‘Ghost of Tsushima’ underscores the value of game feel

'Ghost of Tsushima' underscores the value of game feel

Ghost of Tsushima skyrocketed to its legendary status in less than a week. While there are many elements to its success, among them is a crucial detail called game feel.

Game feel in Ghost of Tsushima, and other titles is a tactile sensation. When playing a character, gamers can experience how intuitive it is. This inherent feeling is what makes Jin Sakai more compelling and lifelike than most.

Game feel makes video games feel satisfying

Game feel is a concept popularized by game designer Steve Swink. In his book, Game Feel: A Game Designer’s Guide to Virtual Sensation, Swink detailed the entire process. It refers to how responsive and lifelike is the character when a player uses it.

The idea of game feel also refers to what the player feels when interacting with the game environment. By having the character move a certain way, it gives their actions a level of meaning. It makes them not only interesting but more compelling to play too.

One good way to know if a character has a good game feel is through its movement. If a player moves through blank space, the model’s movement should feel satisfying.

Depending on what the game wants to achieve, the player should enjoy moving about.
This design philosophy is what makes Mario in the Super Mario games feel satisfying. He can jump, move, block, spin, and do things expected of him.

In Dark Souls, players have clunky movement because the game works against them. Ghost of Tsushima offers a different game feel that makes it a satisfying game.

Jin Sakai is a compelling character because of his game feel

Ghost of Tsushima character Jin Sakai is satisfying to play and compelling to wield. It’s because he has a good game feel that meticulously emulates a samurai’s movement.


In players’ heads, a samurai armor or karuta should be heavy. In the game, Jin Sakai is not only heavy to use but agile in battle too. He doesn’t dance around his enemies like how Ubisoft does Assassin’s Creed combat.

Instead, Jin Sakai is agile, calculated, but slow to wield. Every sword swing feels sharp and powerful, full of strength from a master swordsman. In stealth missions, Jin doesn’t fumble about, as he’s light on his feet.

He is fluid to use, responsive in movement, and very compelling in combat. Jin’s game feel fits the way he moves in war and out of it. His “ghost” movements are lithe, but his samurai skills are straightforward, bordering fundamental.

Ghost of Tsushima is a masterclass when it comes to finding the right game feel. The game’s popularity to players is proof that having a good game feel to a character can make a difference.

Images courtesy of PlayStation/Youtube Screenshot

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