By Jeison Liranzo
The award-winning game Ghost of Tsushima has returned with new downloadable content with a Director’s Cut, which introduces a new island, a new story chapter, new side quests, new characters, and new enemies. Before starting the new DLC, you should have at least completed Act 2 of the main story. If you do, you’ll be familiar with the varied characters’ histories and can better understand what’s going on in the game.
The DLC focuses on Iki island and a group of Mongols called the Eagle tribe, led by a woman named Ankshar “the Eagle” Khatun. The game’s protagonist, Jin (aka the Ghost) learns about the Eagle tribe’s plan to take over the Iki islands and enslave the people who live there. Angered, he sets out on a journey to try and stop them. In the main story, we learned that something traumatic happened to Jin on Iki Island in the past, something which he’ll have to face in the DLC. However difficult, it results in his character being developed much further. I found the storytelling of the game amazing because of how flexible it was: players learn about the new Mongol tribe and their leader the Eagle, while at the same time exploring Jin’s character in more depth. And I really enjoyed the plot and the shocking information that’s revealed during the journey.
We’re also introduced to a new type of Mongol enemy called Shaman, which can increase all nearby enemies’ attack damage, movement speed, and dodging skills with their singing. When they are the last enemy left or are targeted they start some fearsome fighting. The creators also gave some enemies the ability to switch up their weapons stance mid-fight, which means you have to pay close attention since you might have to, for instance, switch from water stance to stone stance mid-battle in order to respond. (In the game, a stance is a fighting technique that you can use against an opponent based on their fighting styles.) For example, there is a water stance that is the most effective toward enemies that use shields and swords, and a stone stance that is the most effective toward enemies that fight with two swords.
Aside from the new story, I had a lot of fun exploring the map, because of the game’s beautiful graphics. As in the main story modes, the scenarios of the new Island are stunning because of how colorful and intricately detailed they are. On the new Island, we see that the game still retains some landmarks from the main story, like lighthouses, locations to create poems, hot springs to increase your health, and bamboo shoots. Players must do the Bamboo shoots challenge so they can increase Jin’s resolve meter, which is important because that allows you to use more special abilities and heal a greater amount. I find them difficult because I am bad at pressing buttons quickly and in the correct order. There are also plenty of new locations to discover, such as animal sanctuaries and locations for archery challenges, along with trophies to collect (I like collecting a hundred percent of the trophies so I can spend more time in the world).
I also liked the soundtrack, which includes both new music and music from the original game, since it made the scenes more exciting. For example, the music for the final fight with the Eagle was thrilling because the beat of the music sounded both sad and empowering, bringing extra emotion to the scenes and giving me a lot of goosebumps. I also enjoyed the way the developers ensured that the characters’ voices were synched up with the character’s facial movements – in previous versions of the game, the voices and animation often didn’t match.
I highly recommend this DLC because of its wonderful storytelling and graphics, and what it taught me about Jin’s past. I also appreciated that in addition to the main quest, there are also some side missions to complete, as well as some mini-missions you might recognize from the original game. That adds a nostalgic feeling to the DLC, which I really enjoyed. But I have to warn you that if you start playing, you’ll be left wanting even more Ghost of Tsushima.
Bronx native Jeison Liranzo is a New York Videogame Critics Circle contributor. He is attending Brooklyn College as a freshman in the creative writing program.