Since its release in July of last year, Ghost of Tsushima has given us plenty of memorable moments. Itsunmitigated success entailed countless nominations and awards with its jaw-dropping immersive atmospheres and stunning graphics. From their Kurosawa-inspired black-and-white backdrop to their innovative Guiding Wind, Sucker Punch spared no expense to make this a truly memorable experience!
Ghost of Tsushima takes the player on an unforgettable journey as the calm warrior, Jin Sakai, and his constant efforts to save Tsushima Island from Mongol conquest. As Jin, the player must not only battle Mongol forces but also the traitorous snakes in his midst.
The main storyline confronts Jin’s beliefs in adhering to the samurai code of honour, against an enemy that does not conform to such rules. But there are pivotal moments in the game that prove both spectacular and haunting. Thus, leaving me -and undoubtedly many other players- with an indelible impression. So, here are our top most memorable Ghost of Tsushima moments!
Spoiler warning as the list does cover some key events!
1) Ghost of Tsushima – The Opening Scene
Ghost of Tsushima’s opening scene alone is worthy to be labelled one of the top most memorable Ghost of Tsushima moments. It really set the standard for what to expect for the rest of the game. Ghost of Tsushima begins with a cinematic cutscene of truly epic proportions: eighty samurai against a vast army of Mongols. Here, we get our first glimpse of Jin Sakai, all geared up to fight beside his uncle, Lord Shimura. What comes next is a seamless transition into gameplay, with the player thrown headfirst into battle. It is an earth-shattering scene: Jin charges bravely into battle against a screaming Mongol horde while dodging fiery missiles!
2) Ghost of Tsushima – Ryuzo’s Betrayal
Now, this moment really felt like a slap in the face. Despite Jin risking his life to save the rugged ronin and his band of men, that did not stop Ryuzo from colluding with the enemy. But even while playing the game, the dynamic between Jin and Ryuzo was fraught with underlying tension, though mostly on Ryuzo’s part. Apparently, Ryuzo losing a competition to Jin during their youth was the source of all this. Nonetheless, a trap has been laid for Jin by his supposed long-time friend. A haunting samurai duel amidst floating lanterns ensues between the pair, rendering it as one of the top most memorable Ghost of Tsushima moments.
3) Ghost of Tsushima – Taka’s Death
Yuna’s brother Taka is a talented blacksmith, who quickly forms a sort of hero-worship of Jin after he rescues him. Taka is always willing to help Jin with his missions, despite Yuna wanting to leave the island for the mainland. Taka is a meek yet brave man, who -unlike his sister- is not really adept at combat. In a way, by sticking close to Jin, Taka is attempting to prove himself to his sister and show that he did not always need her protection. In a sad twist of fate, this was what ended up killing him.
On his way to Fort Koyasan to end Ryuzo, Taka surprises Jin by following him. Jin was unable to dissuade him to return to Yuna and allows Taka to tag along. Fort Koyasan turns out to be a trap and the two are captured. Khotun Khan appears and fails to turn Jin to his side. Khan frees Taka and hands him a sword to kill Jin with. Scared and nervous, Taka shows his courage and loyalty to Jin by attacking Khan. This ends badly for Taka, who’s easily overpowered and killed.
It is one of the saddest and unexpected scenes in the game. Jin screams in agony over his friend’s death, undoubtedly blaming himself. Taka’s brutal end serves to push Jin further away from the samurai code as he seeks revenge.
4) Ghost of Tsushima – Jin Leaves Lord Shimura
By the end of Act 2, the player -as Jin- has lived a life which goes against the samurai code. Thanks in large part to Jin’s trusty thief-turned-sidekick, Yuna, who shows him another way early in the game. Jin’s uncle is aware of his nephew’s exploits as ‘The Ghost’ and repeatedly warns him not to stray from the samurai’s path- which I find unrealistic. Unfortunately, this is unsurprising considering Shimura was imprisoned for the majority of the war. In comparison, Jin has been out and about the island; exposed to the sinister and desperate conditions of his people.
It was only a matter of time before the proverbial bomb blew during the mission to retake Shimura’s castle. When Shimura pushes for a suicide charge, Jin resorts to sneaking in and poisoning the Mongols’ alcohol supply. A humiliated Shimura decides that this was the final straw. In the end, Jin leaves and fully embraces his role as ‘The Ghost of Tsushima’. This was a turning point for Jin’s character and what makes it one of the top most memorable Ghost of Tsushima moments.
5) Ghost of Tsushima – The Final Choice
When I say, ‘final choice’, I do not mean Jin duelling his uncle, as the game intended for this to happen anyway. This scene is not only unforgettable for its stunning backdrop but the final choice the player must make at the end of the duel. In what is perhaps the most unforgettable event in the game, Jin must decide whether to kill or spare his uncle. Shimura, who is a traditionalist old samurai to the end, begs Jin to end him. Now, here’s the moral quandary players are confronted with and what Jin’s conflict throughout the game boils down to.
If you choose to kill his uncle, Jin will lose the only family member he has left. But if the player chooses to spare him, the Sakai family land will be taken from Jin and he becomes a fugitive on the run. This decision is totally up to the player. Personally, I chose to spare Shimura because Jin is no longer a samurai. The war has changed him irrevocably -for better or worse.
Whether you choose to spare or kill Shimura, the final scene of the game remains one of the top most memorable Ghost of Tsushima moments. The emotional impact alone, backed with a stellar soundtrack as it fades to white; it is one of the few games that made me cry. Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima is a true masterpiece and one I’d not soon forget.
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