Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Lower: The whole lot new on Iki Island
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut took the 2020 game we fell in love with and revamped it for the PlayStation 5. If the Last of Us 2 didn’t exist, Ghost of Tsushima would have arguably taken home every award at the 2020 game awards, including Game of the Year. We’ll likely see the same results with 2021’s nominees. But, with such positive fan feedback, the team at Sucker Punch knew they had to deliver on something special. With plenty to unpack, let’s talk about everything new on Iki Island in Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut.
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead! We won’t be giving away any character-building or story progression spoilers in this article. We’ve only mentioned new abilities to unlock, enemies you’ll fight, and collectibles you’ll find on Iki Island.
Tales of Iki Island
Again, we won’t be giving away any spoilers for the story itself. However, the Iki Island expansion dives deep into Jin’s past as we learn more about the relationship between Jin and his father, Kazumasa. The Eagle has sunk her talons into Iki Island by way of a hallucinogenic poison. Once she’s taken control of Iki, she’ll set her sights on Tsushima. If Jin’s already defeated the Khan, he’ll see the Eagle as the next threat to his home. If not, he’ll know he can’t win a war on two fronts.
Before players leave for Iki Island, Jin makes it clear that the Sakai name is not welcome there. He’ll have to cover his insignias if wearing the Sakai Clan armor and must not speak his true name to residents of Iki. From now on, our protagonist is known as Jin from Yarikawa. As the story unfolds, you’ll learn why the Sakai clan is not welcome on Iki Island.
Other than the main quest, Iki has plenty of side quests and rumors for players to tackle. There are, however, no long tales such as Sensei Ishikawa or Lady Masako’s storylines.
Jin was already the deadliest man on Tsushima. Now with a few new techniques at his disposal, he’s about to become the most lethal man on Iki Island. Funny enough, it’s Jin’s horse that’ll be learning these new moves.
As far as our Samurai hero is concerned, Jin can learn two new exploration techniques to help him find new locations on Iki island. The Wind of Harmony will guide Jin to Animal Sanctuaries around Iki. The Wind of Concentration will show him the way to Archery Challenges. We’ll get into both of these new editions later on.
Horse abilities and upgrades
Jin’s horse will learn Horse Charge shortly after arriving on Iki. If you’ve got a handful of technique points leftover from your previous adventures on Tsushima, you can upgrade Horse Charge to its full potential. You’ll find Horse Charge upgrades under the Ghost Techniques tab. So, what is Horse Charge?
While riding your horse, press L1 to trigger Horse Charge. Jin’s horse will stampede toward a group of enemies and trample any that get in its way. Horse Charge is a great way to take out those roaming bands of Mongols and build up Jin’s Ghost Stance along the way. Hop off, trigger Ghost Stance, and clean up any Mongols that aren’t already covered in hoof prints.
To further improve your Horse Charge, you can equip Horse Armor, specifically the Sakai Horse Armor. Unlock this by completing The Legacy of Kazumasa Sakai, a brand-new mythic tale unique to Iki Island.
Finally, Jin can unlock Saddle Bags for his horse, which will hold reserve ammo when Jin maxes out his carry capacity. For example, if Jin is holding the maximum amount of arrows possible, any additional arrows he picks up will transfer to his horse. If you’ve played Red Dead Redemption 2, you’ll understand how this works in a way. Of course, your saddlebags can only hold so much, but Jin can transfer ammo to himself by approaching his horse and pressing Left on the D-Pad. It’s a great way to re-up on ammo before taking down a Mongol stronghold.
New Mythic Tales
Mythic Tales are one of the coolest features in Ghost of Tsushima. The Director’s Cut adds two brand-new Mythic Tales to Iki Island: The Legacy of Kazumasa Sakai and The Legend of Black Hand Riku. Of the two, The Legacy of Kazumasa Sakai is worth doing first, as you’ll unlock the Sakai Clan Horse Armor for your mount. However, Black Hand Riku will net players a new set of armor.
Scattered around Iki Island are Sakai Banners that work similarly to the Sashimono Banners on Tsushima. However, Jin can use the Guiding Wind to take him from banner to banner while on Iki Island. Collecting them will unlock new dye for your horse armor. Believe us when we say that these dyes are some of the coolest cosmetics in the game.
Hot Springs, Bamboo Strikes, and Shinto Shrines
Upgrade your health and resolve even further by finding new Hot Springs and Bamboo Strikes on Iki Island. Yes, everyone’s favorite golden bird flew to Iki to guide players to these locations. They can also set the Guiding Wind to take them there if they’ve unlocked the appropriate exploration techniques.
There is one new Shinto Shrine on Iki Island located off the southeast coast, on a small island called Nakajima Island. There, you’ll also find a Sakai Clan Banner, plenty of supplies, and Mashira’s Bite, an awesome-looking sword kit. There are no Inari Shrines on Iki Island, though. Fox dens, apparently, are native to Tsushima.
Progressive is the only way we can describe four new charms added to Iki Island. The first time you encounter an Animal Sanctuary, be it monkey, deer, or cat, you’ll unlock a charm specific to that sanctuary. Upon your first Archery Challenge, you’ll unlock the Charm of Concentration. Each subsequent discovery and completion will upgrade those charms. Let’s go into more detail.
There are eight Archery Challenges scattered all over Iki. You can use the Wind of Concentration to find them all, but don’t get stuck on them. Upon discovering the first challenge, you’ll unlock the Charm of Concentration. This minor charm gradually increases your concentration by one-tenth of a second as you gain upgrade points toward it. Accumulate points by completing all three Archery Challenge time milestones. Hitting all seven targets in seven seconds is no easy task without the right gear and charms for the job.
There are three types of Animal Sanctuaries on Iki Island: Deer, monkey, and cat. Each type has three of its own sanctuaries for players to find and complete. However, each sanctuary plays the same way. Jin will sit with his flue and play a tune from his childhood to calm and lure the animal. You’ll physically move your controller up and down, following the song track. The only way we can describe it is Ghost of Flute Hero without the buttons.
Deer Sanctuaries unlock and upgrade the Charm of Subaru’s Might, a Ranged Charm that locks onto an enemy’s head after aiming your bow for 3.5 seconds. The time decreases as you complete Deer Sanctuaries and upgrade the charm.
Monkey Sanctuaries unlock and upgrade the Charm of Mashira’s Protection, a Defense Charm that extends your perfect parry window for six seconds every time you heal. However, healing now costs two Resolve. Upgrading it will increase the time duration.
Cat Sanctuaries unlock and upgrade the Charm of Nekoma’s Hunt, a Stealth Charm that allows you to throw a Kunai at a target 15 meters away during a Chain Assassination. Upgrading this charm will increase the distance at which a Kunai can be thrown.
There are several new enemies that Jin will encounter on Iki island. While the mechanics you’ve learned thus far will help you deal with these enemies, it’s how you implement those mechanics that increase your chance of survival.
Shamans are the first new enemy that Jin will encounter. They are The Eagle’s spiritual lieutenants and cause other enemies to attack relentlessly. While under a Shaman’s spell, enemies will attack Jin on all fronts instead of one or two at a time. They are harder to stagger and don’t ever let up on the attack. Therefore, Jin should prioritize Shamans whenever he hears one chanting. Thankfully, killing them is not that hard.
Shamans are technically spear-wielding enemies and thus weak to Wind Stance. Approach one and hold Triangle to launch a Typhoon Kick. Then, roll toward the Shaman and press Square to kill them while they’re still on the ground. The kill window is pretty big, so don’t worry if they look like they’re about to get up. If you’re having trouble locating the Shaman, enter focus by pressing the trackpad. You’ll hear the Shamans chanting above everything else and be able to pinpoint their location.
Multi-weapon enemies are new to Iki Island and will put your stance-switching skills to the test. You’ll need Wind and Water Stance unlocked to fight these guys, as they’ll switch between swords, shields, and spears. Pay attention to which weapon they’re using, and switch to the necessary stance. Thankfully, multi-stance Brutes don’t exist.
Spear Brutes, though, are how Iki Island has taken the game’s biggest enemies and made them deadlier. Wielding a double-ended, spear-like Darth Maul, these Brutes pack a serious punch and are near impossible to perfectly dodge away from. Switch to Moon Stance, and kick them in the face until you break their guard. Their attack can be interrupted with a well-placed kick, too.
Duels in Ghost of Tsushima are the best fights in the game. Boss battles are both cinematically pleasing and hard enough to make you want to pull your hair out. In Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut, you can replay all the duels you’ve previously beaten. When you go to replay a duel, you’re told that it offers a “uniquely challenging experience.” So what does that mean?
Well, it just makes the duel harder than it was originally. Your opponent deals more damage, and they take more damage.
Other than duels, you can replay Mongol strongholds. Again, you’re prompted with the same message and are given a new set of bonus challenges than before.
The Hidden Cove Tournament
Shortly after completing the first few Tales of Iki, you’ll unlock the Hidden Cove Tournament. Here, Jin will face off against four unique opponents with Bokken Sticks, Japanese wooden swords used for training. Each opponent fights with a different combat style and will throw different moves at Jin that he’ll have to parry or dodge away from. There is no penalty for losing, but you do have to defeat the first three opponents before facing the fourth and final enemy.
However, upon beating the fourth opponent, he’ll become available as a vendor known as the Crimson Dye Merchant.
The Crimson Dye Merchant
Your recently bested opponent will offer one item free of charge from his shop. He has a unique inventory of Sword Kits, Armor Dyes, hats, and masks available with his patented crimson color. Choose your free gift wisely. Everything else will cost you those hard-earned flowers.