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Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut Review: A Masterful Port

Platform(s): PC (version reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
Genre: Open-world Samurai RPG

After earning its place as one of the top-rated PS4 exclusives and later transitioning to the PS5 with a director’s cut brimming with extra content, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is no longer bound to Sony’s consoles. It has now arrived on PC shores, thanks to the impeccable work of the maestros at Nixxes, who delivered this port just two months after their stellar job with Horizon Forbidden West.

This port arrives amidst the ongoing controversy surrounding Helldivers 2 and the mandatory PSN accounts on PC, a situation that has also impacted Sucker Punch’s production.

Despite this, as we’ll explore in this review of Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut for PC, it still stands tall as one of the finest samurai games ever made. But because this is a port, I won’t be focusing as much on the story and narrative.

Let me also disclaim that I played Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut with mouse and keyboard on my gaming laptop which is a Lenovo Legion 5i which runs with a 12th Gen Intel i5 processor, an NVIDIA RTX 3060 (Laptop), and 16 GB of RAM. It should also be noted that I chose to run this game on my external HDD so it may run even better if installed on your SSD.

Together with Bloodborne, it has been one of the most eagerly awaited PlayStation titles by PC gamers, and as of 16 May, the wait is finally over. But does this PC version of Ghost of Tsushima meet the high expectations?

With Nixxes, renowned for their excellent PlayStation-to-PC ports like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, at the helm, the answer seemed clear.

 

The Tale of the Ghost

Though Ghost of Tsushima shares the samurai theme with recent titles like Rise of the Ronin for PS5, it distinguishes itself with a unique historical backdrop—the Mongol invasion of 1274. Unlike the more frequently depicted Sengoku period, this game plunges us into an earlier era.

In the dramatic assault on Tsushima Island, a mere 80 Japanese warriors faced a Mongol force tens of thousands strong. We step into the shoes of Jin Sakai, a samurai-inspired by real members of the So clan.

Initially, Jin appears to be a somewhat stereotypical character driven by revenge and guilt. However, as the story unfolds through flashbacks and memories, he gains significant depth and complexity.

The narrative is delivered through “tales,” a series of interconnected missions that introduce us to other survivors on the island. This storytelling method forms a solid narrative arc, even if it doesn’t venture into particularly bold territory.

Ghost of Tsushima’s gameplay epitomizes the open-world genre. It includes main missions, side quests, action-packed sequences, stealth elements, horse riding across expansive plains, collectables, and the exhilarating katana combat that lets us embody the honourable samurai spirit. Players can engage in multi-enemy battles using techniques like dodging and executing finishers, and experience intense “duels” requiring quick reflexes.

The open world introduces creative features like the wind guiding players to their destinations. However, its most compelling aspect is its vibrant and colourful palette, which is further enhanced on PC with higher resolution, improved visual effects, and an overall superior finish.

 

Fresh Additions

Nixxes’ reputation as the premier studio for bringing PlayStation games to PC didn’t happen by accident: they consistently push boundaries, integrating features tailored to the PC environment and its diverse user base.

Nixxes has once again gone above and beyond, not only supporting the standard 16:9 aspect ratio but also catering to ultra-widescreen setups, including 21:9, Super Ultrawide 32:9, and even 48:9 for those with triple monitor rigs. Whatever your screen configuration, you can fully optimize your gaming experience.

And let’s talk about visuals. With cutting-edge image scaling technologies like NVIDIA DLSS 3, AMD FSR 3, and Intel XeSS, coupled with frame generation, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut can effortlessly run in 4K resolutions with high frame rates, adapting seamlessly to your hardware.

But that’s not all. The beloved photo mode, now a staple in PlayStation exclusives, remains intact but receives a turbo boost in execution. Picture this: dynamic elements like fireflies and fluttering leaves add an extra layer of depth to your snapshots, creating an immersive experience. And let’s not forget the mesmerizing lighting effects that will leave you spellbound.

Despite the ongoing debate surrounding the mandatory PSN account requirement for PC gaming, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut breaks new ground by introducing the PSN “overlay” feature. This innovative addition allows seamless integration with PSN, enabling you to connect with friends, check your trophies, and adjust settings right from within the game. It’s a game-changer for cross-play enthusiasts and cooperative gaming aficionados.

Admittedly, the PSN overlay on PC has its limitations, such as the absence of certain sorting options for trophies. However, it’s a significant stride forward, fostering connectivity between console and PC players, and bridging the gap for those who straddle both worlds.

As with previous Nixxes ports, full compatibility with the Dualsense controller is maintained, offering immersive features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. And for those who prefer the precision of mouse and keyboard controls, fret not—everything is fully customizable, catering to every gaming preference under the sun.

Personally, I found the mouse and keyboard setup remarkably intuitive, save for a minor hiccup with the dodge button, easily remedied with a quick rebind to a mouse button.

 

Performed With A Steady Stance

Now, let’s delve into the performance. Given my laptop’s specs mentioned earlier, I had some limitations on how intensely I could stress test the game. Despite having the game installed on my HDD instead of my SSD, it maintained a steady 60 FPS on the lowest settings, likely due to the VSync feature, which lets you run the game at half the refresh rate (in my case, 120 FPS).

While I’m not the pickiest about graphics, I must admit that even at the lowest settings, the game looks stunning. This is largely thanks to its vibrant colour palette, which compensates for the lower details when playing on such low graphic settings.

About 10 hours into my playthrough, I decided to experiment with the highest graphics settings. To my surprise, the game held up remarkably well. I expected a significant drop in frame rates, but it maintained a steady 40 FPS, both in and out of combat. This was a delightful surprise, demonstrating the game’s robust performance across different settings. So kudos to Nixxes for making this game accessible without being overly taxing.

 

A Masterclass in PlayStation-to-PC Porting

Nixxes has once again showcased their expertise with an outstanding PlayStation-to-PC port, marred only by minor issues like occasional DLSS 3 glitches. The game excels across the board, delivering enhanced detail, lighting, textures, and animations that surpass the console versions. The synergy of NVIDIA DLSS and AMD frame generation is particularly remarkable, boosting performance even on older GPUs.

In short, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut on PC is a visual spectacle packed with content, making it essential for samurai adventure enthusiasts. Nixxes has truly raised the bar for future PlayStation-to-PC ports.

 

Final Score: 90/100

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