On Friday, Ghost of Tsushima got a lot bigger. Alongside a raft of quality-of-life updates, the latest patch for Sucker Punch’s open-world samurai adventure also introduced a robust new cooperative mode called Ghost of Tsushima: Legends. It’s really two modes—a two-player narrative adventure alongside a four-player survival gauntlet, both of which are steeped in mysticism—but the core concept is fundamentally the same for both: kill bad guys while engaging in a color-coded, Destiny-style loot grind. It’s a blast. Here’s how to make the most of it.
When you first access Legends, you’re put through a lengthy and somewhat needless tutorial. Once you wrap it up, you have to choose from one of four classes: the Hunter, the Samurai, the Assassin, or the Ronin. Choosing a class might seem tough, but you needn’t stress. Beyond a few skills and unlockable stat boosts, all four classes play fundamentally the same. You can shoot a bow with any of them. You can still perform assassinations with any of them. If you know how to play the game, you know how to play as any of these classes.
What’s more, you can unlock the other classes fairly quickly—specifically, with every eight rank-ups. That sounds like a high hurdle, but you don’t need to stick to the same class to do so. And, since lower ranks are easier to knock out, it’s even easier if you bounce from class to class as you unlock them.
Here’s the math: Let’s say you level up a Hunter to the eighth rank. Then, for your second class, you add an Assassin to your roster. If you want a Ronin or a Samurai, you could power through eight more ranks with your Hunter. Or you could split the load, progress two more ranks with your Hunter, and then rank up your Assassin six times. That’ll go a lot faster than trying to get one class into higher levels.
As you unlock classes, each one shares from the same pool of equipment. What’s more, you can equip the same piece of gear across all of your classes. There are some exceptions, of course—longbows can only be equipped by a Hunter, unless the weapon has the “Versatile” trait—but for the most part, all four of your classes can use the same sword, throw the same set of Sticky Bombs, and share the same Healing Gourd. (Note: Sharing drinks is not advised these days. Even Ghosts should practice social distancing out there.)
Each class has 12 skills, which become available as you progress through ranks and can become yours for some hard-earned Essence. These mostly grant some marginal stat boosts or tweak each class’s special ability in some way, maybe by decreasing cooldowns or increasing your bow’s draw speed. These upgrades are nice. If you could get them all, you’d become as hilariously buff as a late-game Jin Sakai—not ideal for a multiplayer game. Perhaps to prevent such unchecked power from throwing the world out of balance, you can only equip one from each row. Keep that in mind as you allocate your Essence.
Switching stances is a core part of combat in Ghost of Tsushima. Every Ghost player knows the hierarchy by heart: Stone stance takes out swordsmen, Water stance crushes shields, and Wind stance makes short work of anyone with a spear, while Moon stance—the final one and ultimately the most useless of the bunch—deals extra damage to the big guys.
Legends still has stances, and the hierarchy is still in play, but initially you can only use one stance at any given time. You’ll start out with a low-level Stone Katana, which will allow you to use the Stone stance. Through random mission-end gear rolls, you stand a chance of finding a Water, Wind, or Moon Katana, each of which will let you use those—and only those—respective stances. (To my knowledge, unless it’s an aspect of some extremely high-level katana buried at the end of the upcoming raid, there’s no way to unlock Ghost stance in Legends.) If you’re rolling with a full squad, it’s wise to make sure all four of you have Katanas with different stances equipped.
All that said, some high-rarity blades can allow you to use multiple stances, usually at the expense of another special ability for that weapon. Some perks—like one that gives you a chance of immolating enemies with every strike—are to die for, so that’s a choice you’ll have to make. Sadly, though, switching stances does not trigger the burst of slow-motion you get while doing so in the main single-player campaign, so don’t let the potential for Matrix-style dodging influence your decision.
At the bottom of Legends’ main menu, you’ll see a list of daily challenges—you know, things like “perform 25 assassinations from above” or “revive 10 fallen teammates.” Completing them is one thing. The fact that Legends won’t automatically reward you for doing so is another entirely. To collect your prize—and open up another daily quest—you have to manually scroll down and tap “X” on each completed challenge. Since these objectives shower you in Shrines, the rarest currency, it’s well worth taking the 0.7 seconds to do so.
C’mon. You’ve played a loot-based game before. You know how this works.
Blue, “rare” gear is (obviously) better than green gear, but quickly becomes a dime a dozen. Before dismantling your old stuff for parts, though, consider rerolling its properties in the modifications menu. For a nominal sum, you can switch up the specific perks piecemeal. You can also just reroll the whole thing from scratch, which guarantees it’ll jump up closer to your current Ki level. It’s not cheap, but you frequently earn all of the necessary resources for doing so. If you’ve progressed 25 Ki levels and have yet to find a good replacement Kunai, rerolling your old one might do the trick.
By opening up the modifications menu and scrolling down to the property slot (the second one), you can hit R2 to see a list of what each property does. So, if you don’t have a clue in the world what “Oni damage” means, that’s how you can learn. You can do the same thing for perks, too, but those descriptors are a bit less ambiguous. “Helmet-piercing ammo” needs no explanation, right?
As you play through campaign missions, you might come across glowing pedestals, which can imbue your katana with various attunements. The sun attunement, for instance, is orange, and allows you to deal meaningful damage to enemies with an orange-glowing aura. The moon attunement, meanwhile, is blue. You’ll want that one when blue enemies show up. For best results, coordinate with your teammate to make sure you have different attunements, so you can efficiently focus your efforts on different enemies.
Maybe you’re the type of player who runs through a campaign once, on one difficulty level, and then ignores it forever in favor of an endlessly replayable multiplayer mode. Don’t do that with Legends. For starters, the increased difficulty of silver-tier missions—compared to the cakewalk of starter bronze-level ones—calls for some true synchronization between partners. You also only have three tries per mission, which ramps up the tension. But the biggest draw is that the levels actually change.
For instance, “Severed Hearts,” the first mission, adds a cooperative platforming challenge in which you and your partner have to jump to various floating platforms. Seems simple, no? Look closer, and you’ll realize that some platforms have a moon symbol, while others have a sun. Only the player with the moon attunement can activate the moon platform, which the other player can then jump to. The opposite is true for the sun platform. So success is contingent on figuring out who has to jump at which point. Fighting through tougher throngs of enemies is a blast.
Seeing as this is a multiplayer game, some players are bound to act like total dicks. So put a penny in the karma bank and be nice to your fellow matchmaking Ghosts. If you see that a Samurai has that big bruiser under control, don’t steal the kill. Who knows: Maybe your teammate is trying to knock out a daily challenge. If an Assassin has made an enemy hallucinate—a status effect indicated by a purple health bar—don’t kill that enemy. They’re on your side now (kind of). Don’t hit healing drums when you’re the only one near them, unless you won’t survive without doing so. And for the love of Uchitsune, don’t buy the spirit bear from the gift kiosk if your teammate is trying to buy the spirit bear from the gift kiosk!
...Ahem. No reason.