Sony recently announced that Ghost of Tsushima would be receiving a Director’s Cut edition, which will include all of the post-launch content that has been shelled out to this date and update the game to fully take advantage of the PS5’s raw horsepower. However, the central point of attraction is undoubtedly a brand-new expansion map titled the Iki Island.
Following a bunch of rumors and speculation suggesting the same, Sucker Punch Studios is finally giving us what we have been clamoring for since the release of Ghost of Tsushima – more of it. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Sucker Punch continues to work on the Ghost of Tsushima IP and give fans a full sequel down the line, or perhaps something entirely different. Nevertheless, there seems to be no contention that more Ghost of Tsushima is always great.
2020 had been a tough year for all of us, being forced to lock ourselves into the confines of our homes for months for the greater good. During a time when physically going out and exploring the scenic vistas that the real-world offers was not an option, playing Ghost of Tsushima felt like a reprieve from all the ensuing chaos which allowed me and thousands of others to get up close and personal with all the beauty that lie within the untamed wilderness of the world – albeit virtually.
For this very reason, it holds a very special place in the hearts of many a fan – though not to suggest it’s flawless. There are a few rough patches here and there, and thankfully Sucker Punch seems to be addressing most of them through the Iki Island. Here are the biggest reasons that I am excited about it:
A Smaller Open-World
Ghost of Tsushima offered players a vast and diverse land of Tsushima to explore at their own pace, teeming with side-paths and activities that can keep players engaged for dozens of hours. That’s of course, in theory, since Tsushima associates the act of completing side-quests with rewards that make Jin stronger. It starts out great with side-questing feeling like an integral part of the game, but can quickly run its course with rewards for completing those being menial when compared to the ones received for sticking with the main path. There’s also the fact that tracking down those side-quests can become a slog after some time since the game world is so expansive that getting from point A to point B simply takes too much time.
That’s a shame since Ghost of Tsushima includes a bunch of side-quests that are much more interesting than the main quest. The Iki island is contained within a smaller space with a smaller accompanying narrative, which gives Sucker Punch the opportunity to craft these curated side-quests in a manner that pursuing them won’t take up a lot of time. The team could also put more thought into giving players rewards that are more in line with the main quest. That being said, even if those rewards don’t match up to expectations, players would probably be close enough to the main objective to not feel demotivated for taking a detour thanks to the smaller scale. That’s always a major benefit of smaller open-worlds, and hopefully, the Iki Island expansion embraces its smaller scale and makes efficient use of the space to incorporate consistently engaging and rewarding side-content.
More Jin Sakai
Jin Sakai is the protagonist of Ghost of Tsushima, and players mostly see him in a calm and composed state as he upholds the Bushido code that beckons him to do the same. However, he wasn’t always like that as evident in the multitude of flashback sequences that show a young and impressionable Jin trying to learn the ropes of being a Samurai all the while trying to cope up with the guilt of not being able to be there for his father when he needed him the most.
The official blog post for the Director’s Cut announcement states that the journey will have “deeply personal stakes” and will force Jin to “relive some traumatic moments from the past.” Of course, it remains to be seen what these stakes might entail and what exactly are these traumatic moments. But given that it’s now confirmed that Sucker Punch will be exploring more of Jin’s personal stories than a similar plot to relieve another Island of Mongol presence is an interesting prospect, though the latter will be the framework through which the game would tell those tales.
Using flashback sequences, Sucker Punch could explore Jin’s insecurities and anxieties with the Iki Island, which will surely serve to provide more depth to the already well-written but mostly one-tone character.
While the Japanese lip-syncing might have been brushed under the rug in the face of the many bigger additions, it’s still an equally important element that needs some love. Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut on PS5 will fix all issues with voice lines not being in sync with the animations for the Japanese dub of the game, which is a great addition that can carry some huge implications. While the Japanese dub isn’t anything exceptional, it can prove to be quite immersive when combined with the black and white Kurusawo filter.
It’s a great way to go back to the main story, as both of the aforementioned options can come together quite beautifully to sell the feeling of being in a well, Kurusawa movie. This feeling could further be accentuated with the graphical improvements that the game brings with its next-gen upgrade. Since this is a Director’s Cut, there is some possibility that the cutscenes could have been re-directed to keep the game more in line with Samurai movies of the past.
The base game already looks quite convincing in that regard, but a few changes here and there could be just the ingredient needed to warrant a second playthrough for many. This is also long-sighted speculation on our part, and fans shouldn’t bank on the possibilities of seeing major changes to the main game for now.
PS5 Centric Features
While the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X might have been unceremonious with most launch titles on both systems – first-party as well as third-parties – being available on last-gen consoles as well, the PS5’s DualSense controller has proven to be the definitive next-gen factor for many. Sony’s pantheon of first-party titles such as Astro’s Playroom, Returnal, and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart have done a phenomenal job at using these PS5-centric features, and Ghost of Tsushima embracing it whole-heartedly is most probably going to be great as well.
Bluepoint’s remake of Demon’s Souls is perhaps the benchmark for Dualsense implementation when it comes to melee fighting. The sharp vibration that the Dualsense provides gives just the heft required to make each swing of a weapon feel distinct and recognizable, and Sucker Punch can definitely take a few cues from there as well. An interesting possibility could entail the rumble actually serving a purpose in combat, such as a distinct sharp rumble indicating the time to press the trigger in order to execute a perfect parry. This is just one example though, and we are quite sure that the team will definitely find a lot more ways to implement these features to accentuate the palpable sense of tension that comes from dueling the fiercest warriors in Tsushima and Ikishima.
Ghost of Tsushima received a free-to-play multiplayer expansion in the form of Legends, which was lauded by critics and fans alike for a number of reasons when it was released late last year. However, the time gap between the release of the original and the multiplayer expansion meant that not many people actually went back to the game and participated in all the co-op looting and raiding that Sucker Punch had meticulously crafted post-launch.
However, with the Legends mode being an inclusion to the Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut from the onset, there’s a high likelihood of both new and returning players jumping into the multiplayer mode which by extension, should cut down waiting times for players who usually solo queue. Of course, there’s also the fact that as the player reach expands Sucker Punch will likely put in more efforts to update the game and add newer content to placate the wider audience it could amass in the near future.
While the $70 price tag for Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut on the PS4 has been a major point of contention within the community very recently, we have really high hopes from Sucker Punch as it could serve as an appetizer for what’s more to come from the Washington-based developer.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.