At their best, online multiplayer games can replicate the chaotic fun of playing couch co-op while taunting your friends next to you, or being part of an elite squad coordinating tactics in real-time. More often, though, you’re left watching as your partner GOKU420 runs off on their own, teabagging downed enemies until they get you both killed.
Ghost of Tsushima: Legends hits the co-op sweet spot with a mix of careful tactics and chaotic swordplay. Originally released as a free add-on to 2020’s samurai epic Ghost of Tsushima, Legends is also available as a stand-alone game with four-match types and its own deep character progression system.
Ghost of Tsushima Legends launched as a free add-on not long after Ghost of Tsushima’s release.
Ghost of Tsushima: Legends doesn’t continue the main game’s story of Jin Sakai, instead focusing on myths starring four nameless warriors — Legends’ playable character classes. While Jin is a jack of all trades, each of Legends’ classes specializes in one type of play with abilities that make them masters of their craft. As the Hunter, you can rain arrows on your foes from afar, providing crowd control for your teammates. The Ronin is a support class offering healing for the party. The stealthy Assassin lets you easily dispatch low-level enemies and disappear in a puff of smoke. And if you want to deal tons of damage in melee and stand up against waves of attackers, the Samurai is for you.
A collection of iconic character classes to choose from is nice, but what really makes Legends sing is how they work together. No matter which you choose, you’ll be able to hold your own if you use your skills wisely, holding off hostile crowds at range as the Hunter or siphoning enemies’ life to heal your wounds as the Samurai. Put even two of these classes together and they become far more than the sum of their parts. A well-timed Assassin's ultimate skill can turn the whole party invisible to prepare for a coordinated sneak attack, while Ronin’s revive ability can turn the tide of a battle by saving fallen teammates while setting nearby enemies ablaze.
Because each character has such a small, specific kit of abilities, it’s easy to strategize even with random players in the game’s chaotic zone-control mode, Survival, or the team-based Rivals. Pair a bow-wielding Hunter with a tanky Samurai and they’ll naturally take up positions to complement each other. In the two-player Story and four-player Challenge modes, coordination becomes key. Both are objective-based missions that push players to use their strengths and cover each other’s weaknesses. With a full party using team chat, skilled parties can pull off practically balletic maneuvers, striking in sync to eliminate packs of enemies before they have a chance to retaliate.
Story and Challenge mode also offers clever twists on combat to keep things fresh for repeated matches. Some stages have paired enemies that only stay down if they’re killed simultaneously; others feature ghost enemies that are only visible in brief flashes.
On top of Ghost of Tsushima: Legends’ wonderfully tuned gameplay is a layer of customization that’s thankfully light. You can buy new cosmetics for your characters along with earning gear and skill upgrades, which come from just playing. No microtransactions or battle passes to sour the experience and divide fans, just rewards for devoting time to the game and playing well. If you’re into oversized straw hats, fox ears, and demon masks, you’ll love filling out your Legends wardrobe.
Despite not being monetized to within an inch of its life, Ghost of Tsushima: Legends hasn’t been left to languish by Sucker Punch Productions. When it joined the PS Plus free game lineup in March 2022, a new update followed shortly after. The latest patch adds new difficulty options for custom matches so players can tune things to their liking and build the toughest Legends experience yet. It also delivered an upgrade to the gear system that gives players a new way to strengthen loot dropped after matches.
Its small, focused matches mean Ghost of Tsushima: Legends is never going to be the multiplayer game of choice for most people, nor will it produce satisfying TikTok no-scope compilations. But if you’re looking for a more tactical co-op experience where strategy and communication are as valuable as twitch reflexes, it’s worth taking up the sword (or bow) and giving Ghost of Tsushima: Legends a shot.
Ghost of Tsushima: Legends is free to anyone who owns Ghost of Tsushima, and to PS Plus subscribers until April 4, 2022.