Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut Review

Richard Walker

Upon its release for PS4, last year, Ghost of Tsushima was already pushing the envelope in terms of pure visual fidelity, so it should perhaps come as little surprise that Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut, despite marking the game's debut on PS5, looks pretty much as you remember it. The primary difference is that the whole thing runs at a slick 60 frames-per-second now, but the main draw is the addition of Iki Island, an entirely new place to explore, with a fresh set of quests and a continuation of the story that's well worth delving into. It also feels great to rediscover Jin Sakai, samurai master and progenitor of stealthy ninja shenanigans, as he struggles with the demons of his past.

Behold the majesty of a cliff-edge vista.

Though only a fraction of the size of Tsushima, Iki Island is deceptively large, and brimming with further opportunities for swordplay, as Jin finds himself in the thick of another Mongol threat that's upended the natives of the island. At the head of it all is the Eagle, a despotic sort who feeds her victims a noxious, mind-altering brew against their will, sending them into a stupefying frenzy. Using the Eagle's potent poison, the Mongols have seized Iki Island, and as we learn that Jin has a dark history with the occupied peninsula, he'll need to unite with the Raiders as they mount a resistance against their oppressors - despite a collective revulsion at you being a samurai. Couple that with the legend you forged while in Tsushima having yet to find its way over to Iki, and you've got a whole new fight on your hands. To the oppressed Raiders, you're simply 'Jin From Yarikawa'.

Bad blood between the samurai and Iki's Raiders is but the tip of the iceberg, with the Mongol Eagle Tribe taking over Fort Sakai in the north, while burning the surrounding villages to the ground. Taking back encampments and forts again is the order of the day for Jin, and anyone who relished being able to slink silently through pampas grass before mounting an ambush, or, conversely, challenging enemies head-on to a standoff during the main campaign, will no doubt welcome the chance to do it again. Ghost of Tsushima's combat remains a singular joy, switching between stances to combat specific enemy types keeping you on your toes, while waiting for the right time to parry and strike back still feels crunchy and eminently gratifying.

Once you've forged a seemingly fragile alliance with new faces Tenzo, Fune, and their army of Raiders pushing back against the Mongols, you'll soon settle back into the rhythm of samurai showdowns and exploration, following golden birds to shrines and other hidden places, as well as new archery challenges, cat sanctuaries, and other activities on Iki (including experiencing intriguing glimpses into Jin's past and the relationship with his father). Bokken Tournaments also enable you to sharpen your skills in non-lethal duels, while lending a hand to peasants on the road will stand you in good stead and grow your legend. As you make your mark on the island, Raiders will rush to your aid in battle, and certain village folk will point you in the direction of useful landmarks.

A handful of Mythic Tales once again err towards the supernatural, with one in particular telling the gruesome story of Black Hand Riku, whose armour can be found ensconced deep within a cavern that you'd never find on your own. Besides new swords and armours, Jin's horse is lavished with upgrades, including a 'horse charge' ability, which enables you to gallop at enemies and leave their trampled corpses in your wake, and inventory-expanding saddlebags. Jin's abilities, meanwhile, remain untouched, so if you were hoping for new toys, new skills, or perhaps a new combat stance, you might be a mite disappointed.

Exploring Jin's past on Iki Island is a nice touch.

That said, Jin does benefit from being able to pull down trees, progress-blocking gates, and bamboo bridges using his grappling hook, which feels nice and weighty thanks to the DualSense controller's nifty haptic feedback. But it's the fundamental elements that were in Ghost of Tsushima in the first place that you'll enjoy becoming reacquainted with – revisiting Sucker Punch's samurai opus only reinforces its status as one of the best open-world games in recent memory, every inch draped in lush foliage and dripping with achingly beautiful detail. As I said in my original review of the game, I've never spent so much time drooling over vistas in a game's Photo Mode as much as I have in Ghost of Tsushima.

Iki Island is no exception in that regard – it's insanely pretty and will give you pause as sun breaks through a forest canopy, or gulls swirl around white cliff faces and sandy coves. Indeed, the expansion is far and away the most compelling reason for upgrading to the Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut; the PlayStation 5 upgrades – including support for the DualSense's haptics and adaptive triggers – providing mere icing on a most delectable cake. Whether your katana is thirsting for more blood, or it's your first rodeo with Ghost of Tsushima, Sucker Punch's Director's Cut is a cut above the PS4 release, and, with Iki Island in mind (which can be purchased as part of an upgrade, if you already own the game on PS4), is nigh-on essential.

Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut

Cementing its status as one of the best games on PlayStation, Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut makes a great game even better, its Iki Island chapter in particular providing even more of a very good thing. Utterly essential.

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An orchestral score that imbues Ghost of Tsushima with a sense of the epic. New flute mini-game at Iki Island's Cat Sanctuaries is nice, too, and the voice acting remains as superlative as it was just over a year ago. Proper lip sync for the Japanese VO is a nice new touch.


Absolutely stunning. Every vista you'll visit as Jin is jaw-dropping, with new expansion Iki Island providing even more gorgeous views that will have you constantly stopping to fiddle with the game's Photo Mode.


If you've been away from the game for a year, it can take some time to get back into the swing of things. But once it all clicks again, the swordplay, traversal, and everything else is just sublime. Duels remain a stylish, cinematic highlight.


The main game with a visual upgrade, including buttery 60 fps, as well as a selection of new content make the Director's Cut well worth revisiting. Or, if you're playing Ghost of Tsushima for the first time, you're lucky enough to be getting the definitive version. Fast travel is now also instantaneous.


Transfer your save from PS4 to PS5, and you can watch as your trophies ping all over again. As such, the trophies are all the same for the base game, with thirteen new trophies for Iki Island, which tie-in to completing pretty much everything the expansion has to offer.

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