Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut (PS5) Review: Worth the Price of Admission
September 1, 2021 Andrew Cheng

Ghost of Tsushima by Sucker Punch Productions was a great swan song for the PlayStation 4. It had solid, fun gameplay, a beautiful open world setting, and a compelling storyline. But one of my biggest gripes with the PlayStation exclusive was the brief main story, even if the side quests do pad up the overall lore of the game.

This is the very reason why I’m elated that Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut expands on the original story of the first game quite a bit; Iki Island itself also offers even more content for players to explore. If you’re contemplating to upgrade from the original game to the Director’s Cut version, I highly recommend it.

What It Is

The main addition to Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is Iki Island, a brand new area filled with its own main storyline, side quests, and unique open world environment. In addition to Tsushima – which was the premise for the first game – Iki Island was also invaded by the Mongols, so Jin Sakai (the main protagonist) travels to the island to investigate.

As Sucker Punch puts it, Jin’s journey on Iki Island got him “caught up in events with deeply personal stakes that will force him to relive some traumatic moments from his past.” Without going into spoiler territory, suffice to say it’s quite an engrossing story.

The Good Stuff

While the slew of improvements introduced in the PS5 version of Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut are great, the one thing that really got me hooked is the Iki Island storyline. In fact, I find it even more entertaining than the original story.

Granted, the main storyline of Iki Island is quite brief; I blazed through it within three to four hours. But as short as it is, I was invested in the narrative, and the side quests available all around Iki Island relates back to the story to a certain extend.

That being said, I highly recommend only accessing Iki Island after you’re done with the main story on Tsushima. Timeline wise, the plot of Iki Island takes place after the original story has concluded, so you will run into some spoilers if you decide to sail over to Iki Island the moment it’s unlocked in Act 2 of Tsushima.

Graphically, Tsushima Director’s Cut looks absolutely stunning on the PS5. The beautiful landscapes of Tsushima and Iki are now rendered in 4K, and further enhancing the visuals of the game is the high, consistent frame rate set at 60fps. Even when I set the graphics settings to Higher Resolution, the game still runs consistently at 60fps.

DualSense implementation in Director’s Cut is quite well implemented too. For example, when I’m pulling back on the bow while aiming, I can feel the triggers vibrating as Jin is losing grip. I can even feel the haptic feedback of the controller changing depending on the terrain my horse is galloping on.

I really can’t say it enough: the DualSense controller of the PS5 really does make games feel like a next-gen experience.

And then there’s the dramatically improved loading time of Director’s Cut on the PS5. Whether I’m fast travelling from one area to another or restarting an encounter, there’s no loading screen at all. This short loading time, in turn, improves the gaming experience quite a bit.

The Bad Stuff

Of course, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut still has some shortcomings here and there, and one of them is the lip-syncing for Japanese audio. Yes, the PS5 version of Director’s Cut improved on this aspect, but it still looks…well, off.

Simply put, it’s as if the lip-syncing is missing a few syllables in every sentence. I personally find this quite distracting, but I’m sure some folks will not mind it at all.

Even with all of the graphical improvements, the facial expressions of every character in Director’s Cut still don’t look particularly expressive. This, in turn, gives them a stiff appearance, especially in cutscenes. I find this really odd, given that Sucker Punch’s very own Infamous Second Son – which was released back in 2014 on the PS4 – had better facial expressions.

Last but definitely not least is the price of the game. If you’ve never played Ghost of Tsushima before, it’s absolutely worth forking out RM299 (PS5) or RM249 (PS4) for the Director’s Cut version. Even if you’re upgrading from the original PS4 version to Director’s Cut on the PS5 for RM129, I would still say it’s worth it.

But it’s a different situation if you’re on the PS4 thinking of upgrading to Director’s Cut on the same platform. You’ll need to pay RM89 for this, and you’re essentially paying this amount just for the Iki island expansion. The fact that you don’t get the slew of upgrades that comes with the PS5 version does make it harder to justify the cost.

Is It Worth It?

Even though the upgrade path for Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is quite messy, I would still say it’s worth picking up if you want to access even more content in this wonderful open world samurai game. While I was hoping the stiff facial expressions would be addressed in this new version, I still thoroughly enjoy the other additions to the game.

Looking forward, I can’t wait to see what Sucker Punch Productions has in store for the future. The studio really proved itself with Ghost of Tsushima and this Director’s Cut version, and while I wouldn’t mind a sequel, I’m personally hoping Sucker Punch will revive the Infamous franchise – one can hope, right?

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is now available on the PS5 and PS4.