Tsushima host has a great combat system, which is put to good use with all of the different sword positions that you can unlock.
These positions not only change the way your protagonist, Jin Sakai, holds his sword, but also allow you to attack your enemy in different ways.
In the game, you have your normal attack buttons, Square and Triangle, for heavy or special attacks designed to break an enemy’s guard.
You start the game with the Stone Stance, where you hold the two-handed sword in a slightly elevated position. This position is the default position and is suitable for almost any encounter you find at the start of the game.
The fight is timing and extremely satisfying. Time your parries, change your stance, and knowing your enemies’ attack animations will go a long way in helping you master fun melee battles.
The way to unlock different positions is actually quite nifty, eventually giving you access to water position, wind position, and moon position.
Each one you unlock is good for different types of enemies, for example, you’ll want to use the water stance against enemies using a shield.
Here is our guide on how to unlock all combat positions.
The water stance is best used for fighting enemies that have shields – and it’s incredibly stylish to boot.
Once you’ve unlocked it, you can change positions by holding down R2 and pressing the Circle button.
The way you unlock positions is simply to kill (or watch) the Mongolian leaders who have taken over the towns and turned them into war camps.
Right from the start, you’ll be able to tell which enemy a leader is thanks to his golden armor and round shield adorned with gems.
You’ll actually be able to unlock positions relatively quickly if you just move from camp to camp, killing everyone in your path.
To unlock each one you have to observe or kill a certain number of Mongolian leaders and your progress can be followed under the Techniques tab of the main menu.
Whenever you beat a boss, it will take place in slow motion and show you have made progress, letting you know how much more you need before the position unlocks.
In some cases, you can actually stealthily observe a Mongolian leader by holding down a button and then continue killing them to fill two of the required bars.
After getting water, you will be tasked with killing more rulers to unlock the wind position.
Wind Stance is extremely useful to unlock as soon as you can as it is effective against pesky spear users.
The heavy attack will deal more damage and if you hold down the Triangle button you will get an incredibly satisfying kick.
The final position you unlock won’t be needed until much later in the game, where you’ll face a wider variety of enemy types.
Moon Stance is effective against raw enemies, which you will recognize as being extraordinarily tall.
As with other stances, Triangle attacks will allow you to stagger these enemies faster. Keep in mind that these attacks are not an instant win, you will still need to time your parries and dodge if necessary as your enemies will block your attacks.
It is important to note that when you change positions in combat, you should be aware that your normal attacks with Square will do the same as usual and have no special effects.
While it’s extremely strange that Jin, who is probably in his mid-30s at this point, is only now learning these samurai techniques, this is clearly a gameplay consideration.
As you gain more Technique points, you can improve the effectiveness of each position up to four times.
This gives you more powerful hits, makes enemies stagger easier, and good quality life additions to everyone.
What are you waiting for? Tsushima needs your help.