Initial release date: March 22, 2022
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Mode: Single-player video game
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows
Genres: Role-playing video game, Action-adventure game
"Review Copy Provided By Bethesda"
Ghostwire: Tokyo comes from the mind of Shinji Makami, known as the creator of the Resident Evil franchise and the Evil Within franchise. Games like Ghostwire: Tokyo are a rare breed these days and I truly do wish we had more titles that were as creative and imaginative as this one is by mixing in adventure, action, supernatural powers, and horror all in one.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is set-in modern-day Tokyo during and after a paranormal event occurs and causes nearly all of the people of Tokyo to disappear while yokai and vengeful spirits overrun the city. Our protagonist, Akito, is the lone survivor of the mist that took away the inhabintant of Tokyo and had merged with (or possessed by) a spirit named KK. Akito must dive into the city to learn more of what is occurring as well as team up with the rouge spirit KK and battle the evil that blankets the city all while collecting the spirits of lingering Tokyo residents. Akito’s goal is to find and save his sister while KK is seeking revenge for not only his death but the death of those he loves.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is an OpenWorld action adventure first person RPG with some horror elements thrown in. It isn’t a horror game, but there are moments when it will scare the crap out of you with some jumpscares here and there. There will be moments where you will be in some enclosed spaces and the imagery can be downright terrifying and occasionally his will happen in the OpenWorld areas as well. When it comes to the open world environment, you will start off with just being able to get around on foot, however, as you get further into the first two chapters you will get abilities that allow you to scale buildings in a single bound and glide for a limited time utilizing your spirit energy. What’s interesting is that a lot of the combat aspects of this game feel like they were inspired by Doom with how ballistic and bombastic the fights can feel when you start zipping about environments while swapping through your magic and defeating foes, especially when you gain more abilities as the game progresses. Rip and tear……er yokai spirits? Eh It works for me!
Enemies are terrifying with some truly unsettling looking monsters. You’ll run into slender man looking enemies, headless schoolgirls, and more. There are some really interesting initial boss characters that turn into normal enemies that look substantially different than the slender man ones which are pretty cool. When you run into the woman in white with the scissors for the first time your heart will jump! Bosses are mutated monstrosities that will have you not only unsettled, but on your toes trying to defeat them. When it comes to how they attack however, well its pretty routine with them all having attack patterns that see them trying to rush in to get some hits in and then backing up to stalk you. This can feel repetitious especially when you run into the same enemy types over and over again.
The way the game plays is like many other Bethesda first person shooters with the exception being that while combat is there, stealth is very important in this game as often you will need to decide how you want to approach a given situation depending on the amount and type of enemies you’ll encounter. You can utilize what’s called spiritual power to fire off spiritual energy that initially starts off as just wind energy in the first chapter of which you go on to gain more elemental powers in chapter 2 from the explosive and powerful fire spirit energy to the weaker yet wide arcing water spirit energy. Usage of your spirit attacks will drain them requiring you to find spirit energy ammo which is akin to gun clips to restock them in order to use them again. The way the DualSense feedback is handled is amazing and really immerses you further into this game. Aside from having spirit attacks at your disposal, you also will acquire a spirit bow which allows you to destroy the cores of spiritual blockades that can damage you if touched and hold spirits that you can absorb. The bows’ secondary function is also as a weapon against the enemies known as the Visitors as it is a powerful weapon that can often take down Visitors in a single hit, yet, is also limited in the number of arrows you can carry which makes you use them more sparingly and strategically. You can replenish arrows at either a Neko convenience store or by way of finding quivers across the map that are holding arrows.
Cleansing shrines on maps is also something you will need to do in order to purify areas to open up more of the map as the game progresses. You will even run into situations where you will need to utilize the touch pad to do incantation swipes followed by pressing L2 and R2 which is pretty neat if a bit gimmicky and reminds me of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. There are moments where the game will strip you of all your spirit powers and force you to use the bow and stealth; these moments are incredibly tense and stressful, and I LOVE IT! I wish this would happen more often in the game, but I can appreciate what we do have here.
When not using spirit attacks, you’re able to utilize a physical attack that allows you to break spirit objects to gain spirit ammo and or money to purchase various items such as arrows for your bow and health restoratives like food and even spiritual food which allows you to gain various temporary buffs. Stores are run by spirit Neko (Spirit Cats) that not only will have items for sale but will also have mini quests for you to complete that will consist of collecting specific items of which will net you some serious money and items which can be worthwhile for you to go out of your way to get.
You have access to a spirit dowsing technique which allows you to get a lay of the land as well as see where items and enemies are located by pressing the square button. This is useful as in the first 2 chapters you will need to rely upon stealth more heavily than you will going on an all-out offensive as you can and will get swarmed by Visitors and if you run out of spirit energy and didn’t bother upgrading your abilities such as your block to be able to give you energy back if you perform a perfect block then you will struggle.
Speaking of upgrades, the game has a level progression system with you being able to gain experience from both defeating enemies and gathering spirits that, when you gather enough souls, you can go to any of the telephone booths and deposit the souls of which will give you experience points. This allow you to purchase various upgrades to abilities and stat buffs such as being able to gain spirit energy by performing a perfectly timed block or being able to have an extended time to snatch the souls of staggered enemies and even increase the power and potency of spirit attacks that such as the blast radius and damage output of charged up fire spirit attacks and so on. It’s a straightforward system that no matter what you upgrade, won’t have you ever feeling like you’re under leveled or outclassed.
There are tons and tons of side quests that you can dive into. They are opened up by expanding more of the map and speaking to some of the lingering spirits that have something tying them to our world. You can even speak to cats and dogs and even give them food and pet them which can lead to side quests or items.
Graphically, the game looks outstanding although when compared to Horizon Forbidden West or Elden Ring it does lose some luster. The city of Tokyo is awe-inspiring with how detailed it looks. You’ll be exploring areas such as Shibuya crossing, back alleyways, graveyards, shrines, and subway stations. The game has a few graphical mode choices such as Quality Mode and Performance Mode giving you either a capped 30 FPS with Raytracing and brilliant lighting and 4K visuals while the performance mode is a silky smooth 60 FPS that doesn’t utilize Raytracing or have the same high-resolution visuals. There are 2 additional graphical modes to choose from giving you the ability to have an unlocked frame rate and Vsync as well. Personally, I stick with Performance Mode because it runs so smoothly and is the best when it comes to gameplay for me.
The voice acting in Japanese to me is stellar while the English voice acting, I feel is serviceable if a little phoned in. Akito and KK have a good dynamic of banter between each other as they will argue and bicker with each other in what I feel is a buddy cop kind of way.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is a fun title to dive into and is a great next step for Tango Gameworks. The combat system is a ton of fun and offers a lot of variety and creativity and the open world is amazingly busy and a joy to. Ghostwire: Tokyo is an absolutely amazing game to dive into that you will most definitely enjoy!