Ryuzo's final confrontation with Jin, where asks to Jin to tell Shimura's army that he was a Double Agent so he can change sides and and be spared. Was he actually a Dirty Coward who was trying to weasel his way out of punishment for his actions? Or was he intentionally trying to piss Jin off to guarantee that he'd try and kill him, due to his immense guilt over his actions while working with the Mongols and feeling he had nothing left to live for after losing the Straw Hats?
Shimura taking Jin in and wanting to adopt him. While there's no doubt that Shimura cares greatly for Jin, did he take Jin out of the goodness of his heart like we're led to believe, or did he do it in hopes of preventing him from adopting the Combat Pragmatist ways his father was also hinted to have, fearing how they would affect his and Clan Sakai's reputation?
Does Shimura really abide to the code of honor or he is just aware of the politics at play? He has no qualm keeping a pirate alive if he is useful and the shogun does not seem to care about him other than a speed bump for the Mongols so the mainland can prepare. Compared to Ishikawa, who also has old views but being silently disgraced after the Nagao issue he doesn't care about keeping appearance or teaching a commoner to defend herself, Shimura is aware what the mainland will do to a jito who doesn't follow their orders.
Is Shimura normal for other samurai or just someone that is Lawful Stupid by the standards of their time? As the Lord of Tsushima, all the other samurai have to follow his orders, but virtually every other we meet has a lot more tolerance for Jin's antics. It's only when Jin creates chemical weapons centuries before their time and inspires a peasant uprising that the Shogun turns against him. Indeed, it's hinted that Shimura is considered a General Failure and moron by the mainland samurai for his Honor Before Reason tactics.
Shimura doesn't like Jin's dishonourable tactics, but doesn't do much about it at first other than scold him - its only when Jin poisons the drinks of the Mongol forces in Castle Shimura that a permanent wedge is driven between the two. The thing is, poisoning food is still considered a war crime in the modern day, and death from Jin's wolfsbane poison is consistently shown to be slow, painful, and terrifying. So does Shimura dislike Jin's tactics because they're cowardly, or because they're (from his perspective) needlessly cruel?
Gosaku: There's a high possibility that he actually was not an ordinary farmer as described in the tales, but either a ronin or a samurai, because a completely untrained farmer will not be able to fight effectively regardless of how good his weapons and armors are, and he is said to be able to drive off the bandits uninjured, meaning he must have been a trained fighter. And his armor could have been his all along, wearing an armor is a complicated process and could take a while, even for samurai who are familiar with wearing and taking off armors, and with new armors you need to accustom yourself to it first before you can fight effectively.
Some have claimed that the presence of prominent Action Girls like Masako, Yuna and Tomoe who aren't treated as anything unusual is anachronistic. However, studies of Samurai diaries from the Kamakura era have revealed that, while many courtiers were dismissive of the practice, it wasn't uncommon for the women of a Samurai clan to be trained in combat for the purpose of home defense, with some clans even bringing them to battle as support archers. In fact, feudal Japan had multiple examples of female samurai on the battlefield known as onna-musha or onna-bugeisha (meaning "women warrior").
Some players expressed disbelief and felt that Jin is Exceptionally Tolerant when informed of two instances of same-sex relationships (one male-male and the other female-female). While attitudes towards them were very different from today, same-sex relationships by themselves weren't uncommon in feudal Japan, even among samurai and nobility.Specifically... It was considered somewhat admirable for men as a form of deep bond, but scandalous for women, since it was believed their first duty was to bear heirs for their husbands and remain completely faithful otherwise. There were young boys known as wakashu who were objects of desire among both men and women. It wasn't until the 1800s that attitudes towards same-sex relationships began to sour significantly by foreign influence. Indeed, Shintoism has multiple deities associated with gay love and sex.
Jin's insistence on a samurai's primary duty being toward the people versus absolute loyalty as Shimura calls it is actually a legitimate political conflict of the Kamakura Shogunate period in which this series takes place. In the end, it led to a month-long civil war that resulted in the collapse of the shogunate.
Awesome Music: In addition to the art direction, the soundtrack by Shigeru Umebayashi and Ilan Eshkeri is another element that has received unanimous acclaim. The Bushido and Kodoku movements in the Tsushima Suite as well as Jin Sakai's theme particularly stand out for adding to the game's dramatic atmosphere.
Award Snub: Lost out to The Last of Us Part II, at the 2020 Video Game Awards for Best Action Game and Game of the Year. Ghost of Tsushima did, however, win the fan-voted online Player's Voice award for the 2020 VGAs.
Best Boss Ever: Duels are a highlight in the game, testing the player's capacity amidst drop dead gorgeous backdrops. In particular, the duels during the Six Blades of Kojiro stand out.
Base-Breaking Character: Lord Shimura is either liked by some for his fatherly relationship with his nephew Jin especially how he raised and trained him and is viewed as a good Deconstruction of the romanticized Samurai while others dislike him for his total incompetence as a military leader that gets people needlessly killed, stubborn refusal to adapt and his lack of respect for and callous treatment of the common people especially Yuna.
Best Level Ever: "Ghost of Yarikawa" is the point where Jin fully embraces his inner Terror Hero, giving you the sheer Catharsis Factor of using the Ghost Stance for the first time, where you decapitate Mongol Leaders and then brutally murder three mooks in one-hit kill dismemberments that terrify their comrades.
The Japanese dub has significant differences in speech, politeness, manner of address (sometimes even people's names altogether), phrasing, and terminology compared to the original English dub, which has sparked debates among fans as to whether or not either version is "truer" to the characters and their circumstances.
The next-generation upgrade costing an additional $10 rubbed several people the wrong way. Some defended the extra charge, arguing that Sucker Punch had already provided a free multiplayer expansion and that porting the game to PS5 took extra development time. Others, however, found that paywalling features such as Japanese lip sync feels like nickel-and-diming, and point out that many other publishers had provided next-generation upgrades for free. Not helping matters is that, DualSense use aside, Director's Cut is more of a direct port and is barebones even among the free PS5 upgrades: it doesn't render the game any better and has 30fps cutscenes where the PS4 version running on PS5 has them in 60fps.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: The game features a wide variety of powerful and useful Major Charms, but the Charm of Amaterasu, which is one of the first a player is likely to acquire, is hard to give up. It simply restores a chunk of health every time the player kills an enemy, which is going to be fairly often in most fights, and the sustain it offers in almost all circumstances is endlessly useful for aggressive, defensive, or even stealthy playstyles.
Khotun Khan is the head of the Mongol invasion force. Introducing himself by setting a samurai on fire before beheading him, Khotun dispatches his forces to slaughter and enslave Japanese citizens, torturing, killing, and pillaging to force Japan to submit. Destroying entire swaths of farming villages, Khotun Khan uses those who submit as little better than slave labor, massacring vast groups of samurai forces and later testing wolfsbane poison on other villages so he can deploy it upon mainland Japan to kill as many as possible before he can take it to satisfy his ambitions and attempt to overthrow his cousin Kublai.
"The Heavenly Strike" Mythic Tale: Yasuhira Koga was known as "The Butcher of Yarikawa", who returns with the Mongols to lay waste to Tsushima, having villages destroyed and civilians slaughtered, murdering a group of hostages when the musician Yamato cannot tell him the secrets of the hero Shigenori's Heavenly Strike ability. Having others enslaved and tortured, Koga forces one warrior to teach him the Heavenly Strike before killing him in a duel to test his own skills.
"Yuna Tales" side tales:
Taizo, Kichizo, and Manzo Mamushi are a trio of sadistic slavers who deal in children and adults alike, forcing them into labor with the heroine Yuna implying she endured rape at their hands. The Mamushis decapitate runaway slaves, torturing and burning others on stakes when they sell out to the Mongols, working others in brutal torture to satisfy their greed.
The slaver known as the Black Wolf deals in children, selling them to horrific fates in the Mamushi farms. Allying with the Mongols to kill others and take their children, the Black Wolf is also revealed to be a serial pedophile who assaulted Yuna and her brother Taka after getting them drunk.
Ankhsar Khatun, aka the Eagle, is the leader of a tribe of fanatical Mongols that takes over Iki Island, killing and enslaving much of the islanders. The Eagle would force her prisoners to ingest her "sacred medicine", driving them mad, with the agony her poison brings eventually destroying their minds. She would then set her sights on taking over Tsushima, having her forces attack villages there. When Jin Sakai travels to Iki Island, the Eagle captures him and makes him drink her poison, having Jin relive watching his father die and suffer hallucinations. She later prepares to attack the Raider's last stronghold, planning to annihilate the last of those rebelling against her.
"Black Hand Riku" Mythic Quest: Black Hand Riku was a pirate infamous for the cruelty and death he brought upon the seas surrounding Iki Island, usually carving up his victims before feeding their remains to his pet monkey. Among his most vile acts involves forcing a group of children to watch him skin their samurai protector alive before killing the children by throwing them overboard. When Riku's crew failed to kill their captain, Riku responded by setting his ship ablaze with the crew still inside, killing all but two, while Riku retreats to a cave on Iki Island. Riku would continue to suffice his bloodlust by killing any who enters his cave and try to steal his armor.
Critical Dissonance: A milder example compared to most, but it's still there to an extent on Metacritic. While the game has a respectable 83 aggregate review score from critics, its user score is a staggeringly high 9.2 out of 10. Particular points of contention between critics and players includes the criticism that the game doesn't actually change the open world formula much. Some players find this to be more of a positive, as many fans of open world games such as Assassin's Creed had been wanting a more polished and more refined version of those games, without microtransactions. The game's Director's Cut score, a much more respectable 88, is seen as a much better metric of the game's quality.
Polearm and Spear using enemies, early in the game. It takes a while to unlock Wind Stance, to properly counter them, but the game will still deploy them frequently. Until Wind Stance is unlocked, they can be very frustrating to deal with as they take reduced stagger damage from the other stances, and their attacks are all impossible to block and can only be parried with a specific skill, meaning the player has to rely entirely on dodging for quite a while. The skill that lets you parry most spear attacks can be attained within 4 skill points, so after that, spear wielders aren't quite as frustrating.
Straw Hat Ronin. Not only are their attacks fast and highly damaging, but they have surprisingly high health despite being unarmored enemies. To make matters worse, their attack patterns are far different from the Mongolian enemies you're used to fighting, so your timing can easily be thrown off in Standoffs or for parries. However they can be slow if you keep your distance and the aforementioned lack of armor, particularly the lack of a helmet, means they can be easily dispatched with an arrow to the head.
Iki Island gives us the Eagle Tribe Mongol fighters, which are capable of switching between various fighting styles on the fly, from two swords, to sword-and-shield to a spear, forcing Jin to constantly swap between stances to match them. Their attacks hit hard and they can soak up a lot of damage, making them a pain to dispatch.
Disappointing Last Level: Much of the game's content is heavily concentrated in the first and largest region of the game, Izuhara. The last region of Kamiagata features notably fewer collectables, a less diverse landscape to explore aside from snow and a burned down forest, and a small handful of side quests. For completionists who do sidequests before main missions, the size of Kamiagata relative to how many points of interest there are can drive such players close to getting Ending Fatigue.
Evil Is Cool: Khotun Khan, the Mongol warlord who proves to be both pragmatic and stylish in equal measure from the word go, and as the game goes on his villainy gets put more and more on display, but he does it with such charisma you can't help but want to see more of him.
Fan Nickname: The Samurai Cinema mode (which gives the gameplay a black and white palette) was immediately called "Kurosawa Mode". Became an Ascended Meme in the full game where the experience is now actually called Kurosawa Mode, with the Samurai Cinema name now going to just being the game with Japanese voice acting.
With Nioh and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, due to the shared Feudal Japanese setting, plentiful shared Kurosawa homages and similar combat for the Samurai portions of Ghost of Tsushima (including a Stance System not too dissimilar to Nioh). It helps that Tsushima and Nioh 2 were both released in 2020 and are Sony-published titles.
With Assassin's Creed, since fans who've been clamoring for a game of their franchise to be set in feudal Japan.
Some fans have accused the game of coming off as Politically Correct History due to Jin being non-judgemental and understanding to characters carrying on same-sex affairs. Although marriage and having children were still held in higher regard, same-sex relationships were fairly well known and unimpeded among people of all classes, including samurai and nobility, and it wasn't until the 1800's when Enlightnenment-era Western influence truly began taking hold that attitudes towards same-sex relationships changed. Shintoism, Japan's native religion that Jin is shown practicing at various points, has multiple patron deities associated with gay love and sex.
The Mongols' willingness to have conquered forces join their ranks also comes from history. The Khans are noted to be generous and benevolent to people who willingly submit to their rule. Equally, they are vengeful to those who resist.
The storm that hits right before the Ghost and his allies wipes out Kotal Khan's forces is almost certainly the "Divine Wind" that wiped out their forces historically.
The conflict between Jin's desire to protect the people and Shimura's insistence on absolute loyalty is actually a fairly accurate summary of the Shimotsuki Event ("November Event") that was between samurai who believed their obligation was to protect the people versus those who believed their job was to obey their lords. The former faction lost but the bad publicity was enough that the Kamakura Dynasty lost the Emperor's support and was overthrown.
At the Golden Temple in Izuhara, NPC's that walk near the stairs of the pagoda tower have a tendency to get their pathing screwed up near the base of the steps. This results in NPC's walking over a cluster of large stones then sliding off, which triggers a fall animation that sends them flying backwards, then getting up and doing it again in a repetitive loop until they finally manage to get around the stones, sometimes launching a good ten feet into the air.
There is a random chance that the game will spawn a lone samurai in a watchtower in the northwest corner of Izuhara. He will be seen defending his tower from Mongols by raining down flaming arrows on them; if you initiate a Standoff with the Mongols, there's a very high chance they will be hit with the arrows and die during the standoff mini-cutscene.
Harsher in Hindsight: Whenever Jin mounts his horse, he sometimes says, "One day we'll go on a peaceful ride.'. It did give Jin one last ride...when Jin escaped from captivity and his horse got shot by four arrows, giving up its life to put enough distance between its owner and Shimura's search party, dying not only by its wounds, but also of exhaustion.
Taka seems to paired with Kenji pretty often, along with some friendly banter. With Jin, Taka idolizes him and is willing to give his life for him.
Kenji with Taka, who even says he loves the kid in his very first cutscene (though possibly platonic). During the few times he is serious, he talks about Taka after his death, before a big battle.
Jin and Ryuzo seem to share some chemistry together, especially when they reunite in Act I, and even prior to their meeting up, there's an option for Jin to reflect on his memories with Ryuzo in one of the onsens.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: One complaint critics brought up regarding the game is that overall, while the game is very polished and well-made, it adds very little to the Wide-Open Sandbox formula and the story isn't anything you haven't seen before.
Jerkass Woobie: While Ryuzo does ultimately throw his lot in with the Mongols and inadvertently causes Taka's death, it can be hard to blame him considering his life as commoner and how he has the responsibility of looking out for his mercenary group after they lose their leader and a good deal of their men at Komada Beach, with his attempts at trying to keep them fed failing miserably. Even when he does change sides, he shown's to instantly regret it after Khotun Khan forces him to burn hostages outside Castle Shimura, to the point where he's begging for the people inside to open the gates and let the mongols in after burning just one of them. There's also the implications that the reason he's a mercenary ronin in the first place is because Jin didn't think to hold back in a duel that, had Ryuzo won, would have allowed him to become a fully-fledged Samurai and live a more comfortable life than that of a commoner. Not to mention that in the end, he's killed by his best friend.
Magnificent Bitch: Tomoe the archer is the former student of the famed Sadonobu Ishikawa. A born killer and brilliant archer, Tomoe won her way into the Mongol ranks when taken hostage by teaching them archery and leading their forces when Ishikawa tries to hunt her down, targeting strategic locations to attack his hometown of Hyoshi Springs. Ruining the reputation of Ishikawa and hero Jin Sakai by targeting travelers and framing them, Tomoe later sides with the heroes to eliminate the Khan's archers she trained, using Jin and Ishikawa as cover to destroy them to slip away during the fighting and flee to the mainland, leaving behind a final note for Ishikawa on their history together and her gratitude as his pupil.
The shakuhachi performance at E3 2018 has been the subject of this. Explanation An otherwise impressive gameplay reveal was mitigated by a shakuhachi performance that halted Sony's press conference to a pause. The use of a Caucasian musician dressed in Samurai garb instead of an Asian performer was also mocked, though this lessened when it came out that the performer, Cornelius Boots, is one of the only 600 or so living people trained in the instrument.
Died in a Tornado.Explanation This game is one of the few to portray the Mongol Invasion of Japan, in which the hilarious history of japan video by bill wurtz poked fun on it by stating that the invasion was thwarted because the Mongols 'died in a tornado' (actually a typhoon) twice. With a heavy emphasis on winds in the game, many players quickly linked that line with the game for hilarity.
For those familiar with CoryxKenshin, his playthrough of the game included a replay of the clip from the beginning of the game where Masanobu Adachi was set on fire, then decapitated. Just cuz.
"There's no dishonorable way. Just kill them, you know?" Explanation Samurai expert Daniel Ebihara reviews the accuracy of the game. When the game footage shows Jin sneaking up on bandits, Daniel simply says this line
Dosho! Explanation Mongolian archers yell this before firing an arrow, telling their allies to duck ("доошоо" (dooshoo) is the Mongolian word for "down", or in this context, "get down"). As there are many archers in the game, the player is bound to hear this word a lot.
Samurai JinExplanation One of the armors you can obtain, the Ronin Attire, looks strikingly like Jack's iconic outfit from the cartoon when dyed white. This leads some people to claim this game is the closest thing we'll get to a live-action Samurai Jack movie.
The arrow-juggling.Explanation The game keeps Jin locked to certain regions by having "Overwhelming Forces," which is represented by Mongol archers who automatically snipe him and shoot him down if he stays too long in areas the player shouldn't be in yet. What made it funny was that if Jin is in midair when the archers begin firing and the player is willing to burn supplies on spamming health items, they can begin air juggling him like a Devil May Cry game.
Jin is the Disney Princess of Tsushima. Explanation Throughout the game, Jin is shown to have a way with animals. Foxes will approach him to lead him to Inari shrines (then letting him pet them afterwards), a golden bird will periodically lead him to undiscovered locations, and he is even close to his horse throughout the game, especially in post-mission scenes, where he will be shown stroking his horse's muzzle, taking naps with him, and praising him after calling for him.
Moral Event Horizon: If Kotun Khan hadn't established himself as an irredeemable monster before by burning a samurai challenging him to honorable combat alive, then it was certainly when he executed Taka before your eyes. He also says he will keep killing Jin's friends until he submits immediately afterward.
Scrappy Mechanic: The only way to obtain flowers is to find them in the wild. While obtaining every merchant-sold item is completely optional, those with completionist tendencies will have to spend hours just running around collecting flowers. Bear in mind, obtaining everything that needs flowers to buy requires one to obtain hundreds of them, even more if they have the Iki island expansion. Related to this, tracking which merchants have stuff you haven't yet bought is also quite annoying, due to the fact that their map marker only tells whether they have any new cosmetics available, and not all merchants share their inventory. (At least the Jogaku merchant sells almost everything, save for white/black/Iki island items)
The opening sequence, with Jin and Lord Shimura charging into battle.
The opening credits sequence featuring Jin riding into the land and brushing his hand across the grass.
Jin unlocking the Ghost Stance for the first time, as well as the siege of Yarikawa in general.
Lord Shimura and Jin storming Castle Shimura.
The last battle with Khotun Khan.
The final battle with Lord Shimura as the True Final Boss. As well as the two endings.
Slow-Paced Beginning: The first handful of hours of the game is generally considered to be the weakest since it takes a while for the story to get going and Jin needs a few upgrades in him before the combat really starts to click.
Many that consider this to be a video game adaption of Angolmois. A story about a samurai that must throw away his code of bushido and adapt to asymmetrical tactics. Taking place during the Mongol invasion.
Many have also regarded this as a video game adaptation of Marco Polo given that it takes place around the same time period and it features a Khan.
Assassin's Creed fans have been begging for a game set in Feudal Japan for years. Until Ubisoft makes that happen, Ghost of Tsushima will suffice.
One could also remark that the game shares a lot of cinematic qualities with Akira Kurosawa films. Sucker Punch would be the first people to admit it.
Other than characters being humans, rather than anthropomorphic animals, this makes pretty spot-on game adaptation of Usagi Yojimbo. Nate Fox, game's director, even named the series as one of their inspirations.
Narratively speaking, the story of Ghost of Tsushima is like a Feudal Japan-set retelling of Robin Hood, between Jin being a Samurai (the Japanese equivalent of noble-born knights, something Robin Hood is occasionally depicted as) becoming an outlaw who rallies the commonfolk and fights for their benefit against an oppressive regime that took over the land, and even utilising Bow and Sword in Accord and Just Like Robin Hood tactics.
That One Achievement: "Common Courtesy" Trophy in the Iki Island DLC requires that the player find and complete all unwritten tales on the island and since none of them are marked on the map, they're very difficult to find them all without looking for an online guide. And to make things worse, one of the tales require that the player finish the all the Stories in the Legends multiplayer mode. This meant that if you either don't own a Playstation Plus or your internet connection isn't stable enough, then you're screwed. Thankfully, the Legends tale has since been removed as a requirement for the achievement; thus making it a bit easier to obtain.
That One Level: Chapter 2 of the Tale of Iyo (the raid for the Legends multiplayer mode) will confuse, scare, and ultimately frustrate newcomers, and just plain frustrate veterans with the noobs. All the raid missions need 4 good players with high-level equipment and a thorough understanding of all the game's mechanics, but unlike Chapter 1 and 3 or the Nightmare Story and Survival modes, this particular mission requires at least one player with a high degree of familiarity of the level and a mic coordinating the three other players, and the other players need to be either familiar with this mission, or at least know how to follow instructions and have minimal lag.
First off, there is a lot of puzzle platforming that requires three players to each get three different colored Attunements, then jump on a set of invisible platforms that will only activate if a person with the correct Attunement stands on it. The problem is, anyone who holds an Attunement can't see the symbols that indicate which Attunement will activate it. So unless everyone has memorized the entire sequence perfectly, the fourth person who does not have an Attunement (and thus can see all the symbols) will need to verbally tell his teammates which Attunements are needed on which platforms, and guide them through the course.
There are multiple hordes of tough opponents who can only be damaged by said Attunements (meaning people who don't hold that specific Attunement will do piddling damage), but the wiser strategy to these sections is to just run past the bad guys, complete more puzzle platforming, and exit. Of course, you will need to know how to solve said puzzles and the location of the solutions first
Another section has a large arena with a central circle and two smaller circles to up on two cliffs on opposite sides. Two players need to stand on the smaller circles to keep the central circle activated, while the other two players need to kill enemies within the central circle to fill a meter that will unlock the final gate. There is a problem: The players fighting in the central circle slowly gain Corruption, and if it someone gets up to 10 Corruption, the entire stage fails, and the only way to clear Corruption is to go up to the side circles on the side and purge. Essentially, two people will be in the central circle fighting to raise the meter, while the other two will be on the sides keeping the central circle activated, and fighting a bunch of Elite Mooks singlehandedly, then once the two central fighters reach 7 or 8 Corruption, they go up and swap places, the fresh players go down and fight while the first group stands on the smaller circles and purge.
The final gauntlet combines both 'split up the team to fight high-level enemies by themselves' and 'obtuse puzzle platforming' concepts, as two players need to stay on an enormous central arena to prevent enemies from reaching a bunch of circles, as the bad guys dying on those circles causes a meter to rise, and if that meter reaches its maximum, the stage fails (the key is to kill the enemies right at the two separate spawn points at the far ends of the arena). The other two players need to fight through a daunting maze filled with invisible ronin who can kill unprepared players in 3 hits or less, in order to collect a bunch of crystals, and put them in slots in the central arena. And if the players drop the crystals and don't pick it up for 30 seconds, they respawn in their original location, and the players will need to traverse all the way back to pick them up.
You will also need to know the specific locations of all the hidden Oni chests if you want to find them and earn an achievement.
For some players, Yuna's second mission "Silent Death" is this. You have to sneak into a stronghold and kill three specific targets. Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, there's just one problem: You have to do it without killing anyone else, and you can't be detected.
The last Mythic Tale "The Undying Flame" has you climb up to the top of the mountain to learn a new ability, but thing is though you will be doing while enduring the harsh cold that will slowly kill you unless you're near a fire and there are several fire spots that served as checkpoints. However, these spots are difficult to locate in the blinding snow and there are several wild bears in the mountains that will impede your progress and combined with the cold that continuously damage you if you stay too long will make your journey to the top quite a difficult one.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: In the Iki Island expansion, Jin's father, Kazumasa, is shown to be utterly ruthless in his methods to put down the island's inhabitants. However, the island turns out to be almost entirely composed of Asshole Victim pirates and raiders. Indeed, the island's entire economy is seemingly based on being a Wretched Hive. Even the brutality of the conquest is motivated by the fact they kept attacking the samurai despite being hopelessly outmatched. As such, Jin's father, comes across as reasonable.
Tomoe. While the game isn't shy about Jin and Ishikawa calling her out for her crimes she stubbornly defends that she tried her best to mitigate the damage and the ending where she manages to escape after helping kill the archers she trained is treated as a sort of redemption. Her claims of mitigating damage don't exactly work out considering that she was clearly leading the Mongols, made them more dangerous and spearheaded plans such as razing Ishikawa's home village, making camps to train more Mongols and killing innocent merchants running supplies and framing both Jin and Ishikawa for it. Not to mention that the only reason she started fighting them was they turned on her first. At the end she comes across more as a Karma Houdini who uses Ishikawa's lingering affection for her as a daughter figure to escape punishment.
The Iki islanders constantly badmouth Jin's father for coming and murdering them. However, Kasumasa was trying to root out the pirates and raiders there with the locals giving them shelter. Notably, the peasants attacked his forces first before suffering his retribution. Even by today's standards, Kasumasa acted within the standards of proper wartime behavior. They even brag about kidnapping a adolescent Jin to lure his father to his doom. The main saving grace is that Kazumasa's retaliation was unreasonably brutal.
Visual Effects of Awesome: One of the positive points universally agreed by everybody is how good the game looks, with its diverse color palette, weather effects, lighting, and wind-based physics blowing small objects like embers and leaves through the air and making grass and trees sway in real-time. The game's Photo Mode has been considered in the running to be one of the most in depth and beautiful in a game to date. And the minimalistic use of HUD elements during gameplay certainly helps to highlight the game's beauty as well.
Woolseyism: The Japanese dub of the game goes above and beyond to evoke the feel of 13th century Japan with much stylistic flair and period-accurate terms, such as the word mononofu, an old and now uncommon word for a samurai.