Ghost of Tsushima’s growling cats may be my favorite PS5 feature

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Since the PlayStation 5 debuted, we’ve seen many new uses for its DualSense driver. Game developers have taken advantage of haptic vibrations simulate weather such as rain or wind, while the triggers added resistance makes firing a gun or taking an exhausted NBA star sprint even more immersive. Often, these features help make seemingly small interactions feel more significant – and another favorite example is cats Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut On PS5.

The new version isn’t really a director’s cut, at least in the typical sense, but an improved version open world samurai game originally released as the last major PS4 exclusivity in 2020. The game married a fairly conventional open world structure that included unique samurai elements such as a sword fight and the ability to soak in a hot spring or find a quiet place to write a longing. The director’s cut is at the same time an upgrade of the new generation and an extension of the original game.

In terms of enlargement, there is a whole new area called Iki Island, which has its own story that is quite different from the main campaign. The protagonist Jin Sakai gets to know about a kind of hallucinogenic poison used in Tsushima and traces its source to a cult-like group led simply by a woman named the eagle, Iki. To protect his homeland, he leaves for the island to stop the Eagle altogether.

Iki is much smaller than Tsushima, and the expansion is also much darker than the base game. Things start rough: Jin’s boat faces bad weather, and he washes on the beach completely alone. Eventually, he joins forces with a group of robbers who have been destroyed by Eagle’s forces. There are a lot of deaths and drama, and the challenge has also been added a bit – I find myself dying a lot more than usual (although this may be due to a long layoff between playing the current and original version last year).

Outside the new location and search line, as well as next-generation standard updates such as improved visuals and performance (you can, as with most PS5 games, choose “higher resolution” and “better frame rate”), a handful of new gaming features. Shamanic enemies are able to strengthen other fighters by adding a great strategic layer to the battle, and you can also unlock more quest skills to find specific locations. Here comes the most important addition: animal sanctuaries.

Iki Island feels much more vibrant than Tsushima, and there are more variety of wildlife. When I first arrived, there were monkeys hanging on the beach, and as I moved deeper into the island, I found new places where the cats just hung around and lazy in the grass. When you first find a sanctuary, you need to earn the trust of cats by playing the flute. This is done by moving the controller up and down using the DualSense motion detection feature to stay tuned. Once sorted, you can walk to any cat and press the right trigger to pet.

Here’s a lovely animation where the cat walks slowly to Jin, smells, kisses his hand, and then gives a playful bite to his wrist. DualSense is constantly doing significant work by copying the unmistakable sense of buckling through controller vibrations. (It’s also a great place to play in the game’s photo mode, where you can really zoom in to see the details; when it’s windy, you can even see a cat’s fur blowing around.)

Part of what it does Ghost so different is the way it balances the brutal, bloody struggle with quieter, more reflective moments. These new shrines are building on this idea even more. They’re not quite necessary, and you can probably experience a new story without even interacting with them. But after a few hours, they’ve been the most memorable part of the expansion so far – there are a few better ways to relax after a violent conflict than a cat growling in your hand.

Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut will be released on PS5 on August 20th.

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