Also on: PS4
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Sucker Punch
Even though I love — love, love, love — Ghost of Tsushima, I?ll start off with the one negative thing I have to say about the game?s Director?s Cut: if you played through the game on PS4 already, you probably don?t need to pick up this new version now that the game is out on PS5. Yes, this updated version of the game comes with a new island (Iki Island) and with it, more story and more side quests, but if you?ve already sunk 20+ (or 30+, or 40+) hours into the original game, it?s not like you?re missing out on anything substantial.
With that out of the way, I?ll say this: as someone who didn?t get the chance to invest much time into the game back when it first came out, Ghost of Tsushima is mind-bogglingly great.
I mean, that?s hardly a surprise. Sucker Punch have shown repeatedly that they know what they?re doing when it comes to massive open-world games. Infamous is easily one of my all-time favourite series — and even with that high bar, Ghost of Tsushima still be the studio?s crowning achievement.
In some ways, of course, what makes Ghost of Tsushima so great is the same thing that made the Infamous games so great: it feels awesome being the main character. It?s so incredibly easy to slip into the role of Jin Sakai, a samurai protecting his island against a Mongol invasion, since his movements are always so smooth, whether you?re running through a field, launching yourself off horseback onto foes, or — most importantly — running through the literal Mongol hordes with your blade.
Really, not enough can be said about how much fun the combat is in Ghost of Tsushima. Despite your sword (and various other weapons), it?s so much more than just mindlessly hacking and slashing. It feels balletic as you spin and parry and dodge attacks, all the while slicing through your enemies. There?s an element of timing, too, but it?s more than just getting movements down pat — it?s being able to hold off until the very last second as enemies bear down on you during stand-offs. You can tell the game knows this, too, since one of the upgrades for your character is to chain together stand-offs, which means you get to dispatch enemy after enemy with one well-timed flick of your sword.
The game excels in other ways, too, that aren?t anything like Sucker Punch?s previous outings. There?s the challenge of having a giant open-world that?s relatively pre-industrialization; unlike the cities in the Infamous series, Tsushima Island is pretty underdeveloped. Despite this, the island still feels alive, thanks to the way life can be found everywhere, whether it?s small scattered villages, or little groups of life (people or animal) you can come across everywhere. In this respect, the game kind of reminds me of Red Dead Redemption, in that you really do feel like you?ve been dropped into a living world, rather than just a place that exists to serve the game?s main character.
(Also like RDR, I?ll note traversing Tsushima is surprisingly easy despite its massive size thanks to your trusty horse. You really feel like you?re flying like the wind — aided, no doubt, by the fact that the winds are always guiding you to your next waypoint.)
And, of course, I absolutely have to mention how incredible Ghost of Tsushima looks. My colleague Tyler touched on this last year in his review of the first edition of the game, but it?s even more true now. Tsushima is stunning, and as Tyler noted, the camera work here is second-to-none. It?s cinematic in the absolute best sense of the term, and you always feel like you?re getting the best possible look at this gorgeous world.
Honestly, I don?t know what else there is to say about Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut other than that it?s a must-play. That was true of the game last year when it first came out, and it?s just as true now that they?ve refined and perfected it on PS5.
Sony Interactive Entertainment provided us with a Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut PS5 code for review purposes.