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4 essential tips to survive Ghost of Tsushima's new Lethal difficulty

The Mongols are now more deadly than ever.

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Sucker Punch Productions shipped its first patch for Ghost of Tsushima just 10 days after the game launched on PS4. The 1.05 update for the open-world samurai adventure gives gamers more freedom to experiment with the campaign's difficulty, by adding an even more challenging “Lethal” mode. The patch also adds the option to ratchet down the challenge and tweak text size and colors to make the dialogue easier to read.

Once the patch is downloaded, players can either start a new campaign or continue their current run on the Lethal difficulty by navigating to the Options tab in the main menu. The new mode brings Ghost of Tsushima closer to the unforgiving combat of FromSoftware titles like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Dark Souls.

Players who were breezing through Hard mode will find Lethal substantially more punishing. You'll likely have to change your play style for many encounters. Here are the four features to expect out of Ghost of Tsushima’s new difficulty level.

  • Enemies' weapons are more deadly, but Jin’s katana is also more deadly.
  • Enemies are more aggressive in combat.
  • Enemies detect you faster
  • Tighter Parry and Dodge windows.

Getting slashed by a Mongol’s sword when you’re at half health in Lethal is guaranteed death. On top of that, taking on a big group of enemies has become exponentially more difficult, due to how relentlessly they’ll go after Jin. But there are a few items, skills, and tips you can use to begin mastering Lethal.

4. Obtain Iron Will ASAP

Iron Will is a must as a fallback in "Lethal Mode."

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There’s nothing worse than dying to the final swordsman in a mob of Mongols. That danger is even more real in Lethal. Avoid having to restart an entire encounter because of one mistake by spending two Technique points on Iron Will.

The skill can be found under the Ghost menu in the Techniques tab at the far left of Evolving Tactics. It’ll allow you to spend three Resolve to revive yourself after taking lethal damage, which means it isn’t a guaranteed get-out-of-jail-card but it’s sure to keep you from rage quitting at least a few times.

3. The Charm of Mizu-No-Kami is key

Honor the Spring Falls Shrine to acquire the Charm of Mizu-No-Kami.

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Charms boost Jin’s stats and give him access to combat and utility perks. The Charm of Mizu-No-Kami makes Parries, Perfect Parries, Perfect Dodge easier to hit, which lead to instant kills on many of the game’s enemies.

The charm can be found by completing the Spring Falls Shrine in the northern part of Izuhara. Acquiring this charm early on will give you a far greater chance against hordes of Mongols in Lethal mode, especially if you spend your early Technique points on the Deflection and Evasion skill trees under the Samurai menu.

2. Learn to love the Half Bow and Concentration

Skilling into Concentration will let you pick off a few Mongols before the fight even begins.

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Even with the Charm of Mizu-No-Kami, it’s important to thin out groups of Mongols as much as possible before engaging them in melee combat. The simplest and safest way to do that is getting the jump on a few baddies with your Half Bow.

Getting the high ground on a bunch of Mongols should give you enough time to land two or three headshots or more if you skill into Archery. The skill branch under the Ghost menu allows Jin to slow down time when he’s aiming his bow making it easier to kite melee enemies and poke them down with just your arrows.

1. Standoff-to-Smoke-Bomb combo

Standoff into Smoke Bomb can net you up to six free kills if you skill into Improved Standoff Streak and Chain Assassination Master.

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Standing off against enemies and then immediately smoke bombing afterwards can lead to six free kills without putting Jin in much danger. But you’ll need to spend seven Technique points to get the most out of this samurai wombo combo.

Smoke Bombs puts Jin into stealth, allowing him to assassinate enemies affected by the item. If you skill into Improved Standoff Streak and Chain Assassination Master, you’ll net three kills from the Standoff and another three from a well-placed Smoke Bomb.

This combo may look complicated but once you’ve mastered timing your standoff swings it’s one of the easiest ways to deal with a pesky group of Mongols.

Ghost of Tsushima is out now on PS4.

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