Platform(s): PS4, PS5
Genre: Open-World, Action RPG, Stealth, Historical
Sucker Punch Productions finally released Ghost Of Tsushima last year after more than five years of development. It turned out to be one of the best games in 2020 (and probably even of the generation). Fast-forward a year later and they have surprised us yet again with Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut, which is basically a fancy name for the new Iki Island expansion.
Is Iki Island a worthy addition to the already impressive base game? Read on to find out.
No Samurai Allowed
Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut introduces a brand new map to explore, Iki Island. Despite not being as big as Tsushima Island, Iki Island offers a different setting both in terms of narrative and gameplay. I can’t spoil much from the Iki Island expansion’s plot, but it’s one that interestingly subverts the reputation of the samurai. Plus, it takes place in the middle of the story in Ghost Of Tsushima’s base game (after Act 2), so you don’t need to worry about finishing the game first before diving into Iki Island.
Iki Island is populated by raiders who hate the samurai and has a grudge against Ghost Of Tsushima protagonist Jin Sakai’s family. From the perspective of these raiders, the samurai are no better than the Mongols; both are regarded as invaders. History buffs will appreciate this, seeing as, in reality, the samurai in history were actually far from the perfect and noble depictions that they often receive in movies. This makes the narrative more stimulating as it puts the spotlight on the flaws and sins of the samurai.
The story also delves into Jin’s painful past even more and exploring the legacy of the Sakai clan even further, especially in a place that’s not their hometown. What do foreigners think of samurai and the Sakai Clan? What was the nature of the relationship between Jin and his father, Kazumasa? You’ll discover all of this and more.
That said, the Mongols are still depicted as the same one-dimensional stereotypical bloodthirsty barbarians. The new main antagonist is The Eagle, the leader of the Eagle Tribe. While she’s less brutish than the main game’s Khotun Khan, she’s still as nefarious, resorting to psychological warfare and religious indoctrination instead of brute force and intimidation. Her Shamans are the only new enemy unit types in the Iki Island expansion.
They’re basically just spearmen, but their unique ability is to start chanting, which provides attack and defence buffs to their surrounding allies. It’s always best to kill them first since the buffs are significant enough to make the other enemies significantly harder to kill (and they’ll hit much harder too).
There’s really nothing much else to spice up the combat. The only new ability to play with and upgrade in the expansion is a Horse Charge ability for Jin’s horse, which is powerful and satisfying to execute. In terms of new cosmetics, there’s really only one new armour set for Jin and another for his horse.
Other than that, there’s also a new duelling tournament side activity called Bokken Fights. This features foes that require different tactics, adding a twist to the combat’s usual rock scissors papers stance mechanics. You can’t just change your stance and slash these combatants to submission since points are given to whoever manages to land the first hit. I wish there was more of this in the game. If anything, this only further proves that a PvP mode would be a great addition to Ghost Of Tsushima Legends.
What else is new in the Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut Iki Island expansion? Well, players can look forward to the new Archery Challenges, which require quite a bit of skill to complete, as well as Animal Sanctuaries. Animal Sanctuaries are specific places where Jin remembers his late mother by playing the flute, which is executed in the form of a rhythm minigame using the controller’s gyroscope motion controls (by moving the actual controller around).
Thankfully, the rhythm minigames are pretty easy to complete and the PS5’s DualSense feels comfortably responsive. Oh, and best of all, completing these flute rhythm minigames will result in Jin petting one of three different animals; cats, deers and monkeys. They’re all adorable, but if you miss the foxes from Tsushima Island, I’m sad to report that they’re absent from Iki Island.
Besides all that, there are still the shrines with cosmetics, those cutting-bamboo-sticks minigames, new collectibles, and more. Iki Island took me a little bit more than 10 hours to complete the story and complete most of the optional side content. There aren’t that many missions in the Iki Island expansion, but I praise the mission variety. One mission has me leaping around a graveyard of sunken ships to find an item, while another has me sneaking into and infiltrating a cult by speaking to its members instead of just rushing in swords drawn like most of the other missions.
Of course, that’s not to say that the Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut Iki Island expansion doesn’t have any of the dramatic and epic missions from the main game. There is plenty of that here as well, but seeing as the raiders on Iki Island hate the samurai, Jin has to be more discreet this time around.
Last but not least, it would be remiss of me not to mention the various new options and accessibility improvements. These include alternate controller layouts, the option to enable a target lock-on during combat, the option to hide Jin’s quiver during gameplay, armour load-outs and more. I mentioned these last because these new updates are going to be available for all Ghost Of Tsushima players and not just limited to the Director’s Cut.
For those on PS5, the new DualSense haptic feedback and adaptive triggers make the punchy combat even more satisfying to execute. That’s especially so when applied to parries and shooting arrows (which is no surprise why they decided to introduce Archery Challenges now of all times). These additional functions increase immersion for a game that was already incredibly immersive even on the PS4.
Legacy Of The Sakai Clan
The Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut Iki Island expansion delves more into Jin’s painful past and features a story with a unique perspective on samurai. It adds some new content but doesn’t overstay its welcome, which is great for an open-world game.
If you’re a fan of Ghost Of Tsushima and hungry for more content, you should totally check out the Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut Iki Island expansion. However, if you don’t already like the base game, then there’s really nothing here that will convince you otherwise.
- The dramatic and epic story.
- More content in the form of new side activities, side quests, and collectibles.
- No unnecessary padding.
- Might ultimately feel repetitive.
Final Score: 80/100
Review copy provided by PlayStation Asia. Played on PS5.
Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut is RM299 on PS5. Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut is RM249 on PS4.
If you already own Ghost Of Tsushima on PS4, you can upgrade to the Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut on PS4 for RM89. If you already own Ghost Of Tsushima on PS4, you can upgrade to the Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut on PS5 for RM129. If you already own the Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut on PS4, you can upgrade to the PS5 Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut for RM50.