New Ghost of Tsushima Combat Details Cover Parrying, Special Attacks, and Stances

With just under a month to go before the release of Ghost of Tsushima, the game’s developer Sucker Punch Productions shared some new details about different elements of combat like lightning-fast attacks and the ability to perfectly parry an incoming assault. Sucker Punch co-founder Chris Zimmerman relayed the newest details in a PlayStation Blog post that had a focus on the three aspects of the katana the developers were looking to get right: Speed, sharpness, and precision. How those properties translated to the game will affect how players will deal with their enemies as they master the combat mechanics themselves.

One of the most interesting parts of the discussion dealt with how Sucker Punch balanced the speed of the attacks. Making players’ attacks quick was a priority, but when the same degree of speed was applied to the enemy attacks, it made it too difficult to react to them in time, especially if there was more than one enemy around. The solution then was to make an enemy’s initial attack more predictable with a flurry of follow-up attacks behind it so that players would at least be somewhat prepped for the assault. Combine that with multiple attacks from different enemies and you’ve got a better combat recipe than asking players to react to nearly instantaneous attacks.

“That combination — really fast player attacks, overlapping enemy attacks — created the intensity we were after, the sort of intensity we saw in 13 Assassins,” Zimmerman said. “No enemies standing around waiting to be attacked, just unrelenting aggression. That’s great, because we wanted players to be just a little bit nervous about jumping into a fight. Ideally, players leave fights a little bit exhilarated, because that’s how Jin feels. Barely in control, barely alive, but moving forward nonetheless.”

We also learned more about the variety of Jin’s special attacks even if those attacks weren’t specifically detailed. He’s got some heavy attacks that take a bit longer than his quick ones, but he can cancel those at any point in the attack to switch strategies if someone else shows up or if another move better fits the situation. Zimmerman warned that canceling attacks is an “important part of high-level play,” so expect to invest some time into that mechanic.

Parrying was another notable takeaway from the combat breakdown. By holding L1, you perform a normal block, but pressing it at the exact moment an enemy makes contact parries them and sends them behind you. An upgrade will eventually let you stun the enemy and open them up to a powerful counterattack.

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The final combat mechanic detailed dealt with Stances and how Jin can switch between them to adapt to different situations. We’ve seen some of these Stances referenced before with Water Stance and Stone Stance referenced in this post. The brief video above shows some of those stances in action.

Ghost of Tsushima is scheduled to release for the PlayStation 4 on July 17th.

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