After having the opportunity to interview Sucker Punch to learn about some of the news from Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, it was time to get our hands on the expected game. This edition, in addition to adding improvements to the PS5 version, introduces This is Island, an expansion for story mode. Of course, in this review I focus solely on the narrative and playable add-ons, the new island, and the features that take advantage of the state-of-the-art hardware.
Return Ghost of Tsushima it is not a minor issue. After all, we are talking about one of the most outstanding titles the previous generation. The presentation of This is Island It was a real surprise for the gaming community, mainly because we believed that Jin Sakai’s adventure was closed when it came to his conflict with the Mongols. However, these enemies again stepped on the island of Tsushima to frighten their people. Of course, our heroic samurai was not going to allow it.
After investigating a tragedy that occurred in Tsushima, Jin Sakai discovers that the invaders belong to a mysterious Mongol tribe. This, in addition, is based on the Iki island. Therefore, the protagonist, who bears the responsibility of protecting his people, decides to undertake a trip to that territory to face the threat directly and prevent another invasion. Thus, without too much preamble, Sakai disembarks in Iki, a region that is not completely unknown to him.
In the main story of Ghost of Tsushima We saw that Jin Sakai had an internal conflict because he had to renounce the traditions and values of his ancestors to save his loved ones. On This is Island, Sucker Punch returned to bet on a personal problem, although this time associated with the death of his father. Jin Sakai not only has to deal with the new and fearsome villains, but also with complicated situations from your past that took place on Iki Island, a territory formerly controlled by the Sakai clan.
During the adventure, Jin must forge alliances with characters who, despite having very different ideologies, share the goal of defeating the Mongols. This will facilitate joint work and will allow us to know new faces. Of course, do not expect it to delve too deep into the narrative arcs of all of them. The story of This is Island is 100% focused on the development of Jin Sakai and the way he deals with the traumas of the past in the midst of an intense struggle to liberate the island.
In narrative terms there is nothing to reproach; the main story, although short, holds your interest from beginning to end. Additionally, virtually all major missions involve epic battles that will put your fighting skills to the test. I’ll talk about this later. As if that were not enough, it is a good opportunity to meet another part of Jin Sakai in which Ghost of Tsushima He preferred not to delve. Despite being a ruthless and fierce warrior, he shows that it is also vulnerable before complicated situations that dragged from his youth. Again they make it clear to us that the “Ghost” does not follow in the footsteps of its ancestors.
All the plot development of the protagonist is linked, again, to the main missions. As it happened in Ghost of Tsushima, the narrative structure of This is Island is made up of primary and secondary activities. The latter, although not mandatory, enrich the context of terror and subjugation that exists in the region. My recommendation is that you take the time to complete all the tasks that the island offers you to get the most out of the expansion. There are surprises and secrets to discover.
Yes, the exploration is a fundamental element in This is Island. It is so important that they have added new techniques to identify specific locations such as animal sanctuaries, to name just one point of interest. To guide you around the island, which is about a quarter of Tsushima size, you will have at your disposal a map with markers. In the analysis of Ghost of Tsushima I highlighted the incredible experience that it was to go through the corners of Tsushima, and in Iki those same sensations are repeated.
In addition to the impressive landscapes, which I will delve into later, there are new activities such as archery challenges, which are added to the bamboo stands. You can also access an arena to test your katana mastery against the most skilled opponents in the region; as well as other must-see points of interest. You can be sure that the activities are not going to be missing on This is Island.
Previously, Sucker Punch told us that the territory was wilder and more dangerous than Tsushima, and boy is it. This is achieved, above all, by the introduction of new enemies. On Ghost of Tsushima We started by facing Mongols whose level of difficulty was adequate for the beginning of an adventure. In Iki this does not happen, because all opponents are a real challenge from the start
The Mongols who represent the mysterious tribe are capable, for example, of switch between different types of weapons during the duel. This forces you to change your posture to adjust your movements according to the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent. Maybe this is not so complicated when you are only fighting against one enemy, but it becomes an arduous battle when there are several of them attacking you from different fronts. The only way to be victorious is to master the posture and their respective movements to perfection.
Now, Sucker Punch also introduced a great novelty in the playable to support us in combat. You will surely remember that in Ghost of Tsushima you used your horse, essentially, to transport yourself across the vast stage. However, in This is Island will have greater prominence in the races thanks to the “Equestrian charge”. This is a new technique that will allow the horse to ram enemies brutally — it takes determination. So strong is the blow that some Mongols will never get up again, while others will be seriously injured.
Added to this, your horse can now carry arrows or explosives that do not fit in inventory. If you pick up any of these items and Jin does not have enough space, they will automatically be added to your inseparable companion’s bag. This way, you can automatically replenish yourself just by mounting it. It’s certainly a feature that we miss at Ghost of Tsushima and that will allow you to take advantage of all the resources that appear on the stage.
If the open world of Ghost of Tsushima It left us with our mouths open for its extraordinary artistic and audiovisual section, This is Island it is not far behind. The new island boasts landscapes very different from the previous map; This is thanks to the fact that Sucker Punck relied on a renewed fauna and flora. On the other hand, they resorted to a color palette somewhat different from Tsushima’s. All these novelties, together, result in a outstanding staging which will encourage you to take screenshots all the time. The gallery of images that accompanies this analysis is proof of this.
Regarding technical news, you should know that Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut catches up to take advantage of the potential of the PlayStation 5. Although the 60 FPS and the 4K resolution were added through an update to the original title since last January, with the Director’s Cut you will be able to observe higher quality textures and faster loading times.
However, the biggest novelty in this area is the integration with the DualSense. Now you can feel the adaptive trigger tension when you use the bow or the hook, for example. Besides, the haptic vibration it fulfills its mission at the moment of transmitting the clashes between weapons, the gallop of your horse and even the sound effects that some climates produce, to mention only a few cases. For its part, 3D Audio allows us to distinguish the source of the sounds, a proposal that we have already seen well applied in the first exclusives of the PS5.
If you are one of the people who enjoyed Ghost of Tsushima, This is Island it is an adventure not to be missed. Your journey on the new island will be just as enjoyable as on Tsushima, despite being significantly shorter. The main story lasts between 4 and 5 hours, approximately. However, your stay on the island can last up to 10 hours If you are willing to complete all the side missions, search for collectibles and hidden areas. For an expansion, it’s not bad at all.
Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, certainly, even more enjoyable on the PlayStation 5, as the improvements in the immersive experience are evident. However, have no doubt that on PS4 you will also have a pleasant stay in Iki. After the expansion, we can only wait to learn about Sucker Punch’s plans with this promising franchise. Will we see a proper sequel in the future? Many of us, including ourselves, would like to see IP evolve after delivering an excellent first installment and expansion that meets the same quality standard. After all, Jin Sakai has become an important character in the PlayStation family. Don’t forget that Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut will be available on Friday, August 20.