Ghost of Tsushima

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
Ghost of Tsushima Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Gorgeous but bloody tale of revenge, redemption, sacrifice.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 27 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Honor, respect, redemption, sacrifice frequently come up, along with defining your own path when circumstances force adaptability. These are countered, however, by messages of revenge, destruction, causing fear, waging war.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jin is a reluctant hero -- he wants his people to be safe, wants his uncle to be free. Initially, he refuses to compromise his samurai code but realizes that he may need to bend some rules, adjust some methods to fight an unconventional battle against invaders. Ultimately, he's willing to sacrifice everything to save his uncle and free his people. He frequently shows remorse, also strives to help redeem his allies, even when they act negatively.

Ease of Play

Controls are easy to pick up and learn, with tutorials scattered along the way to help players learn new abilities and moves. Biggest challenge comes with timing related to parrying or blocking certain moves, which can take some practice, especially when you're attacked by multiple opponents at once.

Violence

Characters use swords, spears, bombs, bows and arrows, etc. to defeat their enemies. Splashes of blood frequently coat the ground and characters; gurgles can be heard as enemies die. Arms and heads can be cut off in battle, and, depending on how well you conduct your attacks, you can terrify your enemies. Other cutscenes involve people being set on fire or impaled, bodies being hung from trees or stacked into piles.

Sex

Jin's buttocks can be seen whenever he enters and exits natural hot springs scattered across the map to rest and reflect.

Language

"Bastard," "damn," "s--t" used occasionally in dialogue.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One scene shows Jin and another character sit and drink sake before a battle. Another character constantly talks about sake and getting drunk.

What parents need to know

Families need to know that Ghost of Tsushima is an adventure game exclusively for the PlayStation 4. Players take on the role of a samurai named Jin who's seeking to free his people and his uncle from invaders, who've launched an all-out assault on his lands. While Jin doesn't want to fight or compromise his morals in repelling the hordes, he's also realistic enough to understand that his tactics need to change to face an unconventional enemy. His attempt to be true to himself and his own code is what lets him help his allies when their emotions overwhelm them. Violence is frequent and graphic, with sword fights and other attacks launched against enemies. Arms and heads are often chopped off, blood sprays across the environment and characters, and gurgles can be heard when enemies die. People are also shown being set on fire or impaled, and bodies can be seen hanging from trees or stacked into piles. Jin's buttocks can be seen as he enters or exits the various hot springs on the island to reflect on his life. There's a scene in which Jin and another character drink sake before a battle, while another character constantly talks about sake and getting drunk. There's also occasional use of "bastard," "damn," and "s--t" in dialogue.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMichael Afton February 2, 2021

Not as bad as it seems.

First off, the game itself is very historical and has GREAT role modles, putting you in the shoes of a samurai, and the whole point of the game is to stop your... Continue reading
Adult Written byBrolo December 26, 2020

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima is one of the best PlayStation exclusive titles that I have ever played. First off, the game just looks gorgeous. It's one of the very fe... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old January 13, 2021

ok fo 12 and up

i have playd this game it is fine with parentel guidense
Kid, 12 years old May 17, 2021

Not that bad

Ghost of Tsushima is based on a historical event, this is where the Mongols try to conquer Japan. There is violence, but it is not as gory as you might seem. Bl... Continue reading

What's it about?

GHOST OF TSUSHIMA is an action-adventure game set in 1274 as the Mongol Empire decides to launch an invasion on the island of Tsushima. The fearsome warriors, under the leadership of Khotun Khan, manage to destroy an initial counterattack on the beach by 80 samurai, and launch destructive attacks across the land. Players take on the role of Jin Sakai, one of the few warriors to have met the invaders on the beach. He barely escaped with his life. Even worse, Jin's uncle, Lord Shimura, has been captured by the Khan in an attempt to make him surrender his people to the empire. After a showdown that almost kills Jin, it becomes very clear that the honorable methods of the samurai will no longer apply against this unconventional foe. As a result, Jin will conduct a campaign of guerilla warfare against the invaders. With a small but skilled group of allies, Jin travels across the island, freeing peasants, destroying enemy camps, and acquiring legendary skills and armor to help him defeat his opponents. His actions will strike fear into the hearts of his enemies as he becomes more successful, and the people will find a new hero to believe in. With your help, Jin will become the Ghost of Tsushima.

Is it any good?

This adventure game set in feudal Japan grips you from start to finish with its visuals and its story, which make you feel like a samurai facing off against overwhelming odds. As Jin Sakai in Ghost of Tsushima, players quickly discover that his honor-bound warrior code simply doesn't match up when it comes to fighting the invaders. As a result, he reluctantly adopts unconventional methods and techniques to eliminate his enemies, such as using smoke bombs to vanish from sight, or stealthily infiltrating enemy camps. Over the course of the game, he'll merge and evolve these skills into a flexible fighting form, one that befits his new persona as the Ghost. It's incredible to watch Jin terrify enemies when he calls out opponents for a dueling stand-off, and then vanish before reinforcements can arrive. (Also: Duels highlight Jin's mastery of swordplay and feel pulled directly from a samurai movie.) It's interesting to watch Jin's evolving sense of what it means to be a samurai in these troubled times -- an evolution that isn't isolated to him. His allies, who have varying degrees of morality and honor, have their codes tested as well. Without spoiling any details, there are some dark quests for revenge and redemption, which serve as a warning to Jin about the hazards of giving into emotion, and about fully embracing the persona of the Ghost, as it could potentially doom him to a darker path. It's torturous for Jin, and it tugs on the player's heart to watch his complex struggles.

Countering the darker themes is simply how beautiful and atmospheric the game looks. Camera angles and shots look like they're plucked straight from a movie or a painting (and that's even without including the customized Kurosawa black-and-white grain filter). Whether you're galloping across fields of pampas grass, standing in a dueling ring as leaves tumble around you, or wandering through forests, the environment is simply breathtaking. Plus, the world directs players in a subtle and natural way, such as foxes that lead players to shrines that strengthen their personal resolve, or birds that lead players to points of interest. The game even encourages players to compose their own haiku at vistas that inspire reflections of hope or despair. Not only does this help to make the world feel more alive, but it makes Jin and his progress seem more alive and closely tied to the land. Overall, Ghost of Tsushima is an amazing story -- loosely based on the real invasion of Tsushima -- that makes players feel like a true samurai on an epic quest. If Akira Kurosawa had the opportunity to make a video game, Ghost of Tsushima would be the story he would tell.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Ghost of Tsushima affected by the amount of blood shown from sword fights? Would the impact be lessened if there wasn't as much blood or gore shown? Would it seem as realistic or believable if the blood or gore wasn't included?

  • What are you willing to sacrifice for? Is there something that you wouldn't sacrifice, regardless of what the situation might be? How would you respond if someone questioned your actions in choosing to give up something you held dear, especially if it was for a good cause?

Game details

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