Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut PS5 Review: It's an unmissable expansion

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Sucker Punch Productions' Ghost of Tsushima was easily one of the best games of 2020 and could be regarded as one of the best PlayStation exclusives to date.

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut, which has released a year later on PS5, takes everything to the next level. From the fluid combat to the gripping narrative, the wonderful sound design to the plethora of additional activities and collectables... Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut is easily one of the best games available on the PS5 right now.

Table of Contents

NARRATIVE - Iki Island adds important depth to Jin's character

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Ghost of Tsushima's narrative is largely unchanged between the original release and the Director's Cut, as you can imagine. This isn't a bad thing though, of course, as the main narrative of Ghost of Tsushima is excellent.

Jin Sakai must wrestle with his own demons - fighting against every fibre of his being - to become the Ghost of Tsushima and save his people from Khotun Khan and the Mongolian Invasion.

As a Samurai, Jin Sakai's life was bound by a strict code of honour. However, honour doesn't stop a Mongolian Warlord from enslaving your people - despite what Lord Shimura wants you to think. As Jin Sakai is forced to adopt different methods of tackling the threat posed by Khotun Khan and his forces, he is also forced to confront his own insecurities and what it means to be a Samurai.

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut Jin Sakai
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TRULY INCREDIBLE - Ghost of Tsushima is easily one of the best PlayStation games of all time...

The "Side Tales" that run alongside the main narrative in Ghost of Tsushima are also all wonderful stories in their own right - Lady Masako's being a particular favourite.

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Each one is carefully interwoven with the main narrative and the prominent characters Jin Sakai will meet throughout his journey to provide an important depth to the story. In fact, some of the most dramatic narrative plot points come from these unsuspecting secondary narrative arcs.

The Iki Island Expansion - that ships exclusively with the Director's Cut version of Ghost of Tsushima - however, is a different story. For the most part, this is a wonderful exploration into Jin Sakai's history and his relationship to his father - who died before the events of Ghost of Tsushima take place, when Jin was barely a teenager.

Be aware, mild narrative spoilers follow...

The Iki Island Expansion's main narrative is something of a two-parter. On one side of things, Jin Sakai is attempting to save Iki Island from the dangerous Eagle Tribe and The Eagle herself - an off-shoot of the Mongolians attacking Tsushima.

On the other side, Jin Sakai is dealing with his father's death. The death of Jin's father isn't something that is really explored in any great detail in Ghost of Tsushima's main narrative and it's almost a crime that we've had to wait this long as fans.

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut Fune
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THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY... - Jin Sakai must work with those who killed his father to tackle The Eagle.

However, you can't help but feel Sucker Punch Productions has over-complicated things. At the start of the Iki Island Expansion, Jin Sakai is poisoned by The Eagle. This poison causes hallucinations and visions throughout the main narrative of the Iki Island Expansion - some of them are woven into the narrative of the expansion, but others occur randomly while exploring Iki Island.

When they happen randomly, they're actually quite jarring. We know that's sort of the point, but The Eagle's poison, to put it plainly, feels completely unnecessary.

Jin Sakai already has flashbacks to his time on Iki Island with his father throughout the narrative of the Iki Island Expansion - it seems a little over the top to throw more hallucinations into the mix at such a high frequency. There's a lot of wonderful character work being done with Jin Sakai throughout - much like the main narrative of Ghost of Tsushima - and it really doesn't need the psychological horror edge brought about by the hallucinations and ethereal voice of The Eagle.

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Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut Jin Sakai
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JARRING HALLUCINATIONS - Jin Sakai is dealing with a lot on Iki Island...

The Eagle's manipulations would feel much more impactful if they were done without the use of a mysterious poison. It feels like a cheap way of explaining what's happening, which is a shame - Jin Sakai's journey to forgiveness in the Iki Island Expansion is one of the best narrative arcs in the entirety of Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut.

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NEXT-GEN FEATURES - It's one of the best PS5 games out there

Over the last few months, we've seen quite a few PS4 titles get "next-gen upgrades" and a PS5 release. Some of these are quite mediocre, only offering improved frame rates and faster loading times, and some of these are spectacular. Ghost of Tsushima's next-gen Director's Cut release is the latter - and then some.

The DualSense is utilised to its full potential in Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut - the Haptic Feedback while riding your horse in-game is some of the best we've experienced so far.

The Adaptive Triggers are also in full play when it comes to using the variety of ranged weapons in Ghost of Tsushima - if anything, they're a little too intense! You feel the strain on the bowstring as you draw an arrow. You can feel Jin's arm trembling as he prepares to fire. It's a minor detail, in the grand scheme, but an important one.

We didn't think Ghost of Tsushima really needed a graphical enhancement - the original release of the game is stunning - however, Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut is just that little bit better. When you combine this with the faster loading times, it's clear that the Director's Cut release of Ghost of Tsushima on PS5 is the only way to play Sucker Punch's game.

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut Jin Sakai
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RIGHT FROM THE START - You notice the improvements from the first cutscene

Furthermore, the introduction of the Japanese Lip Sync for the Japanese Language Audio is - if anything - worth the purchase of the Director's Cut on PS5 alone. It isn't perfect, but the difference between the Japanese Language Audio with Japanese Lip Sync and without is huge.

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IKI ISLAND - New Side Activities & Mechanics flesh everything out

Ghost of Tsushima's Director's Cut release doesn't just add a new narrative arc with the Iki Island Expansion... There's a lot of new content that makes this worth picking up.

Firstly, there's the new gameplay mechanics that the Director's Cut adds to Ghost of Tsushima. There's new Weapon Charms to be found and a new Horse Charge ability which help to add even more depth to Ghost of Tsushima's rich combat. In addition, there are new armour sets - which add new improvements - and new cosmetics can be found hidden throughout the Iki Island Expansion.

Sucker Punch Productions has also added the Pull mechanic to Jin Sakai's Climbing Hook. Although we've only found this in play on Iki Island, it helps to add a little more depth and utility to this tool that is otherwise only used for swinging and climbing. It's a shame you can't use it in combat, really.

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut Climbing Hook
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VERSATILITY IS IMPORTANT - The new mechanics keep everything fresh...

Iki Island's Animal Sanctuaries also deserve a mention. They might just be another way for you to earn Weapon Charms and pet animals in-game, but they add a little bit of variety to Ghost of Tsushima's range side activities.

In order to play the flute successfully during these encounters, you actually need to tilt the DualSense controller to accurately match the note Jin is trying to play. It's another minor detail in the grand scheme of things, but it's important to mention. Sucker Punch Productions has really hit every note with Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut.

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Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut - Verdict

In short, Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut is easily one of the best PS5 games out there at the moment and worth every penny on both current-gen and next-gen consoles. The narrative expansion it offers is an unmissable exploration into Jin Sakai's life before Komoda Beach and the Mongolian Invasion. In addition, it offers hours of additional gameplay outside of the main narrative arc on Iki Island itself with a few new gameplay mechanics to boot.

Sucker Punch Productions has, somehow, improved on perfection and delivered an enhanced version of a wonderful game. The additional purchase might put you off, but you'd be missing out on some of Ghost of Tsushima's best bits if you didn't pick it up and play through everything else on offer.

RealSport Rating: 5 Stars(out of 5)

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut was reviewed on the PS5 with a code provided by Sucker Punch Productions.