Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut has so many new features packed into Iki Island that it’s hard to take them all in on the first playthrough. With a complete overhaul to the fan-favorite title of 2020, old players can enjoy the game’s new editions as much as first-timers enjoy the full show. So, what should you focus on when you finally reach the expansion? Here are 10 things you should do first on Iki Island. Warning: minor spoilers ahead!
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For returning players, especially those who’ve put Ghost of Tsushima down for a few months, you’ll want to import your PlayStation 4 save and shake off the dust. Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut makes it easy to pick up where you left off. Ghost’s combat mechanics are easy enough to pick back up, even if you’ve been playing Chivalry 2 all summer. Replayable missions make finding a group of Mongols easy as well. Pick any stronghold to re-hone your Samurai skills.
New players can’t access Iki Island until they reach the Toyotama region of Tsushima in Act II of Jin’s Journey. By then, you’ve learned all the combat skills necessary to venture to Iki Island. However, Iki Island is harder than anything you’ve done thus far. Furthermore, you can’t return to Tsushima until you’ve progressed to a certain point in the Iki Island story. We advise beating the main Tsushima story and treating Iki Island as more of an expansion epilogue.
There’s a reason Ghost of Tsushima won Best Art Direction at the 2020 Game Awards. The scrutinous attention to detail is evident in terms of Japanese art, landscape, and architecture. Iki Island carries the torch with impressive sights, soaring cliffs, and crisp water. Photo Mode junkies and photographers alike will have hours of fun posing our Samurai protagonist in the foreground of Iki’s stunning landscape.
Mythic Tales return in Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut in two new quests Jin can go on. These tales are how players unlock the best equipment in the game.
The Tale of Black Hand Riku tells of a mad pirate blinded by greed (so … every pirate). Jin must track him down and recover his cursed Sarugami Armor. This armor is deadly in the hands of parry-happy players, as it basically combines the perfect parry and Heavenly Strike techniques. However, you won’t be able to execute regular parries anymore. It’s either perfect parry or bust.
The second Mythic Tale is The Legacy of Kazumasa Sakai, Jin’s father. We won’t spoil much of this story for you, as the relationship between young Jin and his father is told beautifully through the main Iki quest and Jin’s playable memories. You’ll learn early on that the Sakai name is not welcome on Iki island, and you know by now that Jin’s father is no longer alive.
Jin overhears a retelling of his father’s campaign on Iki and gets a tip on where his Sakai Clan Horse Armor is. Once recovered, Jin can equip his horse with his father’s armor, one of the most intimidating armor sets in the game. The armor also boosts your Horse Charge skill, a new technique Jin picks up after arriving on Iki Island.
Animal Sanctuaries expand on the flute playing mechanics of Ghost of Tsushima. There are three types of sanctuaries — monkey, deer, and cat — with three of each spread across Iki Island. You’ll use these sanctuaries to level up special charms obtained upon finding them.
Jin will sit with his flute, and an animal will wait cautiously out in front of him. You’ll physically raise the controller up and down to play a song from Jin’s childhood — one his mother had taught to him. Play it well enough, and the animal will approach. Jin can pet his new friend, and we all know how much players love petting animals in Ghost of Tsushima.
Archery Challenges will put your bow skills to the test. You might think you’re a talented archer, but wait until you have to shoot seven targets in seven seconds or less. Complete these challenges to upgrade your Charm of Concentration, a new progressive charm you unlock upon completing your first Archery Challenge. The Charm of Concentration will extend your concentration meter in increments of one-tenth of a second. This may not seem like much, but with 24 upgrade slots, you’re looking at two and a half more seconds of Concentration. Paired with Tadayori’s armor, you’re looking at almost five full seconds of concentration.
“Jin from Yarikawa” is your alias on Iki Island. However, it’s also an early Tales of Iki mission. Play up to this point before fully exploring Iki Island, as you’ll unlock Fune’s Refuge, a village with armor, sword, and bow upgrades. You’ll also find the Hidden Cove Tournament. Most importantly, you can now fast travel back to Tsushima Island.
Compete in the Hidden Cove Tournament
While on the subject of the Hidden Cove Tournament, it’s in your best interest to play it. You’ll use Bokken Sticks, or Japanese wooden swords, to face off against four fighters with unique fighting styles. Each combatant either has a weakness to be exploited or habits you can anticipate and counter. After defeating the fourth opponent, you’ll unlock the Crimson Dye Merchant, who sells some of the coolest cosmetics on Iki Island. He’ll grant you one free item from his shop for your victory in the tournament.
The first tale on Iki Island is called Journey Into the Past. This quest begins the telling of Kazumasa Sakai’s campaign on Iki Island, and you’ll learn plenty about your father through the Tales of Iki — reliving memories of your father will better shape the story. We highly recommend playing all five memories before proceeding further than Jin from Yarikawa in the Tales of Iki.
You can use the Guiding Wind to take you to these memories. However, you’ll have to be wearing the Traveler’s Attire to do so. Each memory put’s Jin in the body of his teenage self. We learn about Kazumasa’s campaign and why the residents of Iki Island hate the Sakai name.
Side quests are the bread and butter of any action RPG. Some open-world games suffer from elongated side quests for minimal rewards. Ghost of Tsushima achieved the perfect blend of storytelling, travel, and combat for side quests in the base game. The same is true for Iki Island.
Since nobody on Iki knows you as the Ghost of Tsushima, you’ll be building up a new Legend Meter, allowing you to earn technique points toward some new mechanics. Look for three dots appearing above the heads of NPCs. These denote rumors that Jin can investigate.
Explore the small islands
The small islands off the coast of Iki hold some of the best rewards in the expansion. Since there are no restrictions to travel on Iki Island, players are free to explore every inch of land from when they set foot on the beach.
Travel south to the Saruiwa Peninsula. There, you’ll find an Archery Challenge and a nearby Monkey Sanctuary. Scale the mountain in front of you to reach the sanctuary and upgrade your charm. You’ll also be looking out over the best view Iki has to offer.
Next door is Saru Island, where you’ll find a secret Bamboo Strike and a Pillar of Honor. We say “secret Bamboo Strike” because there isn’t any bamboo to cut. A nearby NPC says he burnt it to stay warm. However, if Jin has some bamboo on him, he can rebuild and use the Bamboo Strike.
To the southeast, you’ll find Nakajima Island, home to the only Shinto Shrine on Iki. You’ll also find Mashira’s Bite, a sword kit hidden in the labyrinth of climbing, crawling, and grappling.
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