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New Ghost of Tsushima gameplay shows samurai combat, ghostly stealth, many outfits, animal friends and more

Today's 18-minute Ghost of Tsushima reveal didn't disappoint. Developer Sucker Punch covered two styles of combat, several systems driving exploration, character customization, and plenty more. 

Sucker Punch's Jason Connell kicked off the showcase with a look at exploration. Immediately, the lack of intrusive UI elements like waypoints or health meters stands out. You can mark locations on the map, but rather than a waypoint, you can call gusts of guiding wind to point  you in the right direction. Animal friends will also appear to guide Jin to specific locations. We saw a bird bring him to a drifter, and then a fox guiding him to a shrine (thankfully, you can pet the fox). You can honor shrines to unlock charm slots used in customization, and you can fast travel to places you've visited, so exploration will play a huge part in Ghost of Tsushima - not that we need a mechanical reason to scour that gorgeous world. 

Next, developer Nate Fox introduces the two modes of combat: samurai action and ghost stealth. As a samurai, Jin fights with a katana and longbow. He can parry attacks and arrows to create openings for critical finishers, and while many enemies can be felled in one hit, others must be worn down with careful strikes. As a samurai, you can change your fighting stance to suit the enemy you're fighting. It'll be interesting to see how different stances feel and perform, and how they're upgraded. 

As a ghost, Jin uses a katana and dagger, as well as gadgets like firecrackers to lure enemies and kunai to take them out quickly and quietly. Samurai mode pushes third-person action, whereas ghost mode emphasizes stealth, challenging you to assassinate enemies without being seen. You can chain assassinations together, build up fear to scare enemies into surrendering or fleeing, and accentuate the parkour movement using a grappling hook reminiscent of the false arm in Sekiro. 

Samurai and ghost abilities can be customized through armor pieces as well as equippable charms which are (at least partly) unlocked through discovering and worshipping shrines in the open world. Fox also stressed that Jin's core abilities and techniques will evolve as you play, and you can tailor his kit to favor a samurai or ghost approach. You can also change Jin's appearance, right down to the colors of his clothes and armor, by collecting and applying dye flowers. 

The last bit of the reveal showed off some of the cinematic options that Sucker Punch baked into Ghost of Tsushima. We heard more of the game's Japanese voice track, we saw its irresponsibly detailed photo mode, and got a look at an optional, samurai film-inspired, black-and-white, film grain filter. These little details really help sell the authenticity of the game, and we can't wait to dig into all of this and more when the game launches on July 17. 

Our Ghost of Tsushima pre-order guide will help you find the best deal on the edition you want.

As a staff writer and former freelancer, Austin focuses on day-to-day news happenings which serve as the perfect cover-up for his Destiny 2 column. He majored in journalism, loves to hate headlines, and never takes his Switch out of the dock.