If you have ever wanted to play through an Akira Kurosawa film and perform incredible feats of swordplay in one of the most gorgeous games ever made, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is the game for you, but is it worth the money? Here’s our Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut where we put it to the test!
What is Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut
Intended as the definitive version of the game, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut comes with the original game itself, the Iki Island expansion along with additional improvements that include a Hero of Tsushima skin set, a director’s commentary for the game and for PS5 owners, Dual Sense controller interactivity and seamless lip synching for character models when you play with Japanese voices during gameplay.
The upgrade path if you own the original Ghost of Tsushima PS4 version is a bit obtuse but you can upgrade to the PS4 Director’s Cut version or upgrade straight to the PS5 Director’s Cut version, both for a discounted price. You can check out the exact upgrade path on the official Playstation website here. For our Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut review, we played the game on a PS4 Pro.
What is in the Iki Island expansion?
The biggest addition to Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, the Iki Island expansion pack is available after Act One and takes place in a separate island from the main game that involves Jin resolving some skeletons in the Sakai family closet while attempting to deal with a unique sect of Mongols invading Iki Island lead by an enigmatic enemy called ‘The Eagle’ who has an unorthodox appreciation for pharmaceuticals.
Storyline aside, the expansion itself offers new minigames including one where you have to play a flute for cute fauna at animal sanctuaries dotted about the island for upgrades, a new Mongol Shaman enemy that buffs fellow Mongol warriors with chants that requires new tactics to counter and, of course, new loot to acquire on top of a solid storyline that requires a good dozen plus hours to finish.
Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut Review – Gameplay
For the uninitiated, Ghost of Tsushima has you as one Jin Sakai, a samurai attempting to single handedly free his home, the island of Tsushima from a Mongol invasion which places the game somewhere around 1274AD. To do so he has to explore the length and breadth of the island, gain new combat skills and generally become a living Cuisinart blender of bladed doom through your diligent efforts.
The backbone of the game revolves around a series of core missions that advance the storyline to liberate Tsushima from the Mongols and which occur in sequence but you are able to take these storyline missions at leisure and pursue other side missions as well as explore the entire island at your own pace.The game also offers an ensemble of strong supporting characters who will cross paths with Jin and then help him in ways outside of combat as logistics support.
In terms of the core gameplay loop, you’ll have Jin explore the island on foot or on horseback to uncover new areas and loot. Ever so often, you’ll encounter Mongol patrols as well as detachments clustered around areas of interest like villages, strongholds or whatnot.
Naturally, this won’t stand and Jin will have to aggressively persuade these enemies to meet their ancestors early at the business end of his katana or a bow.
Combat primarily involves breathtakingly visceral sword duels including the option to call out your enemies for an epic showdown though many of the area liberation sequences also allow for the option to sneak around and stealth kill the opposition using liberal amounts of parkour in a nod to Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry. It’s your call on how to take the battle to the enemy and both approaches are equally valid.
In between battles, you’ll have to gather materials across the land for crafting better gear, hunt for shrines hidden across the land for upgrades and generally bask in the ambience of a slice of medieval Japan.
Rather than simply slapping on a heads-up display and a GPS with a giant glowing arrow in the vein of many other open world games, Ghost of Tsushima allows you to summon a guiding gust of wind that rustles the reeds and grass in the direction that you’re supposed to head. It’s an incredibly subtle approach to gameplay that delivers critical game mechanics yet does not compromise on immersion.
While the battle sequences are intense, they are also extremely rewarding indeed for skilled players who can chain and sequence masterful attacks with your choice of four lethal stances that look like they’re straight from a Jidaigeki flick.
It’s all not a mere hack fest though as not all enemies attack the same way with spearmen and archers requiring slightly different tactics and the game does a fantastic job of gradually layering on the complexity of skirmishes and increasing enemy diversity (and numbers) so that you’ll have to eventually require the use of every trick and skill in your arsenal to prevail.
There’s a gentle learning curve, a deep storyline and plenty of real estate to explore and missions to experience. Including the Iki Island expansion, you’re easily looking at 30 plus hours and up just pursuing just the core campaign and likely double that if you aim to complete everything in the game.
While the storyline and skirmishes are fantastic, the true star of the game is the beautiful scenery which consists of a host of biomes ranging from the vast grasslands to the dark forests and vast tundras -there’s literally no spot in the game that hasn’t been lavished with love and attention and every inch of the game is truly wallpaper worthy.
As I’ve never played the game before this and leapt straight into Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, it’s a bit difficult to draw parallels to the newer PS5 and slightly older PS4 performance with the game, but across my experience with our Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut review sample on a PS4 Pro, it had minimal loading times and ran smoothly without issue without artifacting or any major graphical glitches.
Perhaps the biggest annoyance here is the fact that the Iki Island expansion is only available after completing Act One which in itself is a pretty major undertaking especially for those who are playing the game for the first time. Those who have completed the original game and load an old save file will fortunately be able to visit Iki Island from the get-go.
From start to finish, production values for both the game design, gameplay, graphics and especially the audio are top notch. The hauntingly beautiful soundtrack and superb voice acting that I played through in both English and Japanese served to elevate the immersion of the game to new heights.
You can even turn on the unique Kurosawa Mode that tweaks the graphics to black and white, ups the film grain and then tweaks the audio to make it seem like it’s made using retro audio tech to make it seem like you’re truly playing through an Akira Kurosawa film in all its glory
Should you buy Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut?
If you’ve ever experienced or loved any of the classic Samurai movies, or just looking to experience gaming at its finest, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is a truly worthy investment especially for those who have never played the original game before.
For those who have and who have already invested in the original core game, the added price of entry and the addition of the Iki Island expansion is still worth the price of entry.
Publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer Sucker Punch Productions
Reviewed on PS4 Pro – Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut Review sample courtesy of PlayStation For more details visit https://www.playstation.com/en-my/games/ghost-of-tsushima/
Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut
Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut
The Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is the Criterion equivalent of this gaming magnum opus, adding the new Iki Island expansion, quality of life improvements and the original grippingly immersive main game into a comprehensive package. This is console gaming at its finest and a mandatory acquisition for any gamer.
Wonderfully immersive game mechanics
Superb sound music and sound effects
Iki Island expansion is set midway through the game