Ghost of Tsushima is finally here, which means PlayStation 4 gamers can begin their trek through Sucker Punch Productions’ disarmingly beautiful rendition of feudal Japan. The Sony exclusives puts players in the shoes of Jin Sakai, one of the few noble samurai left alive after a Mongolian invasion — led by the warlord Khotun Khan — ravages the island of Tsushima.
The majority of Ghost of Tsushima’s roughly 25- to 30-hour main plot sees Jin traveling across his homeland to unite a scrappy team of fighters in order to repel the Mongol forces. How the samurai epic concludes might seem obvious at face value, but there’s a major twist at the very end that many gamers won’t see coming.
Heavy endgame spoilers for Ghost of Tsushima follow. Read at your own discretion.
From the outset, warlord Khotun Khan feels like the endgame goal for Jin, but the samurai also undergoes an ongoing internal struggle throughout Ghost of Tsushima. Jin was raised to live and breathe the samurai code of honor, which requires that he proudly and publicly challenge his enemies to combat. To do anything different, like striking from the shadows, is considered dishonorable.
But when Khotun Khan invades Tsushima with an overwhelming force and captures Jin’s uncle Lord Shimura, it quickly becomes clear that defeating the Mongols honorably isn’t an option. This leads Jin down the path of “The Ghost.” Similar to a ninja, Jin learns to deceive, assassinate, and poison the Mongols to eventually rescue his uncle and gain an upper hand against Khotun Khan. But taking this controversial step towards a more subversive kind of warfare eventually puts him at odds with Lord Shimura.
Ghost of Tsushima’s real final battle
Jin’s final duel in Ghost of Tsushima isn’t against Khotun Khan or any other Mongol leader; It's against his uncle, the person who taught him to never stab an enemy in the back.
The Shogun orders Lord Shimura to kill Jin as a form of punishment for breaking the samurai code. The deceitful and murderous things Jin has done throughout the game may have won them the war, but it went against the samurai code of honor. Jin believes his actions were justified to save the people of Tsushima, but Lord Shimura doesn’t see it that way.
After defeating Khotun Khan, Jin and his uncle ride their horses to the graveyard where Jin’s father is buried. It’s there that Lord Shimura tells Jin the Shogun’s orders. After they sit down to write poetry together for the last time, they draw their swords and the final battle of Ghost of Tsushima begins.
Jin eventually bests his uncle in combat and is given two choices: Kill Lord Shimura to honor his wish of a warrior’s death or spare him. This final decision isn’t influenced by any of Jin’s actions throughout the game, and whichever ending you choose won't affect the endgame gameplay in any significant way. After this scene, you'll still be able to roam around Tsushima and wrap up and outstanding side-quests.
Whether or not Jin kills Lord Shimura, he will remain a wanted man due to the Shogun’s execution order, but he’ll remain a hero to the people he saved by defeating Khotun Khan, a hero remember as the Ghost of Tsushima.
Ghost of Tsushima is out now for PS4.