Where some expansions expand on the gameplay with core changes and new systems, Ghost of Tsushima's Iki Island acts more like an extension of the main game loved by so many - with only minor yet appreciated tweaks. For the most part, in conjunction with changes to enemy combat skills and exploration, along with turning your horse into a weapon, playing through Iki fits wonderfully into this originally three-act epic as a welcome fourth. Ever so slightly dusted with imperfections, the captivating story, combat, graphics, and soundtrack are all still among the very best PlayStation exclusives have to offer, mostly overshadowing any grievances.
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.
Despite those shortcomings, there’s no question that Ghost of Tsushima Iki Island is an entertaining overall experience and I’m confident most players will find it worth the asking price; in particular, because the story strengthens Jin’s character arc by shining a light on an aspect of his youth not particularly well explained in the base game. For that reason, it works as an adventure played alongside the base game, and equally as an engaging new chapter for those playing it after the fact.
Where Iki Island excels, though, is in adding some new dimensions to the rest of Ghost of Tsushima. Its exploration of Jin's backstory and his character bring more depth to the base game's tale that improve it overall, and its beautiful new landscape provides both more of what works about vanilla Ghost and a few good, if slight, tweaks on the formula. Nothing is a drastic departure, but it's a lot more of the good stuff, refreshing Sucker Punch's already solid open-world game and providing some interesting reasons to revisit it.
Iki Island doesn't do much beyond just offering more Ghost of Tsushima, but the new content is extremely worthwhile, thanks to a story that dives deeper into Jin's past, a few new combat wrinkles, and plenty of secrets to discover.
The care present in Ghost of Tsushima’s design makes its undercooked take on its own ideas harder to forgive. Take its themes seriously, and it becomes a story about a feudal landlord learning that maybe life isn’t about him, but centering on him anyway. The Jin Sakai that players engage with through play — the Jin Sakai that composes haikus, loves animals enough to play them little tunes on his flute, who never met a row of bamboo he did not want to cut for fun — seems to have the interiority that the Jin Sakai of Ghost of Tsushima’s narrative does not. One is a thoughtful guy you might want to hang around. The other is not. He’s kind of embarrassing.
Everything you're doing is building your own connection to Jin, helping to flesh out the human side of the inimitable Ghost of Tsushima through his family, his friends, and new-found (if reluctant) allies. Sucker Punch's ability to weave beautiful narratives that will, ahem, sucker punch you right in the feels is more in the spotlight here than ever, and it's an utter success.
Iki island is just more Ghost of Tsushima. I wish it had done more to differentiate its action, or tell a bolder story. There are definitely good reasons to visit Iki. I won’t soon forget that moonlight filling the cloudy sky. But it’s too conventional an expansion to be the bid for greatness that this game’s vivid world deserves.
So many combat styles and options. Ninja? Go crazy. Samauri? Yup. Ronin? You betcha. A mongul will fall all the same. Whether or not you lean into the mastery of these styles makes or breaks your experience.
This is also a looker ****, the art direction captures the wonder of Japan.
Great graphics, great gameplay, good sound, but very bland and weak story, even worse than the main game. I recommend it if you like the Japanese / samurai theme or Akira Kurosawa movies, otherwise just buy it only on sale.
SummaryIf you’re a history buff, you may know that in addition to Tsushima, the neighboring island of Iki was also invaded during this time period. This island serves as the setting for a whole new chapter in Jin’s journey. In this new story, Jin travels to the island to investigate rumors of a Mongol presence. But soon, he finds himself caught...