switching gameplay clip that looks better than prior footage.

There are several choice quotes from Sucker Punch co-founder Chris Zimmerman, too.

  • “Jin does have slower, more powerful attacks, but they can be instantly canceled at any point, leaving Jin free to respond to unexpected events, like the shout of a Mongol charging in to attack. Starting a high-level attack only to cancel it when circumstances change is an important part of high-level play.”
  • “If an enemy launches into an attack string, we need to give the player enough time to react to the first attack in the string, but since subsequent attacks can be anticipated, they can happen arbitrarily fast.”
  • “While one enemy attacks, another enemy can be winding up.”
  • “Waiting to press L1 until the attack is about to hit changes the block into a parry. The attacker isn’t just stymied, he’s spun past you, vulnerable to a counter-attack. And Jin earns a little bit of Resolve, Ghost’s measure of the samurai spirit that lets him push through the pain and injury he sustains.”
  • “With the right upgrade, a third level of success opens up – press L1 just as the attack is landing, and the parry becomes a perfect parry, stunning the attacker and leaving him open to special, devastating counter-attack, and earning Jin a big dose of Resolve.”
  • Each Stance is designed to be particularly effective against a subset of the dozens of enemy types Jin faces.” For instance, Stone Stance is suited toward facing swordsmen, while Water Stance can be used to create openings against shield-bearers.
  • Also, Hideo Kojima visited the studio and played Ghost of Tsushima when the combat system was in a much-earlier, much-less-tuned state where “just hammering on the quick attack button defeated most enemies.” That sounds intimidating.

Zimmerman summed up their approach to katana combat by saying that “if you stay focused, you’ll survive the fight. If you lose focus, you’ll die.” On that note, there’s an Easy, Normal, and Hard mode.

“We hope you’ll choose a difficulty level that really challenges you as a player.”

Jordan Devore
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random.