Note To Self: Stop Slashing Horse In Ghost Of Tsushima

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The sun is setting on the island of Tsushima as I call over my trusted horse after defeating some deadly Mongols in combat. I am a noble samurai warrior, ready to do whatever I can to help my people and sav—Ahh shit, I just smacked my horse with my sword. Again.


I’ve been playing Ghost of Tsushima and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. The combat is fun and the world is gorgeous. Also, you can pet foxes. So yeah, great game. But Ghost of Tsushima uses the PS4 controller’s R2 trigger to basically do everything, including getting on your horse. It also uses the triangle button for heavy sword attacks. For a lot of folks, this isn’t a big deal. You learn the controls and play the game. But I’ve played a lot of Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Online over the years and when I see a horse my first instinct is to run over and hit the triangle button to jump on. So in Ghost of Tsushima I keep slashing my poor horse over and over again with a deadly weapon.

I feel like a monster.

At least things have gotten better after playing for about 10 hours or so. My first few hours were filled with so much horse abuse. I’d call my horse over and hit triangle and almost immediately realize my error. But it was too late. My samurai had already let his katana fly and sliced up my loyal horse. Sometimes when I would do this my horse would stay, but other times it would run away and not return for a few moments.

“I’m sorry! Blame Rockstar and Red Dead!” I would yell as it ran away. I felt like a total asshole watching my horse recede into the distance. And then 20 minutes later I’d do it again. And again. It took hours of unfortunate animal mishaps to finally break my muscle memory and stop hitting the triangle button to mount my noble steed. Or so I thought!

 Jin, winding up for a horse crime.
Jin, winding up for a horse crime.

Last night, during a particularly hectic moment when I needed to quickly run back to my steed, get on, and chase someone, I instead hit triangle again and smacked my horse once more. I think what happened is the panic and excitement overwhelmed me and my brain saw a horse in a video game and just assumed I should hit triangle. I wasn’t thinking about it and then BAM! I once again shot to the top of PETA’s most wanted.

Thankfully, this is just a videogame and there are no lasting consequences for my ongoing and acute inability to press R2. But I still feel terrible every time I screw it up and I’m afraid of what’ll happen once Red Dead Online starts working again and I go back to playing that a lot. Maybe, out of respect for my horse, I should just start jogging everywhere.


Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for GameCritics, USgamer, Kill Screen & Entertainment Fuse.


Faux Bravo

I get that there’s no reason for control uniformity from game to game, but I had the same issue. The controls in Ghost feel so different from basically every other game—but especially the horse mounting thing—it was hard to get used to.

Maybe it’s boring or my own hurdle to overcome, but I like it when games stick to relatively similar control schemes across developers. Obviously, if there’s a drastically different or new mechanic, it’s just not feasible. But I didn’t feel like there was anything in Ghost that warranted mixing up the controls so much.

It doesn’t matter anyway, because I got bored pretty quickly and moved on.

The end.