Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut Review: A Return Trip Worth Taking

When Ghost of Tsushima first released last year on PlayStation 4, I wasn't as keen on it as some others. Although I definitely enjoyed my time with it, I did have some qualms, specifically with the more repetitious aspects of the game. As such, coming into Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut, I was wondering if the next-gen features and expansion content would do anything to sway how I already felt about the title. Much to my surprise, Director's Cut has been able to do just that, primarily thanks to the addition of Iki Island, which might very well contain the best content in the entirety of Ghost of Tsushima

For the most part, Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut is a pretty straightforward package. The base game, which centers around a samurai named Jin Sakai who has to thwart an invasion of Mongols, is still included in this release. If you'd like to read our review of that game, you can find it right here

With Director's Cut, the main pillars that have been added this time around include the upgraded features for PS5 to go along with the aforementioned Iki Island expansion (which is also available on PS4). Despite previously having released a PS5 upgrade for the PS4 version of Ghost of Tsushima, Sucker Punch Productions has now been able to better tap into the new features that Sony's next-gen console offers. The DualSense has now been taken advantage of, visuals look sharper, and loading times are practically nowhere to be found. 

(Photo: PlayStation)

While these quality of life improvements are very much welcome, if there is any one area of Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut that I am disappointed with, it comes with the game's new features for PS5. Don't get me wrong: graphically, Ghost of Tsushima is a stunner on PS5, which says a lot given that it already looked fantastic on PS4. However, the graphics and performance improvements alone aren't a very drastic leap up from the upgraded PS4 version of the game that can be played via backward compatibility on PS5. In addition, I also have to say that I was disappointed by how Sucker Punch took advantage of the DualSense controller. While there are some noticeable uses of haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, for the most part, this isn't a game that's going to serve as a great showcase for what the DualSense is capable of. Overall, the cost to upgrade your PS4 version to this PS5 iteration isn't really worth it. 

Despite this, the real reason that you'll want to look to pick up Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut is thanks to Iki Island, which is great in nearly every way. This new piece of DLC takes Jin to the titular island where he has to confront a new enemy, while also owning up to his ghosts from the past. In the process, you're given free rein to explore a completely new region that is filled with some of the most breathtaking locales in the entire game--which is saying a lot.

What I think I enjoyed the most about Iki Island in Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut was the storytelling, which really surprised me. The throughline narrative that Ghost of Tsushima tells never clicked with me when I originally played it. Part of that was because I felt as though Jin never got his own time to shine in many instances. Iki Island does away with many side characters from the original game to tell a story that ties back in with Jin, his father, and those who were responsible for the death of Jin's dad. The result is a narrative that isn't just great from beginning to end, but it's also one that did more to make me appreciate Jin's character than ever before. Iki Island explores Jin on a level that Ghost of Tsushima's mainline narrative beats fail to touch on. 

(Photo: PlayStation)

Outside of the main path, Iki Island has a lot of additional chores that you can take on as well. While many of these are similar to what was seen in the base game (bathing in a hot spring, chopping bamboo, writing haikus), other new tasks have also been added. The most notable of these new events involves animal sanctuaries, which will allow you to play tunes for various animals you may come across. These moments are surprisingly sweet and there aren't too many of them, which keeps them feeling fresh. Along with these secondary objectives, side missions that you can complete for the denizens of Iki Island are also contained in this expansion. Much like the main story of this DLC, most of the side narratives you'll come across are quite strong and feel like they have a legitimate purpose to play within the larger conflict happening in the region. 

And while it's definitely not something that makes or breaks Iki Island, Sucker Punch has included some fantastic Easter eggs in this Ghost of Tsushima expansion that call back to other beloved PlayStation properties. If you liked the many different costumes that Jin could equip in the base game, you'll definitely get a kick out of some of the new outfits that he can now don.

Whether you have played Ghost of Tsushima before and are simply looking to upgrade on PS5, or you have never experienced Sucker Punch's latest title, Director's Cut is definitely worth picking up. Not only has the PS5 improved the base version of the game that launched in 2020, but the Iki Island expansion on its own contains some of my favorite content in the entirety of Ghost of Tsushima. No matter how you might look to upgrade or purchase the new offerings that have been included, Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut is definitely worth the return trip to Tsushima.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut is available now on PS5 and PS4. A review code was provided by PlayStation for the purpose of this review and the game itself was reviewed on PS5.