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Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is a must-play on PS5 | Review

Last year, Sucker Punch Productions released the smash hit Ghost of Tsushima. Becoming a massive tentpole title for the new console (and an unforgettable swan song for the old one), the Kurosawa-inspired action-adventure game won over the masses. We’re now on the cusp of the release of Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, the hybrid expansion and PlayStation 5 upgrade.

Ghost of Tsushima was widely considered one of 2020’s must-play games. It introduced players to Jin Sakai, a noble samurai warrior and sole member of the Sakai clan on Tsushima island. As the Mongolian army moved in to usurp the island, Jin grappled with honoring tradition as a samurai and adopting the Ghost mantle to defend his island.

Following the game’s stellar launch, Sucker Punch added the free multiplayer Legends mode, which added a dynamic new edge to the gameplay and introduced players to raids. Now, Ghost of Tsushima fans can return to the game for a new experience.

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut introduces Iki Island, a new region that neighbors Tsushima. It injects a fresh environment to explore, with new mini-games, enemies, and a story that sees Jin at his most vulnerable. Naturally, PlayStation 5 players gain access to exclusive features that take advantage of the hardware.

Source: PlayStation

Sucker Punch has gone above and beyond in treating fans of the original with more of what they love. Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is more than a traditional expansion. On PlayStation 5, it becomes the definitive version of the game.

Sins of the father

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut inserts the Iki Island story following the events of the first arc. After completing the Toyotama region, players will unlock a new quest where Jin investigates a small village and discovers a new faction of Mongols have invaded the island. Jin then decides to investigate by travelling to their point of origin, Iki Island, a location connected to his past.

Jin carries a lot of baggage with him concerning Iki Island. In the base game, we’re shown the textured relationship he shares with Lord Shimura, Jin’s mentor and father figure. In the Iki Island expansion, we’re given a direct look at the dynamic Jin had with his true father. Iki Island’s story shows Jin wrestle with the ghosts of his past.

Source: PlayStation

Returning to Iki Island, Jin squares up with The Eagle, the leader of the new Mongol army. Upon meeting Jin, she stirs up memories that Jin has buried deep within his subconscious. He must come to terms with his father’s actions, free the land, and win the allegiance of the Iki residents .

The core narrative of the Iki content is fairly compact but effective nonetheless. If you invested yourself into the overarching story and Jin as a character, there would be a lot to sink your teeth into. As the darkness of his past begins to seep through the cracks, we get to experience a new, more vulnerable side of Jin.

A new land ripe for exploration

Iki Island not only integrates a story that’s full of texture, but the new map is also home to many activities and side quests to fill in the 8-10 hour total completion time. You’ll find the standard fair of Hot Springs, Bamboo Strikes, and Lighthouses.

Additionally, Sucker Punch has added a small number of new activities to complete, including my personal favorite: Sanctuaries. In this activity, Jin sits down with his flute and recounts songs his mother taught him to attract and calm a nearby animal. The activity uses the controller’s motion sensor in a rhythm-based mini-game. It’s a reminder of how strong the more passive moments in Ghost of Tsushima can be.

Source: PlayStation

Additionally, the new map is home to Archery Challenges. These will really test your mettle behind the bow. Having to hit a series of lanterns within a time limit is tough. Doing it all in seven seconds for gold was downright impossible for this wannabe bowman.

The other notable activity that deserves players’ attention is Memories of Your Father. Here, Jin will recount intimate moments he shared with his father on Iki Island when he was younger. As these add extra layers to the story being told, this activity complements the expansion in a really remarkable way.

From a combat and gear perspective, the additions within the Iki Island expansion are kind of lackluster. The major addition to combat is the Horse Charge. When riding your steed, you can charge into a group of enemies, killing them instantly. It’s novel at first, but doesn’t dramatically change the moment-to-moment gameplay outside of the open-world areas. Outside of that, the Director’s Cut adds new armor and dyes, and I will say that the new crimson dye looks very sharp on Jin.

Ghost of a new generation

Alongside the Iki Island expansion, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut adds the long-requested PlayStation 5 upgrade. Although the upgrade does come with a $9.99USD price tag on top of the $19.99USD cost of the expansion for those who own the base game on PlayStation 4, you do receive quite a number of new features.

Source: PlayStation

Most notably, when played on PlayStation 5, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is rendered at a beautiful 4K and aims at 60FPS. Ghost of Tsushima was already hailed as a marvel to look at on the previous console. Now, the vibrancy of the map is awe-inspiring. I began feeling back for the DualSense’s capture button as I relentlessly created screenshots throughout my playthrough.

On top of that, fans will be treated with proper lip sync for Japanese voice-over, a feature that many have requested since launch. Enhanced 3D audio goes a long way since the game uses audio queues from the wind for navigation.

Finally, like many first-party PlayStation 5 games, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut uses the DualSense’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. As Jin pulls back on his bow, you feel the tension in the trigger. It’s nothing new that we haven’t seen before. However, it’s the subtle uses of the haptics that won me over. The haptics hit so nicely when you strike an enemy’s shield in combat. You truly feel the individual hoofs of your horse as you gallop.

There’s a lot incorporated into the PlayStation 5 version of Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut. If having the best version of the game is important to you, then the only question left is whether the upgrade fee is worth it for you.

Final thoughts

Playing Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut on the PlayStation 5, I can firmly say that it’s become the definitive way to experience the game. The Iki Island expansion adds a welcome new layer to Jin as a character, reminding us we’re still getting to know him. The new story doesn’t feel out of place, but rather complements the base game.

There isn’t much added in terms of gameplay mechanics. However, the map is padded out with enough compelling content to whisk you off Tsushima island for an unexpectedly decent amount of time. The Iki Island expansion isn’t just some tacked-on piece of DLC. It stands as a complementary addition to Jin’s journey.

For those eager to play on the new hardware, rest assured that Sucker Punch gave Ghost of Tsushima the proper upgrade treatment. While the argument of whether next-gen upgrades should come with a price tag continues, the game doesn’t pull any punches from a technical standpoint.

A copy of Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut was provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment Canada for review purposes. 

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Steve Vegvari

Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His adoration for everything gaming began very early on in the SNES-era. He’s gone on to write honest content around the web. While not writing about games, Steve is often looking for the next big narrative-driven title. Something with an impactful story, regardless of genre or platform. Bonus points if it has an appealing achievement/trophy list!
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