Developer – Sucker Punch
Publisher – Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s) – PlayStation 5 (reviewed), PlayStation 4
MSRP – $69.99 (PS5), $59.99 (PS4)
Release Date – August 20, 2021
Disclaimer: Review Copy was kindly Provided for the Purposes of this Review
Sucker Punch has been on a tremendous ride with Ghost of Tsushima. Firstly, the game is officially the fastest-selling new IP in PlayStation Studio’s history. Secondly, last we heard the game has sold over 6.5 million copies under a year after release. Lastly, the game has received a free co-op multiplayer mode that’s receiving new content frequently. This isn’t even taking into account that there’s a movie based on Ghost of Tsushima in the works.
It’s safe to say that Ghost of Tsushima has been a massive success for Sucker Punch & PlayStation. It was my personal Game of the Year for 2020 and is adored by a high majority of fans and critics alike. When the news of a Director’s Cut hit, I was incredibly excited for more single-player content.
The Director’s Cut of Ghost of Tsushima includes an expansion on a new location called Iki Island. Iki Island includes a new story, new characters, new challenges, and so much more. There are also new features that come with the PS5 as well as the DualSense.
To access the Iki Island Expansion, you must get to a certain point in Act 2 of the main story of Ghost of Tsushima. As soon as you land on Iki Island, you’re unable to travel back to any of the other regions until you complete the story of Iki. So for anyone starting Ghost of Tsushima for the first time, it’s important to keep that in mind.
Iki Island is home to Eagle Tribe known for how they poison their enemies with tea that messes with your head. Iki is dwelling with Raiders, Mongols, and the Eagle Tribe. Jin Sakai has set out to rid Iki of the toxin that has plagued its entire territory.
The narrative of Iki Island doesn’t feel like it was tacked on. After completion, it’s clear that this Director’s Cut may have been in the plans for a while. Certain Characters (one in particular) add more lore to the story that took place in the main 3 acts of Ghost of Tsushima.
The main villain is the leader of the Eagle Tribe. I enjoyed her presence but I found her poisonous influences were a bit too overused throughout the course of the expansion. I grew tired of the constant interludes of her poison effects and I truly feel these elements should’ve been rarer.
Besides the poison elements, I enjoyed the narrative for what it was. There’s also a couple of Mythic Tales which I adore. Mythic Tales are still my favorite missions in this game because of how different and unique they feel. Side quests are similar to the main game, there are some I like and some I felt were average.
Side activities are back on the Iki Island Expansion. I’m a massive fan of open-world games simply because of how easily they hook me in if the world is interesting to explore. Rockstar Games are still the masters of this trait, but Sucker Punch is right under them in this regard.
We have returning side activities such as bamboo strikes. There are also welcoming new additions such as the flute mini-game. The flute activity has you tilting the controller up and down to play a song for animals such as deers, monkeys, and cats. I also have to mention the archery challenge, which is by far my favorite new side activity. The archery challenge has you shoot several lanterns within a certain time limit.
Ghost of Tsushima is an incredibly gorgeous game. It’s one of the few games that actually compels me to use photo mode. This game was already beautiful on the PlayStation 4 and it’s even more stunning on the PlayStation 5. The upgraded resolution and FPS on PS5 are incredibly noticeable.
The resolution and FPS aren’t the only updated/new features in this Director’s Cut. The DualSense is such a welcome addition to this current generation of next-gen hardware. It’s gotten to the point where I go out of my way to check if developers have added DualSense support for games I’m interested in.
The haptic feedback kicks in as soon as you start up the game and the PlayStation Studios intro appears. Haptics are noticeable when you’re on your horse and clip-clopping on a rocky surface, grass, wood, and sand. You can feel the unsheathing of your sword whenver you’re preparing to go into battle.
The adaptive triggers are apparent in two specific instances. Using a Bow & Arrow will give resistance to the triggers when pulling back before firing. The grappling hook has the same effects as well and works as intended. I’ve yet to play a game that I feel has used the features of the DualSense poorly and I hope it stays that way.
If you didn’t like the gameplay in Ghost of Tsushima (barely anyone didn’t), then you’re not going to enjoy it anymore here. This is an expansion, not a full-fledged sequel so any gameplay elements that some may not like won’t be overhauled until a sequel, which I have no doubt is happening based on this games’ success.
My thoughts on the gameplay are the same as it was last year. I enjoy the main sword combat and all the unique side weapons. They even added another ability in horse bash where you can hit enemies with your horse. My only problem with the combat is the same as it was before, the AI needs some work. AI can act downright stupid a lot of the time and I hope Sucker Punch improves on this in their later titles.
There was a discussion before the release of this Director’s Cut on whether or not this expansion would be all that vast. All I know is that I spent at least 10-15 hours completing everything that Iki Island had to offer and I enjoyed the bulk of my time in doing so.
Sucker Punch is by far my favorite developer under PlayStation Studios and they have been for a while. Ever since those Infamous games back on the PlayStation 3, I’ve been a massive fan of their work. While the Infamous games are admired, It feels like Ghost of Tsushima is Sucker Punchs’ title that has opened up the eyes of many to how top-tier they are.
Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is a great expansion to what was already a tremendous game. It doesn’t do anything particularly new in terms of revamping the overall formula to Ghost of Tsushima but it didn’t need to. Other than a few updates for Legends, Sucker Punch is more than likely going to go silent for a while, but I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Rating - 9/10
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