Ghost of Tsushima was one of my favourite PS4 games of 2020. Developed by Sucker Punch and published by Sony, it featured great combat, a fantastic story and a world that was a pleasure to explore. Recently, the game received an upgraded PS5 version in the form of the Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut. This complete package includes the base game and the all-new Iki Island Expansion, which offers a bit of a look into the backstory of the game’s protagonist, Jin Sakai. Is it worth donning the Ghost Armour again? Let’s find out.
The story takes place during the events of the main game and can be accessed after the end of Act 1. The invading Mongols are still the enemy but instead of going up against Khotun Khan, Jin will be facing off with The Eagle, the mysterious leader of the forces invading Iki Island. She is just as ruthless as Khotun Khan, but her methods are quite different; opting to simultaneously bolster her forces and weaken the island’s inhabitants with a powerful drug. Jin also experiences flashbacks from when he first visited the island with his father during his youth, although a good few of these reveal some uncomfortable truths about his past.
The story itself is quite entertaining and fits rather nicely with the main campaign. If this were played straight after the first act and not on a complete save like I did, then it would feel quite seamless. It does take a detour off the main map of Tsushima Island, but also addresses Jin’s past and provides more context on some of the feelings he reflects upon in the main game. The Eagle, while quite a decent antagonist, feels somewhat underutilised. She only really appears at the beginning and end of the expansion, aside from hearing her voice now and then.
There are also some flashbacks that occur during gameplay thanks to a drug that is given to Jin at the start of the Iki Island campaign. These tend to happen at seemingly random times, but are generally tied to what Jin is doing at that moment, be it sneaking or approaching a certain location on the map. At first, these are quite trippy and somewhat insightful, but towards the end, admittedly, they started to feel like an inconvenience.
In terms of the core gameplay, not much has changed. Players will still explore Iki Island in the same way that they did Tsushima Island. However, there are new side quests, challenges, shrines, bamboo strikes and collectibles to be found dotted all over the landscape. There’s also a flute mini-game that can be played at animal sanctuaries, which works just like a rhythm game and sees you tilting the DualSense controller to keep a ball in the confines of a set of lines. Just like the base game, exploration is fantastic and also quite rewarding.
The combat in Ghost of Tsushima has also been tweaked slightly with the addition of a new enemy type, the Shaman. This enemy wields a spear and isn’t the most gifted warrior, but what he lacks in strength, he makes up for in support. The Shaman can buff every enemy in close proximity, making them more resistant to damage and less susceptible to having their guard broken. The buffed enemies are also significantly more aggressive and can deal a fair amount of damage in a short time, so taking out the Shaman should be given priority. These enemies can be quite daunting when first encountered but it changes up the flow of combat nicely.
There’s also an additional skill tree in the Ghost of Tsushima Iki Island Expansion, but it’s not really for Jin, but actually for his horse. While riding, Jin can have his horse charge at full speed into a group of enemies by holding down the L1 button. This expends some resolve to pull off but it’s such an entertaining way to thin out a group and better your chances at survival.
Some new armour sets and sword kits are available in the Iki Island Expansion. The most notable set removes the ability to parry normally but greatly buffs perfect parries, allowing Jin to perform three devastating counter attacks when executed correctly. There are even some less obvious armour sets that reference characters from other popular Sony franchises such as God of War, Bloodborne and Shadow of the Colossus.
Ghost of Tsushima’s Iki Island expansion, while a great addition to the story, is quite a short experience. If exploring everything that the Island has to offer, it could take up to 12 hours to complete, and if only tackling the main story quests, possibly in half that time.
The Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut brings with it not just the Iki Island expansion, but also some next gen upgrades for the game as a whole. The adaptive triggers and haptic feedback of the DualSense controller have been utilised really well with the gameplay, delivering an immersive experience. Visually, it’s not a massive leap since the original game already looked gorgeous on the PS4. However, it does sport a smoother frame rate and incredibly short load times.
Ghost of Tsushima Iki Island is a great addition to the already fantastic offering of the base game. The story gives us more about Jin’s past while also introducing us to a new antagonist, even if she is a little under-utilised. The gameplay is still great and offers even more to do around the island. The game is quite short though, however, the features from the Director’s Cut really add value to the game as a whole and honestly makes it incredibly immersive. If you’re a newcomer, this is a great package to pick up and if you already own Ghost of Tsushima, it’s worth upgrading to the Director’s Cut!
Story8/10 Very Good
- A deeper look into Jin's past
- New skill tree and armour
- DualSense support
- Shamans change the flow of combat
- Iki Island expansion is short
- Some flashbacks start to feel like an inconvenience after a while