Is the Ghost of Tsushima a historically accurate game?

Landon Artero and Javier Valencia

Ghost of Tsushima is a very popular game on PlayStation 4 (PS4). It has won multiple gaming awards and has already become a Playstation hit in one month. You play as a samurai that is trying to regain freedom from the invading Mongols. The creators of the game, Sucker Punch Studios, put plenty of time and effort into making this game as historically accurate as possible.

The game takes place on the island of Tsushima during the thirteenth century when the Mongols started their invasion of Tsushima. It encourages exploration as one of its main points for gameplay. One of the major things to do during exploration is visiting fox shrines that are spread around the island of Tsushima because they give you combat advantages. Although these shrines didn’t give soldiers combat advantages in real life, they were certainly a real thing which the inhabitants of Tsushima would go to and pray for good harvests because foxes are the messengers of the kami Inari, the god of harvest and agriculture.

Another activity you can do in Ghost of Tsushima is visit kami shrines. You complete challenging tasks to reach the shrine, and they reward you with special charmsharms that enhance your fighting abilities. Though you don’t have to do challenges of fate in real life to reach these shrines, they do exist all around the island of Tsushima. People often visit them for various reasons, from praying to just visiting a good tourist destination. 

One major part of the game that helps give you a realistic experience is that you will come upon various artifacts that are the collectibles of the game. Even though these things are mostly for longer game time, they are historically accurate artifacts which include both the objects of inhabitants of Tsushima and also the Mongol items too.

With this game being very historically accurate to its real-life counterpart, it actually has many elements that are not historically accurate. For example, the game has the main weapon be a katana, which was not invented until the fourteenth century. Additionally, the story isn’t completely true. Though there were samurai that did fight for the island of Tsushima, every character you meet in the game is completely fictional. Samurai in the thirteenth century were known more for their bow work on horseback than sword fighting. Likewise, the Mongols also preferred bows as a fighting technique more than swords. These samurai wouldn’t wear much armor either, as the samurai would mostly wear pieces of leather and wood padding spread out around the body and have a giant helmet. The armor shown in the game is more sixteenth century, which is the typical armor people think of when they hear “samurai.”

Sucker Punch Studios had put tons of time and effort into the development of Ghost Of Tsushima and it does show. They may have not gotten everything historically accurate, though, with them taking creative liberties, but it doesn’t change the fact that they definitely tried to make a fun and historical samurai game that everyone can enjoy playing. Ghost Of Tsushima might not be historically accurate, but it is definitely worth playing if you do enjoy Japanese history.