Ghost of Tsushima on PS5 has a worthy but not stunning upgrade - technical analysis

Ghost of Tsushima on PS5 has a worthy but not stunning upgrade - technical analysis

When PlayStation 5 hit the market in November last year, two first-party developers from Sony (Bend Studio and Sucker Punch) began leveraging the first cross-generational SDK, allowing Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima to run at 60. frames per second and dramatically improving the experience. Today, as part of a Director's Cut edition that includes a whole host of bonus content, Ghost of Tsushima has been updated once again: it is no longer running via backwards compatibility, it is now an authentic PS5 title capable of taking advantage of all the power of Sony's new flagship. So what has changed from the past? How transformative are the updates?

First of all, it's important to separate Ghost of Tsushima's enhancements into two distinct categories. As part of the update process, the original game received a free patch to introduce a number of substantial upgrades, one of which is quite important: the ability to enable camera lock on opponents. The omission of this element in the original game was a disappointment and partially compromised the quality of the combat phases. It's nice to see that the developer has taken community feedback into consideration and decided to add this mechanic. In addition, additional options have been added to customize the layout of the controls on the controller. These are the free updates available immediately (if you have a PS5, you will still have the possibility to play in backward compatibility with the PS4 game with 60fps support).

The rest of the Director's Cut content, including the actual PS5 update, requires a user investment. The cost of this patch varies by territory and gives players access to new content, including the Iki Island expansion and the actual native PlayStation 5 version of the game. We will focus on the latter for the analysis that you will find in this article.

Here is the Digital Foundry video overview of Ghost of Tsushima PlayStation 5 updates.

Watch on YouTube. Two display modes are available, one of which favors frame-rate and the other, perhaps more interesting option, which aims to improve resolution. In both, it appears that Ghost of Tsushima retains the checkerboarding technique used in the PS4 Pro version of the game, with both aiming for a frame-rate of 60 frames per second. The 'Performance' option sticks to the 1800p presentation seen in the PS4 version in backward compatibility, while the 'Quality' option sees the pixel count go up to 2160p for greater clarity. Dynamic resolution scaling can't be turned off but everything we've seen and tested so far points to a fairly stable resolution. The performance, in both modes, is essentially identical: the frame-rate at 60fps is so granitic that opting for the 'Performance' mode can be really superfluous.

Net of some tweaks to the general presentation, the Switching from 1800p to 2160p is the main change offered by this patch (which results in greater screen clarity but is nothing really stunning). The most important improvement over the standard PS4 version is the jump to 60 frames per second but that goal was already achieved by running the original game in backward compatibility on the new console. This does not mean that Sucker Punch has not perfected other aspects of the game but only that the visual impact of this update may appear rather limited. However, it's a welcome patch: thanks to it, the game takes advantage of the PS5's storage capabilities more effectively, which means that the load times, already very fast, are now literally instantaneous. Also, DualSense 3D audio and haptic feedback have been implemented.

Our original Ghost of Tsushima video in backward compatibility on PlayStation 5.

Watch on YouTube. In addition to this, what were previously pre-rendered cutscenes on PS4 are now generated in real time on PS5, opening the door to more adequate lip sync than previously seen. Curiously, all footage now runs at 30 frames per second, which is at least bizarre when you consider that the backward compatible PS4 version has always run cinematics at 60fps. We can assume that Sucker Punch did this to give the game some consistency but we would have preferred to be able to experience the whole experience at a higher frame-rate.

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Ultimately, the Director's Cut version of Ghost of Tsushima brings with it a reasonable set of updates but the feeling remains that Sony is demanding an additional outlay from users for one type of patches that other developers and publishers are distributing for free when, in fact, the biggest update of all (the 60fps display) was already available in the backward compatible version. The game, however, is truly excellent and the improvements obviously add value to the experience.

Mind you though: it's not a transformative upgrade like the one we've seen in games like Marvel's Spider-Man or Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition. Beyond resolution, cut-scenes and loading times, there's not much else that differentiates the native PlayStation 5 version from its backward compatible counterpart: visual distances are the same as PS4 Pro, and so is the quality of the effects. and the geometries are unchanged. Artistic improvements? We caught a glimpse of thrifty texture updates but nothing really significant.

Taking a step back and looking at Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut from another perspective, we're happy to see that the entire package can be purchased on disc for PlayStation. So for those who are on PlayStation 5 and don't own the PS4 version, this is a great option (and for physical game collectors like us, it's nice to know that the full package is available in a format to add to our precious shelf. ).

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