Tips & Tricks

Master the Way of the Samurai: Comprehensive Guide to Leveling Up in Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima

Unlock Your True Potential: Expert Strategies for Skills, Combat, and Exploration in Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world action-adventure game set in feudal Japan, where you play as Jin Sakai, a samurai fighting to protect his homeland from invading Mongol forces. To stand a chance against the overwhelming enemy, Jin must embrace new tactics, learn new skills, and evolve as a warrior. This in-depth guide will help you level up, unlock new abilities, and become a formidable force in the world of Ghost of Tsushima.

Earning Experience Points and Technique Points

To level up in Ghost of Tsushima, you must earn experience points (XP) by completing various activities such as missions, side quests, and exploration. As you accumulate XP, you’ll fill up the “Legend” meter, which, once full, increases Jin’s Legend rank and rewards you with Technique Points. These points can be spent to unlock new abilities, combat moves, and passive bonuses.

To maximize XP gain, make sure to participate in the following activities:

  • Complete main story missions: These missions not only provide substantial XP but also advance the narrative and unlock new areas.
  • Engage in side quests: Known as “Tales,” these optional missions often provide unique rewards and further develop the game’s characters.
  • Liberate Mongol-occupied territories: Freeing these areas from enemy control grants XP and unlocks fast travel points.
  • Explore the open world: Discovering landmarks, hot springs, shrines, and other points of interest also grants XP and various benefits.

Understanding and Unlocking Abilities

In Ghost of Tsushima, there are three primary skill trees: Samurai, Stances, and Ghost. Each tree focuses on different aspects of Jin’s abilities and fighting styles, allowing you to tailor your character’s development to your preferred playstyle.

1. Samurai Skill Tree

The Samurai skill tree focuses on Jin’s core combat abilities, particularly those related to his swordsmanship and survivability. Key abilities include:

  • Deflection: Allows Jin to parry enemy attacks, creating an opening for a counterattack.
  • Evasion: Enhances Jin’s dodging abilities, enabling him to avoid enemy attacks more effectively.
  • Perfect Healing Parry: Heals Jin upon executing a perfect parry, improving survivability during combat.
  • Standoff Streak: Increases the number of enemies Jin can defeat in a single Standoff.

2. Stances Skill Tree

The Stances skill tree revolves around different combat stances, each tailored to counter specific enemy types. The four stances are:

  • Stone Stance: Effective against sword-wielding enemies.
  • Water Stance: Ideal for countering shield-bearing foes.
  • Wind Stance: Optimized for dealing with enemies wielding spears.
  • Moon Stance: Perfect for combating the heavily armored brutes.

Each stance has its unique set of moves and combos that can be unlocked and upgraded using Technique Points.

3. Ghost Skill Tree

The Ghost skill tree focuses on Jin’s stealth, subterfuge, and assassination abilities. Key abilities include:

  • Focused Hearing: Allows Jin to detect nearby enemy movements, making it easier to plan stealthy approaches.
  • Chain Assassination: Enables Jin to take down multiple enemies in quick succession during a stealth attack.
  • Smoke Bomb: Provides a means of escape or distraction during combat or stealth situations.
  • Ghost Stance: A powerful, temporary combat mode that can be activated after achieving a certain number of kills without taking damage.

Utilizing Charms and Gear Upgrades

In addition to unlocking abilities, Jin can further enhance his combat prowess by equipping Charms and upgrading his gear. These additional improvements can significantly impact your gameplay experience and help you tailor Jin’s abilities to your preferred playstyle.

4. Charms

Charms are unique items that provide passive bonuses when equipped. They can be found throughout the world, obtained from completing missions, or awarded for specific accomplishments. Some Charms may increase your damage output, improve your healing capabilities, or offer unique effects that can change the way you approach combat. Be sure to experiment with different Charms to find the ideal combination that suits your playstyle.

5. Gear Upgrades

Jin’s gear, including his armor, sword, and ranged weapons, can be upgraded using resources found in the world. Upgrading your gear can have a significant impact on your combat effectiveness, survivability, and overall performance.

  • Armor: Upgrading your armor not only enhances its appearance but also improves its passive bonuses, such as increased health, reduced damage taken, or improved stealth capabilities.
  • Sword: Upgrading Jin’s katana and tanto increases their damage output, making it easier to dispatch enemies quickly and efficiently.
  • Ranged Weapons: Improving your ranged weapons, such as the bow and the blowgun, enhances their damage, reload speed, and other attributes, making them more effective during combat.

To upgrade your gear, visit a blacksmith, armorer, or bowyer located in various towns and settlements throughout the game world. Collect resources such as iron, steel, leather, and silk by exploring the environment, looting enemy camps, or completing missions.

Mastering Combat and Stealth

To become a formidable force in Ghost of Tsushima, it’s essential to master both the combat and stealth aspects of the game. Switching between Jin’s samurai and ghost personas allows you to adapt to different situations and overcome various challenges.

  • Combat: Learn to read enemy movements, predict their attacks, and exploit their weaknesses. Make use of the appropriate combat stance depending on the enemy type you’re facing. Utilize the full range of Jin’s abilities, including parries, dodges, and special moves, to dominate the battlefield.
  • Stealth: Use stealth to thin out enemy numbers or bypass encounters altogether. Take advantage of distractions, such as wind chimes or firecrackers, to lure enemies away from their positions. Utilize Jin’s assassination skills to eliminate foes silently and avoid raising the alarm.

Exploring Tsushima Island and Uncovering Its Secrets

Ghost of Tsushima’s open-world environment is filled with breathtaking landscapes, hidden secrets, and engaging activities that not only immerse you in the game but also help you level up and improve Jin’s abilities.

1. Points of Interest

As you explore Tsushima Island, you will come across various points of interest that offer unique benefits and contribute to your overall progression.

  • Bamboo Strikes: These challenges test your reflexes and precision by requiring you to cut through multiple bamboo stalks in quick succession. Completing Bamboo Strikes increases Jin’s Resolve, allowing him to use special moves more frequently.
  • Inari Shrines: Discovering and honoring Inari Shrines rewards you with Charm slots, enabling you to equip more Charms and enhance Jin’s abilities further.
  • Hot Springs: Resting in hot springs not only provides a moment of relaxation but also permanently increases Jin’s maximum health.
  • Haiku Spots: Composing haikus at these serene locations awards you with unique headbands for Jin to wear, allowing you to personalize his appearance.

2. Mythic Tales

Mythic Tales are special side quests that delve into the legends and folklore of Tsushima Island. These quests not only provide engaging stories and memorable encounters but also reward you with powerful equipment, abilities, and cosmetic items.

Fox Dens and Shinto Shrines

Fox Dens and Shinto Shrines are scattered across the island, and finding them can lead to significant rewards. Follow foxes to hidden Inari Shrines, which grant you new Charms or Charm upgrades. Scaling and traversing the challenging paths to Shinto Shrines rewards you with powerful, unique Charms that can greatly impact your gameplay.

Balancing Exploration, Combat, and Stealth

To fully enjoy Ghost of Tsushima and level up effectively, it’s essential to strike a balance between exploration, combat, and stealth.

  • Exploration: Take the time to explore Tsushima Island and uncover its many secrets. This not only grants you XP but also provides valuable resources, equipment, and opportunities to improve Jin’s abilities.
  • Combat: Engage in combat to hone your skills and master the various combat stances, techniques, and abilities. Defeating enemies and liberating Mongol-occupied territories contributes to your XP gain and helps you level up.
  • Stealth: Embrace the way of the Ghost and use stealth to your advantage. Eliminate enemies silently, avoid unnecessary confrontations, and complete objectives without raising the alarm to earn XP and unlock new stealth abilities.

Adapting to Various Combat Situations

Ghost of Tsushima presents a wide range of combat situations that require you to adapt your tactics and strategies accordingly. Understanding the nuances of each scenario and employing the appropriate techniques will aid you in overcoming challenges and leveling up efficiently.

1. Duels

Duels are intense one-on-one battles against skilled opponents, often culminating a Tale or a Mythic Tale. These encounters test your mastery of Jin’s swordsmanship and require you to read your opponent’s moves, exploit their weaknesses, and strike at the right moment. Focus on timing your parries and dodges to create openings for counterattacks and make use of special moves to deal significant damage.

2. Ambushes

As you explore Tsushima Island, you may encounter enemy ambushes where Mongol forces or bandits attempt to surprise and overwhelm you. In these situations, use your surroundings to your advantage, such as funneling enemies through narrow spaces or using environmental hazards to deal damage. Employ a mix of melee combat, ranged attacks, and Ghost techniques to turn the tide in your favor.

3. Enemy Fortresses

Liberating enemy fortresses and camps requires a strategic approach, as these locations are heavily guarded and fortified. Analyze the layout and enemy patrol patterns to determine whether a stealthy approach or a head-on assault would be more effective. Use Ghost tools such as smoke bombs, wind chimes, and firecrackers to create distractions or eliminate enemies silently, and switch between combat stances to deal with various enemy types.

Embracing the Kurosawa Mode

Ghost of Tsushima features an optional black-and-white filter called “Kurosawa Mode,” which pays homage to legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. While this mode does not directly impact your leveling up process, it adds a layer of immersion and cinematic flair to the game. Experiencing the game in this visual style can enhance your appreciation for its art direction, storytelling, and atmosphere, making your journey through Tsushima Island even more memorable.

Participating in Online Multiplayer with Legends Mode

Ghost of Tsushima: Legends is an online cooperative multiplayer mode separate from the main single-player campaign. It allows you to team up with friends or other players and participate in various cooperative missions inspired by Japanese mythology. While the leveling system in Legends is distinct from the single-player campaign, it can still help you develop your skills and learn new tactics that can be applied to the main game.

In Legends, you can choose from four different character classes: Samurai, Hunter, Ronin, and Assassin, each with its unique abilities and playstyle. As you progress through the mode, you will earn experience points and unlock new abilities, cosmetics, and gear for your chosen class. Engaging in the Legends mode can provide a fresh perspective on Ghost of Tsushima’s gameplay mechanics, encouraging you to experiment with different strategies and techniques.

Engaging with the Dynamic Weather and Time Systems

Ghost of Tsushima features a dynamic weather and time system that can not only enhance your immersion in the game world but also influence gameplay in subtle ways. By understanding and adapting to these changing conditions, you can optimize your strategies and make the most of your leveling journey.

Weather Effects

Different weather conditions can have an impact on your gameplay experience. For example, heavy rain may reduce visibility, making it more challenging for enemies to spot you, while fog can make it difficult to navigate the terrain. Additionally, strong winds can affect the trajectory of your arrows, requiring you to adjust your aim accordingly. Pay attention to the weather and adapt your tactics to the prevailing conditions for maximum effectiveness.

Day and Night Cycle

Ghost of Tsushima’s day and night cycle also plays a role in gameplay. Some enemies may be more alert during the day, while others may be less vigilant at night. Depending on the time of day, you may find it easier to approach certain locations or objectives stealthily. Consider the advantages and drawbacks of each time period and choose the most suitable moment to strike.

Immersing Yourself in the Rich Narrative and Character Development

While not directly related to leveling up, engaging with Ghost of Tsushima’s narrative and character development can enhance your overall experience and make your journey through the game even more rewarding. By investing time in the story and building relationships with the game’s characters, you can unlock additional Tales and missions that offer unique rewards and opportunities to level up.

Bonding with Allies

Throughout the game, Jin will encounter and ally with various characters, each with their own stories, motivations, and skills. By completing their associated Tales, you can deepen your relationships with these allies, unlock new abilities, and acquire valuable equipment. These character-driven side quests not only provide opportunities to level up but also enrich the game’s narrative and world-building.

Delving into Jin’s Past

Ghost of Tsushima’s main story explores Jin’s past, his struggles with his samurai upbringing, and his transformation into the Ghost. By completing story missions and engaging with the game’s narrative, you can gain insights into Jin’s character development, unlock new abilities, and improve your understanding of the game world. Fully immersing yourself in the story can make your leveling journey more engaging and fulfilling.


Ghost of Tsushima offers a rich, immersive experience that rewards players who dedicate time and effort to exploring its vast world, mastering its complex gameplay mechanics, and engaging with its compelling narrative. By taking advantage of the game’s dynamic weather and time systems, bonding with allies, and delving into Jin’s past, you can optimize your leveling process and fully experience the depth and breadth of this epic adventure. Embrace the way of the samurai, master the art of the ghost, and forge your path as the legendary protector of Tsushima Island.