Ghost of Tsushima was a breakthrough hit when it was released on the PlayStation 4 in 2020. Released very late in the generation, it took many by surprise and stands out as one of the last jewels of the PS4 console generation. For anyone who missed out on this title, or is itching for a little more, the director’s cut brings the game to the PS5 with some fresh new content.
For those thinking of picking this up, having played the original, you will be happy to know that your game save will work with the Director’s Cut. This will let you pick up where you left off and head straight over to Iki Island without having to play through the entire game all over again.
Although the game save support is handy, having to replay this game again from the start wouldn’t be a huge punishment. If you thought the game looked good on PS4, just wait until you see it on PS5. This game is just jaw-dropping. All of the same beautiful forests and fields of flowers are back but with superior lighting effects and much sharper textures. You can get a full gallery of some of the most attractive moments here.
On top of having the game look so good, there are no load screens. Fast travelling from one point of the map to another results in a brief black screen. By most standards, the fast travel is a seamless experience with no waiting around for the scenic forests and meadows to load up.
The gorgeous visuals may be the first thing to catch your eye about the director’s cut but this game has no shortage of substance. The same heart-pumping swordplay returns that will make for some exciting battles. Exciting battles are quite plentiful on Iki island too. An incredible balance has been achieved between creating intense battles that also take advantage of the games stunning scenery.
The swordplay is incredibly tight and dealing with multiple enemies at once gets the heart racing but you will often find that you take damage from an enemy sword that is off-screen. Trying to quickly roll around while recentering the camera is something you will have to get the hang of, but even then, it sometimes feels like the camera could do with pulling back during these larger combat scenes to give you a better view of the enemies that are in your immediate vicinity.
The problem gets a little worse during the scenes where Jin is struggling to deal with the effect The Eagle is having on him. You break out of a haze to find an enemy is already swinging their weapon at you and you take damage before you even know what is happening.
The director’s cut adds a pretty handy lock on the target system that helps to alleviate some of these problems. When you kill an enemy, it will auto-lock on to the next enemy, helping you turn the camera in the process. This helps you quickly tear through groups of enemies by forcing Jin to focus on one enemy at a time. The system gets in the way during stealth scenes but fortunately, it can be easily toggled.
While the story for the main game sticks to a more traditional Japanese samurai story, Iki island will bring you through a far more fantasy inspired story. Having been fed a magical potion, Jin’s mind is invaded by a woman named The Eagle who is trying to control his fate. Your journey through Iki island will have you meet new friends as you work to break the control The Eagle has over you.
The story is much shorter than the main game and can be finished in around 6-8 hours but is a very satisfying experience. The only disappointing part is the lack of activities to keep you occupied outside of the main quest. Exploring the island is quite satisfying on its own, but for those that crave more structure to your exploration, such as side quests, you will find Iki island lacking in this department.