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Is ‘Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut’ worth the upgrade price?

Some gamers are dismissing the price tag on Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, but this is a game that has given players so much for free already.

In Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut you’ll sail to Iki, an island to the south-east of Tsushima, to quash a tribe of ritualistic Mongols and their mysterious leader, The Eagle. But it’s bigger than that. You’ll learn even more about the fascinating Jin Sakai, encounter hair-raising Japanese folklore, and explore some of the prettiest vistas ever rendered for video games.

The upgrade to PS4 favourite Ghost of Tsushima is large in scope, and comes with a DLC-sized price tag to match. New armour, new cosmetics, and new combat techniques are all on the menu, ready to compliment your adventures through Iki Island. Not to mention a story that will truly hook you in.

Iki, for its part, is as gorgeous as the island of Tsushima itself. It’s slightly more mountainous, bathed in a few more colours, and contains a number of cute new animals to cuddle. If you loved how the original world of Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima looked, you’ll be blown away by the expansion.

Those playing on PS5 will score some additional benefits, such as the game running at a constant 60FPS, quicker load times, lip sync on Japanese dialogue, haptic feedback specially built for the PS5 controller, and improvements to 3D audio. What all that means is that Ghost of Tsushima on PS5 looks – and feels – better than ever. Who knew that was even possible?

After discovering a foreboding Mongol raiding party on the coast of Tsushima, Jin will make his way to Iki island to find out more. A storm almost stops the story right there, but soon you’ll be washed up on the shores of Iki, ready for the horrors and the wonders that await you.

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut
Image: Ghost of Tsushima / Sucker Punch

The plot of the Iki island expansion isn’t simply Jin versus the Mongols, or Jin versus the Eagle. Iki Island is where Jin’s father, Kazumasa Sakai, was killed during Jin’s teenage years – a flashback all Ghost of Tsushima players would have experienced in the base game.

Being back on the island forces Jin to relive the war his father inflicted upon Iki and its people. The fact that Jin is quickly drugged by the Eagle with some psychedelic mixture that triggers hallucinations, terror, and memories doesn’t help one bit.

Without spoiling the story beats, it’s another stunner from the Sucker Punch writing room. Jin’s character is taken deeper than ever as he comes to terms with the man his father was, and by extension, the man he must choose to become.

Image: Ghost of Tsushima / Sucker Punch

To help players conquer Iki Island and its many difficult foes – which, I should mention, are far deadlier than those in the base game – Jin will master some flashy new tricks. Your loyal horse will learn to smash through enemies with a vicious charge, and a unique new armour set improves perfect parries and dodges, making them more vicious than ever.

New world encounters, such as animal sanctuaries and archery challenges, will provide some very interesting new charms as well. The fact that you occasionally get to save a group of innocent cats, deer, or monkeys while unlocking these upgrades is just the icing on the cake.

That’s not to say the usual landmarks have gone anywhere. Those exploring Iki Island’s many nooks and crannies will come across additional bamboo strikes, hot springs, and shrines to bolster their skills ever further. And by the time you come face-to-face with The Eagle, you’ll need it.

Iki Island is as good a reason to return to Ghost of Tsushima as players will get. It’s another well-executed chapter in the story of Jin Sakai, but where the expansion is strongest are in its more subtle moments; riding across a plain of flowers, approaching a shrine that sits atop a solitary isle, or stalking through a nightmarish cave in search of a legendary pirate’s armour.

The original Ghost of Tsushima delivered one of the most beautiful open worlds ever realised in video game history, and Director’s Cut cements that position. Iki Island feels as much like a painting as it does a video game, a lovingly crafted visual masterpiece that’s a privilege to adventure in.

The fact that it’s backed up by more brutally satisfying combat, a cast of involving new characters, and more ways than ever to make this world your own, makes it a home run. Not to mention easily worth the price of admission.

 

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is out now on PS5 and PS4.