Reviews

Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut – A Cut Above

Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut – A Cut Above

PS5/PS4

I was fortuitous enough to experience Sucker Punch’s newest IP last year in the form of Ghost Of Tsushima, and my love with it was near instantaneous, with the game pairing immerse combat, a vast, beautiful world, and an enthralling narrative together in ways that few open-world titles have successfully accomplished to date. Immediately smitten I found myself search every nook and cranny for nuggets of storytelling, of lore and hints at the broader world of 1274 Tsushima, and the Sakai clan, so when the Director’s Cut was announced, with new story DLC in tow, it was exactly what this fan was looking for. Now that it’s here, it’s not at all unreasonable to conclude that the tales of Iki island have further enhanced one of 2020’s finest titles, while some smart quality of life additions improve the core game significantly as well.

Iki island is the star of the Director’s Cut experience, becoming available to all players after they’ve begun the core game’s second act, though undoubtedly many will be approaching this expansion with a fully powered-up, end-game Jin. Iki takes a deeper look at the story of Jin and his father, his father’s death, Jin’s involvement (or lack of), and the Mongols, led by a deadly figure known as ‘The Eagle’, who’ve already assumed near-total dominance of Iki and has cast her eyes toward Tsushima. It’s this eagerness to spread her wings of influence further that catches Jin’s eye and prompts his departure to Iki to learn more of the island’s goings-on, of course leading to deadly encounters with The Eagle and her legion of followers. The Eagle doesn’t fight fairly, and Jin’s boundaries are tested in a host of ways, but overall the narrative is a fairly simple one. Jin finds himself taunted by his inaction that played a part in his father’s death, and the influence of The Eagle only further exacerbates this. It’s not an especially deep story compared to the original release, but it’s still quite fascinating to explore some of its intricacies and of course the fantastic Mythic Tales which are, as was the case of the main game, incredible.

The playing experience of Iki doesn’t evolve in any notable ways, rather the challenge for players will be adjusting to the flow of combat and to enemies who, like Jin, can and will switch their fighting stances. Combatants in the main game always fought in one way, so the fact that Mongols will switch things up when fighting ensures the dynamic continues to shift as a battle plays out. Beyond that, Jin’s methods of combat haven’t changed, and the options available in the world haven’t greatly changed either. That’s no bad thing though, as a year later, both aspects shine just as brightly as they did before. Of course in the year since launch, Ghost Of Tsushima Legends has been introduced, so new players to the game will get their first opportunity to try out Sucker Punch’s acclaimed multiplayer mode, with the promise of more regular additions incoming being an extra temptation

Though the Iki island expansion is undoubtedly the star of the package, other tweaks and changes must also be noted in this launch. Improvements to facial animations during dialogue, namely the Japanese are present, while player requested features such as target lock-on, alternative options to controller inputs and more are present, while the PS5 version also takes full advantage of the haptics in the Dualsense creating an even more immerse playing experience. 

The world of Tsushima was astonishingly beautiful, and Iki island fits in neatly with the core game. The island shares some commonalities with Tsushima, but deviates in a few others making for a familiar, but still a new feeling environment that tempts players with things to explore, and threats to counteract. The soundtrack, a year on, sticks out as strongly as it did, with new additions to Iki again fitting seamlessly.

Ghost Of Tsushima was already one of the most beloved games of an exceptional 2020 gaming calendar, and with Director’s Cut, the title has only gotten better again. Though the additional content isn’t especially long, ~4 hours if mainlined, plus Mythic Tales and other side-quests and collectibles on top of that; it more than justifies the upgrade, either on PS4 or PS5.

Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut was reviewed on the PS5 with code kindly supplied by PlayStation Australia.