Ghost of Tsushima was an amazing game when it came out a year ago, with a meaty campaign, stellar samurai combat, and arguably one of the most gorgeous open worlds ever created. This Iki Island expansion is its first paid DLC, which is also included as part of the new Director’s Cut, and it delivers a brand-new island, a new story chapter, new sidequests, and a healthy heap of new secrets and collectibles to discover. And while none of it goes any further than just “more Ghost of Tsushima,” in my book, more Ghost of Tsushima is always a great thing.
In order to play the Iki Island content, you’ll need to progress to at least Act 2 of the main campaign (you can also circle back and do it after beating the story). That’s when Jin discovers that a group of Mongols, led by a woman named The Eagle, are planning an invasion of Tsushima from the neighboring Iki Island. Wanting to nip the invasion in the bud, Jin heads to Iki Island himself, which is a mostly lawless land inhabited primarily by bandits who are also suffering at the hands of The Eagle and her tribe.
Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island Story Expansion Screenshots
Iki Island is a place of great significance to Jin because it’s the place where his father died, which makes the story deeply personal. We get to see Jin’s character explored to a degree far beyond what happens in the main campaign, which is great. There are certainly one or two head-scratching plot reveals that border on illogical, but all things considered, I enjoyed the tale of Iki Island and the way it forced Jin to reconcile with his past.
But story aside, the best part about this expansion is the whole new island to explore. Once again you begin with a map that’s almost completely blank and are free to set out in any direction to discover its many landmarks, areas of interest, and some of the coolest Easter eggs I’ve seen in a while. Many of these landmarks are identical to the kind of thing found in the main campaign, like bamboo shoots, hot springs, lighthouses, and Haiku Spots, but there are plenty of entertaining new distractions to discover, too. That includes archery challenges, animal sanctuaries, playable flashbacks, and a handful of sidequests. Two new Mythic Tales are also awesome, and have especially worthwhile rewards – even to someone like me, who already had 100% completion in the base game.
While the context of every quest varies, the content feels very familiar. You’ll infiltrate lots of Mongol camps (whether by stealth or standoff), follow footprints to track people and animals down, and charge through open fields for large-scale battles. It’s all well-trodden ground, since we’ve done these same types of quests before, just in different locations and for different characters, but a year later I was far enough removed that it was fun to do them again.
The one way where Iki Island truly shakes things up is in its enemies. There’s a new type called the Shaman that is not only a formidable fighter, but will also buff all nearby enemies with their song and dance. In addition to that, there are now enemies that will switch up their weapons mid-fight. That means you might begin a fight in Water Stance to deal with an enemy that’s wielding a shield, but then have to swap to Stone Stance once they strap that shield to their back and pull out two swords. It sounds simple, but it can actually be a good challenge to juggle when you’re also worrying about the crowd of enemies surrounding you, all wielding different weapons. It’s just another layer to think about that makes combat even more enjoyable.
It took me eight hours or so to get through the main storyline of Iki Island, even while taking my time and doing a healthy amount of exploration and outpost clearing to expose the map. I’ve since put in another four or five hours to clear out all the landmarks, and at this point I feel like I’ve generally experienced everything substantial this DLC has to offer, making it a small but relatively dense package.