Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut Review (PC) – Ported with a shur-i-ken attitude

Though this is my fourth time reviewing Ghost of Tsushima—think: original on PS4, PS5 upgrade, Legends multi—I couldn’t be happier unsheathing it again. There are a few reasons as to why, but chief among them is this sumptuous-looking samurai epic deserves to gleam like an expertly polished katana via a 4090 on a super ultra-wide screen.

Those features alone, I figure, ought to make this version the GOAT of Tsushimas.

But even thinking beyond those painterly visuals, I also found myself amped for a replay due to a number of recent developments. A: I recently watched and adored the TV series Shogun. B: Soon after that, I thoroughly enjoyed Team Ninja’s Rise of the Ronin. And C: Another contender to Sucker Punch’s Kurosawa love letter has just been announced in the form of Assassin’s Creed Shadows.

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut Review

You know—the AC Ubisoft should have popped out of the scabbard 15 years ago, but then PlayStation beat them on the quickdraw with the subject of today’s discussion.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ghost of Tsushima, a synopsis is in order. You are Jin, samurai son to a lord who botches the defence of the titular island besieged by Mongol hordes. The main problem: these bastards outnumber you and operate beyond your strict code of honour. Outclassed by class-less jerks, you must rally what ragtag ronin and ne’er do wells remain, and take a stab at your own, er…hybrid take on honourable conduct.

The downside to Jin adopting the “Khan do” attitude of his oppressors is that he risks cutting himself off from his family and traditions, even though it’s what’s required to save them. The upside: As your skills improve and Jin’s ruthless reputation starts to precede him, you can acquire a Ghost Stance where the mere sight of you will turn any fearsome invading lion into a mere Mongolian lamb.

It’s deliciously gratifying stuff—that’s the main takeaway here.

Speaking of yarns, it should also be noted that this Director’s Cut includes the sizable Iki island expansion. This purely optional (but highly recommended) side diversion has arguably stronger storytelling. It goes behind the fancy demon mask and into Jin’s personal issues with his late father. Often that’s done with reality-bending psychotropics, which always makes for a better trip.

Indeed, those surreal moments are where this souped up version shines in the visuals department the most, thanks to a variety of PC only enhancements. It’s mostly the usual stuff Nixxes has provided in its past ports, like monitor support for 21:9, 32:9, and now, surprisingly, even 48:9 Triple Monitor support. That comes alongside support for NVIDIA DLSS 3, AMD FSR 3 and Intel XeSS. NVIDIA Reflex and image quality-enhancing NVIDIA DLAA. Plus, some DualSense support who wish to go to the controller darkside for (admittedly quite immersive) haptics and adaptive trigger feedback.

Performance-wise, while running at 4K on my i9-9900K and RTX 4090, I was achieving 70-80fps with Frame Gen / DLSS / upscaling disabled. And with DLSS Quality sans Frame Gen, that rose to a much more impressive 109-120fps. Meanwhile, on my Steam Deck, a rock solid 30fps is quite achievable on medium settings (outside of the odd slowdown when transitioning between cutscenes to sandbox).

Basically, this version is impressively scalable and delivers a consistent performance that’s on par with last month’s cracking Horizon Forbidden West release. In short, have no fear—the debacle of Iron Galaxy’s The Last of Us Part 1 port has not been repeated here. Give Nixxes an additional notch on its belt for another job well done.

Has the gameplay aged since the 2020 original? Not one iota. In fact, if anything, my recent playthroughs of Rise of the Ronin and other sandbox action games, like Dragon’s Dogma 2, made me wonder why some of GoT’s smarter concepts haven’t been co-opted.

One facet that stands out the most brilliantly is how low-bloat the HUD is. Rise of the Ronin’s sandbox wasn’t quite on par with the beauty of Sucker Punch’s islands, but it certainly wasn’t ugly. However, all of that was marred by an overabundance of objective markers, lock on indicators, mission text, stat bars, and more.

The immersion preserving elegance of GoT—with its minimal on-screen info and the use of wind changes or wild animals to direct you to points of interest—is bliss.

Likewise, the combat feels just as sublime as it ever did, especially if you set the difficulty to Lethal for more Bushido Blade-esque consequences. Mouse and keyboard controls work brilliantly with Jin’s soft-lock that keeps him sensibly magnetised to his targets, and it’s still fun to play a strategic game of “janken” by switching your three sword styles to achieve maximum damage against certain enemy types.

Better yet are the stand off moments where you can eliminate five dudes with a well-timed iaijutsu draw mechanic. I could do that all day.

I do, however, have to repeat some of my negatives from the original reviews. I still find Jin’s stealth game to be sufficient, but not as sharp as it could be. The caltrops that spoil any ninja run include iffy AI for patrolling enemies and the odd clunky parkour misstep when you’re trying to clumsily secure a high ground. A student of FromSoftware’s venerable Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, this ain’t.

Beyond those expected peccadilloes, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is now the premier samurai action-adventure on PC. Nixxes deserves a deep bow of respect for the obvious care they’ve taken in translating one of the finest PS5 titles to PC.

Obviously, I’m less than impressed with the PSN requirement to play the co-op Legends mode, but that’s a small bit of rust on an experience that’s certain to gleam on the right rig and delight you all over again.

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut was reviewed on PC using code provided by PlayStation Australia.

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut
Reader Rating0 Votes
Brilliant performance
Stand offs are tense, exciting affairs
Breathtaking, HUDless visuals
Packed with content
PSN requirement for co-op grates
Stealth gameplay a bit undercooked in spots
Adam Mathew
Adam Mathew
I grew up knowing and loving a ludicrous amount of games, from dedicated Pong console onwards. Nowadays you'll find me covering and playing the next big things. Often on Stupid-Hard difficulty. Because I'm an idiot.

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