| Last updated
When our very own Julian Benson reviewed Ghost Of Tsushima last year, he wasn't exactly blown away.
"Ghost of Tsushima is a fine open-world game," he concluded in a 6/10 review. "It ticks all the boxes of what you would expect it to do. Multiple biomes, a skill tree to unlock, hundreds of collectibles, crafting, a 20-hour campaign and lots of side quests.
"But it doesn't do anything more than that. The story it tells in its campaign seems to be actively at odds with what you do in the game, and not in a way that develops to a point. Indeed, it reads almost like a mistake. This is one of the last exclusive games for the PlayStation 4 and it's disappointing that it has nothing new to say."
I agreed with pretty much everything Julian had to say then, as I do now. Ghost Of Tsushima is a beautifully made open-world checklist that offers a land of shimmering surface-level beauty. Being offered a suite of stealth options and then having almost every character tell you what a shit you are for using them is deeply irritating. Sidequests are mostly bland and uninspired, with a handful of exceptions.
But as I booted up Ghost Of Tsushima Director's Cut and jumped back into Sucker Punch's world, I tried to really see what so many friends and fellow gamers had told me I'd been missing. I tried to look for the magic others insisted was there, and I found it. Ghost Of Tsushima is absolutely at its best when you lean into the meditative rhythm of its open-world busywork.
Allowing the wind to guide me from enemy base to hidden treasure as I grew my legend brought quiet joy. Challenging foes by the side of the road and cutting them all down in the game's sublime sword-based combat never got old. Simply allowing myself to be swept up in its undeniably gorgeous world as I strolled across sun-dappled fields and dazzling forests of rich yellow lent me a fresh perspective. Ghost Of Tsushima might be humming a familiar tune, but damn if it's not one I want to dance to.
Director's Cut enhances everything that made Ghost Of Tsushima great, but its harshest critics should be aware this is still the same game it was last year. There's just... more of it.
Sucker Punch's open world was already stunning, so the improved resolutions and frame rate are just added flavour to an already delicious meal. That's not to say this updated and enhanced version of the game isn't worth your time - at least on PlayStation 5.
The immediate standout feature for me was, somewhat predictably, the new DualSense features. Sony's latest controller continues to be the best thing about the new console, and Ghost Of Tsushima Director's Cut makes use of the tech in some ingenious ways for added immersion. In combat, the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback lend a tangibility to the chaos. I particularly enjoy the way the controller rattles as you sheathe or unsheathe your blade.
Outside of fights, there's even more to admire. The Guiding Wind really feels like it's blowing through your hands. As you play Jin's flute, you'll feel the delicate vibrations as if you're actually holding a woodwind instrument. There are loads of moments just like this, so I won't spoil the surprise - just believe me when I say the DualSense really adds to Ghost Of Tsushima's vibe and really helps draw players into the world.
Of course some improved technical features and a few DualSense flourishes probably won't be quite enough to get most of you to make the upgrade from the PS4 version to PS5. But the real centerpiece of the Director's Cut is the brand-new and surprisingly robust Iki Island expansion.
Accessible as soon as you start Act Two of the main game, Iki Island is somehow even more ridiculously good looking than Tsushima Island. It perhaps helps that this new, smaller land has yet to be completely ravaged by the Mongol invaders. That's not to say this expansion is a holiday, though - far from it. Iki Island is a wretched hive of scum and villainy that the samurai have never been able to tame. Can Jin bring its inhabitants round to his way of thinking and get them to join the cause?
Well, yes. The Iki Island expansion is very similar to Ghost Of Tsushima's first act both in terms of scope and size, as well as the core gameplay loop. There's more open-world japery with Jin as he explores, recruits, fights, and slowly reclaims villages and homes from warring factions. If you loved the base game, you'll adore this extra helping of content - especially since it'll take completionists at least a dozen hours or so to see everything it has to offer.
If you weren't so hot on Ghost Of Tsushima, or even if you were kind of worn out with its rhythm by the time the credits rolled, I'd have a think about whether you're really ready for more. Iki Island really is more of the same, and mileage with this will undoubtedly vary. With that said, the new animal sanctuaries where you can go hang out with wild deer, cats, and monkeys, are almost worth admission alone.
Ghost Of Tsushima Director's Cut on PlayStation 5 is undoubtedly the definitive way to experience Sucker Punch's open-world samurai adventure. Improved loading times, enhanced resolutions, smoother frame rates, and a slew of brand-new content make the 2020 game shine in new ways. More than that though, it's given me the chance to reassess a video game that I just previously couldn't see the adoration for.
And you know what? I'm happy to admit I was wrong.
Pros: Excellent use of DualSense, enhanced resolution makes a gorgeous game even more stunning, Iki Island expansion is great fun with plenty to do
Cons: Bland open world, most side quests are still lame
For fans of: Ghost Of Tsushima, Assassin's Creed, Days Gone
Ghost Of Tsushima Director's Cut is available August 20 for PlayStation 5 (version tested) and PlayStation 4. Code for review was supplied by the publisher. Find a guide to GAMINGbible's review scores here
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read