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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Honor, respect, sacrifice, protecting your people, defending your home. Concepts of redemption and forgiveness. Players have options to define their story with some choices throughout the tale. Heroic deeds are frequently referenced and shown, although the frequent scenes and demands for revenge, waging war, and destruction of villages temper the positive messages.
Positive Role Models
Jin is a reluctant hero: He wants his people to be safe but knows that he has to face off against the brutal Mongol hordes. Initially, he refuses to compromise his samurai code, but realizes he has to bend rules and adjust his methods to fight an unconventional battle against invaders. Ultimately, he's willing to sacrifice everything to save his uncle, free his people, remake their idea of samurai. He frequently shows remorse, also strives to help redeem his allies, even when they act negatively. Jin also thinks about his mistakes and his personal issues, resolving them with a lot of introspection.
Gameplay features a variety of Japanese and Mongol characters in the game and side missions. Mongols are shown as ruthless invaders willing to kill everyone and destroy the beauty of the land to accomplish their goals. Male and female warriors are shown to be equally capable and feared in battle, making them formidable allies and enemies. Main Japanese characters have quite a lot of depth and complexity to their individual tales, and come from a range of social classes and character types -- from nobles and peasants to traders and traitors, even monks that get involved in the fray.
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Ease of Play
Controls are easy to pick up and learn, with tutorials scattered along the way to help players learn new abilities and moves. Biggest challenge is timing related to parrying or blocking certain moves, which can take some practice, especially when you're attacked by multiple opponents at once. A target lock, which was sorely missing from the original game, makes fast-paced fights easier to engage in, though you still have overwhelming numbers and attacks from all sides to contend with.
Violence & Scariness
Characters use swords, spears, bombs, bows and arrows, etc., to defeat enemies. Splashes of blood frequently coat the ground and characters, and gurgles can be heard as enemies die. Arms and heads can be cut off in battle, and, depending on how well you conduct your attacks, you can terrify your enemies. Other cutscenes involve people being set on fire or impaled, bodies being hung from trees or stacked into piles.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jin's buttocks can be seen whenever he enters and exits natural hot springs scattered across the map to rest and reflect.
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"Bastard," "damn," "s--t" used occasionally in dialogue.
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Products & Purchases
Director's Cut enhances original Ghost of Tsushima game with new control schemes, a lock-on feature, multiplayer modes, previously included downloadable content (DLC), and more. Owners of the original will get some features patched in for free, but for the new multiplayer mode, island storyline, and other extras, they'll have to pay $20.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One scene shows Jin and another character sitting and drinking sake before a battle. Another character constantly talks about sake and getting drunk. Other characters frequently mention getting sake for themselves or for others.
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Parents Need to Know
Families need to know that Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut is an adventure game for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Players take on the role of a samurai named Jin who's seeking to free his people and his uncle from invaders who've launched an all-out assault on his lands. While Jin doesn't want to fight or compromise his morals in repelling the hordes, he's also realistic enough to understand that his tactics must change to face an unconventional enemy. His attempt to be true to himself and his own code lets him help his allies when their emotions overwhelm them, and Jin is also introspective enough to face his own demons and failings, eventually making himself a better person who can accept his choices and shortcomings. Violence is frequent and graphic, with sword fights and other attacks launched against enemies. Arms and heads are often chopped off, blood sprays across the environment and characters, and gurgles can be heard when enemies die. People are also shown being set on fire or impaled, and bodies can be seen hanging from trees or stacked into piles. Jin's buttocks can be seen as he enters or exits the various hot springs on the island to reflect on his life. There's a scene in which Jin and another character drink sake before a battle, while another character constantly talks about sake and getting drunk. There's also occasional use of "bastard," "damn," and "s--t" in dialogue.
Is It Any Good?
This adventure game set in feudal Japan grips you from start to finish with its visuals and story, which make you feel like a samurai facing off against overwhelming odds. As Jin Sakai in Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut, players discover his honor-bound warrior code simply doesn't match up when it comes to fighting the invaders. As a result, he reluctantly adopts unconventional methods and techniques to eliminate his enemies, such as using smoke bombs to vanish from sight or stealthily infiltrate enemy camps. Eventually, he'll merge and evolve these skills into a flexible fighting form, one that befits his new persona as the Ghost. It's incredible to watch Jin terrify enemies when he calls out opponents for a dueling stand-off, and then vanish before reinforcements can arrive. (Also: Duels highlight Jin's mastery of swordplay and feel pulled directly from a samurai movie.) It's interesting to watch Jin's evolving sense of what it means to be a samurai in these troubled times -- an evolution that isn't isolated to him. His allies, who have varying degrees of morality and honor, have their codes tested as well. Without spoiling any details, there are some dark quests for revenge and redemption, which serve as a warning to Jin about the hazards of giving in to emotion, and about fully embracing the persona of the Ghost, as it could potentially doom him to a darker path. It's torturous for Jin, and it tugs on the player's heart to watch his complex struggles. The Director's Cut also adds the new territory of Iki Island. Specifically tied to Jin's past, it allows him to explore his failings and eventually find redemption for himself and his family. (While you can access the eight to 10 hours of content in this part of the story about halfway through the main quest, do yourself a favor and finish the game before departing to Iki. The events of the island carry so much more weight once you've completed the tale.)
Countering the darker themes is simply how beautiful and atmospheric the game looks. Camera angles and shots look like they're plucked straight from a movie or a painting (and that's even without including the customized Kurosawa black-and-white grain filter). Whether you're galloping across fields of pampas grass, standing in a dueling ring as leaves tumble around you, or wandering through forests, the environment is breathtaking. Plus, the world directs players in a subtle and natural way, such as foxes that lead players to shrines that strengthen their personal resolve, or birds that lead players to points of interest. The Director's Cut builds on this with the inclusion of animal sanctuaries, where Jin will play a flute (directed by tilting the controller up and down) to gain the trust of a wild animal. It's a beautiful moment included as a time of reflection in the story. The game even encourages players to compose their own haiku at vistas that inspire reflections of hope or despair. Not only does this help to make the world feel more alive, but it makes Jin and his progress seem more alive and closely tied to the land. Overall, Ghost of Tsushima is an amazing story -- loosely based on the real invasion of Tsushima -- that makes players feel like a true samurai on an epic quest. If Akira Kurosawa had the opportunity to make a video game, Ghost of Tsushima would be the story he would tell.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.