Ghost of Tsushima is a game inspired by classic samurai cinema. That means instead of historical accuracy, we’re treated to a glorified portrayal of the samurai class, including a strong belief system based around honor. That includes the way in which samurai kill, and a major internal conflict in the story is about Jin Sakai abandoning that belief system for the sake of survival. But that doesn’t mean the “honorable” path isn’t also available. Thanks to the standoff mechanic, you can make walking through the enemy’s front door a viable approach.
Ghost of Tsushima: Standoff Guide
The Ghost of Tsushima standoff mechanic is based on the classic samurai movie trope in which the act of drawing the blade has incredible narrative weight. So much so that unsheathing a sword is often used as an attack, and one that almost always is a guaranteed kill. That’s absolutely the case here, and if you invest some points into it, standoffs can be a multi-kill extravaganza.
Standoffs are also a good way to build Jin’s “Legend” while out exploring the world. Either out in the fields or when approaching an enemy camp, you’ll see the UI prompt to initiate a standoff the first time you encounter a group of baddies. If you press up on the dpad you’ll accept the standoff and play a minigame that’s basically a deathly serious, Hollywood version of Samurai Kirby from Kirby Super Star on the Super Nintendo. By holding Triangle you prepare your attack, but you need to hold it until the enemy makes a move to get the advantage. As soon as you have an opening letting go of Triangle will result in an instant kill, with a fairly generous window. It's also a good idea to watch your opponent's feet; they'll often try to fake you out, but the moment their feet move you know it's a real strike.
After that, the fight proceeds as normal, as most standoffs include groups of two or more enemies. And if you upgrade the standoff technique, you can take out more than just the guy who steps up to the plate first. There are two upgrades for standoff in the Evolving Tactics tree, under the Ghost portion of the techniques menu. Each upgrade adds an additional surefire kill opportunity on a successful standoff. Once you get that, you’ll have to wait for the next enemy to attack as well, but you can press Triangle or Square instead of the hold/release prompt.
Fully upgrading the Ghost of Tsushima standoff technique is also the key to the All in the Wrist trophy. All you have to do is pull off a full chain and you get the reward. And speaking of trophies, you can check out our Hidden Trophy guide for Ghost of Tsushima, along will all our other coverage: