Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island DLC Review – The Eagle Has Landed
Ghost of Tsushima Directors Cut: Iki Island DLC
Sucker Punch Productions
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Review copy provided by the publisher
Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island offers even more stunning scenery and captivating stories where players can experience Jin’s character to its fullest.
When it comes to DLC’s added onto some popular gaming titles, they can often feel shoehorned into a rather bland experience and sometimes, it’s probably better not to bother to begin with. That was my first thought when it came to initially playing Ghost of Tsushima‘s latest add-on from Sucker Punch’s open-world title.
What more could they possibly implement that could be considered new, fresh and enticing? I’ll be honest, (which is always helpful) I enjoyed the base game of Ghost of Tsushima mostly because riding around on a horse on the breathtaking island while chasing foxes, upgrading my armour and taking endless pictures was a total brain cleanser for me. After a hard day, jumping into protagonist’s Jin Sakai’s world was a far cry from my own and the visual beauty of Tsushima was exactly what I needed as my own escapism.
For me, one of GoT‘s pitfalls was its sometimes unimaginative storylines where I’d find myself playing similar narratives, again and again, fighting the same endless, monotonous foes. Thankfully, the Iki Island DLC gave Ghost of Tsushima a much-needed facelift where I got to lift the lid on what lays beneath this powerful samurai, his fears, hopes and also who this new enemy they call The Eagle is and how, eventually, this dangerous shaman helps Jin learn his own truths.
Straight out of the gate, Iki Island is a glorious place to explore. With rugged cliffs, lush landscapes dotted with flora and the most amazing sunsets you’ll see in a game, its inviting environment made me want to uncover it more and visit every area of interest possible. Stumbling across a tranquil area, I found myself playing the flute to a bunch of kitties that was almost too wholesome for words but these are the many uplighting elements you’re exposed to on this remote archipelago.
I love that this DLC has opened up a deeper more explorable storyline into Jin’s mind as we, the players, pull up a seat for the journey into his darkest memories.
Of course, just like Tsushima, Iki island is under Mongol threat so peace doesn’t last long coupled with the added pressure that the locals have a strong dislike for samurai’s. With the looming presence of a new enemy, The Eagle, Jin’s world turns upside down after being poisoned by this deluded woman shaman after he gets captured trying to stop the Mongols. Jin’s entire universe becomes a twisted nightmare in which he hallucinates past events that had happened on the island regarding his father and both of their fates.
Thanks to the leader of the Mongols mind-churning concoction, Jin falls into a supernatural visional journey throughout the entire game, reliving flashbacks of his father’s death on Iki island, the guilt he felt and coming face to face with the raiders who fought against his father. I love that this DLC has opened up a deeper more explorable storyline into Jin’s mind as we, the players, pull up a seat for the journey into his darkest memories.
These flashbacks collide with eerie interactions with the Eagle when Jin’s health is low or about to fight a Mongol. Even though this layer of great storytelling adds a dark twist to the Ghost of Tsushima aesthetics, the frequency and timing of them can, at times, be annoying. For instance, I was just about to battle with some feisty foes when everything went dark and the hallucinations started, popping me out of battle mode and making me watch a past event. To me, this was like watching a really good part in a movie and then an advertisement interrupted your viewing.
The island’s enemies are pretty tough due to the shaman elements so getting into the right frame of mind is critical. You will be faced with the same mechanics as seen in the base game but your enemies can sometimes change up their position mid-fight to offer you an element of surprise as well as the ability to parry more. There is also a new target lock-on camera that I found hindered my experience so I personally wouldn’t advise it but it could work for those who want a cleaner, more structured battle mode.
If you happen to be playing the DLC on your PS5, the DualSense features offer a sensory treat that adds more impact to your gaming experience.
Some of my best moments in Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island was simply taking on the Mystic Quests where one had me looking in the depths of a spooky cave, lighting lanterns along the way in the hopes of finding Gosaku’s Armour in the ultimate showdown battle or tracking down someone who’s pretending to be the ghost himself. The archery challenges are also well worth your time. You’ll find these dotted around the island in which you partake in a time trial to see how many lanterns you can hit.
If you happen to be playing the DLC on your PS5, the DualSense features offer a sensory treat that adds more impact to your gaming experience. The haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and sounds penetrating from the PS5 controller caught me off guard in a really cool way that certainly added to the game’s immersion.
If you’re looking for 10-15 hours more of Ghost of Tsushima but with a greater emphasises on the inner struggles of Jin and an exploration of his backstory coupled with some meaty side quests, cat petting and disgustingly stunning scenery, you really can’t go wrong with taking on the island of Iki.