Ghostwire: Tokyo Review
Ghostwire: Tokyo is finally here. The latest from Tango Gameworks, The Evil Wihin and The Evil Within 2 were terrifying in their own way, and while Ghostwire is a different experience, you can feel the similarities throughout. It is up to you to save Tokyo’s population from supernatural forces – can you do it?
A Beautifully Haunted Tokyo
Exploring Tokyo in this title is an absolute treat. The development team has blended modern cityscapes with dark and dank allies. They’ve also captured the rich history of the area with temples and spirits known as Yokai.
There are iconic landmarks all over for you to explore, and despite being about the supernatural, it gives that sense of realism. Whether you are checking out Shibuya Crossing or Tokyo Tower, there are actual real world locations that have been expertly crafted for your enjoyment.
Devastating Elemental Abilities
Ghostwire starts with you waking up after a bad accident and now merged with the spirit of K.K. (and no we aren’t talking about K.K. Slider….although I am waiting for THAT mod) who between the two of you have a common enemy and goals aligned as everyone has disappeared and Tokyo is now haunted with Yokai, Spirits, and Demons. From Slenderman lookalikes and even Momo (if you remember that one) are present in the game, the enemy design is fascinating. Anyway K.K. gives you the ability to trap spirits, seal demons and fight with elemental powers (Wind, Fire, Water) as you traverse the landscape of Tokyo in search of the man who stole your sister and is trying to merge the underworld with the real world. Along the way, you must clear the fog by purifying temples to reveal more of the map. Once you get 5-10 hours into this game it begins to look similar to an Assassins Creed map honestly between all the markers. While you go from main mission to main mission there are tons of other activities to do. Of course, there are your typical side quests, which in Ghostwire actually for the most part have some interesting story tidbits as you help spirits stuck in our world for one reason or another and you help them solve their issues so they can pass on into the afterlife. You must collect the spirits of all the folks who disappeared as a way to earn additional XP and money. You can sell collectibles to merchants, hunt down various Yokai to unlock new skill tree options, pray at statues, etc, etc. You can even hunt down hidden Tanuki all over the map. There is no shortage of stuff to do, but whether or not the gameplay hooks you is the question.
The combat is done primarily through Ethereal Weaving, so combat is basically like a first-person shooter except you use your fingers. Wind power is basically like a pistol and is the fastest firing technique. Water works similar to a shotgun and has some spread but it is only effective up close. Then fire is like the rocket launcher doing massive damage but you don’t get much ammo. To replenish your ammo you can get some by defeating the “Visitors” but you get a lot more if you rip out their core when it’s exposed, which is harder to do and leaves you vulnerable to attack by others while performing. You can sneak up on some and get surprise stealth kills and there are certain parts of the game you will rely on a special bow and arrow to survive. There are also a handful of Talismans to use that have various effects such as freezing your enemies which can help you get out of a pinch when needed.
The atmosphere and map in this game are exceptional, there is so much authenticity to this map (except for the temples) that it’s so much fun to explore the subways, malls, arcades, and the like. It is a character of its own in the game and it’s a blast exploring the various little shops or hearing music coming out of a nearby club. The fog rolling through the woods and the rain falling across the neon lights of Tokyo is a beautiful sight. Fun fact, I noticed that the raindrops are Kanji lettering which is just another great little thing they snuck in here. While there isn’t a ton of what I would call horror aspects, there are creepy and freaky parts throughout the game for sure, but nothing scary per se. It’s more of a supernatural action game with some light RPG skill trees mixed in.
The story I found at first not to grab me but there is a certain point in the game where it turns and drastically becomes more and more interesting. There are many twists and turns along the way to keep you wanting to move the narrative forward. Just when you think you have seen it all, the game throws you for a loop. Some sequences were very memorable, similar to the hotel/hallway scenes in Control. For some, the game may become tedious as there are a lot of fetch quests and such. The combat I found satisfying due to the haptics the PS5 offers, but sometimes also seems clunky and non-responsive. The “cool factor” of your hand jive combat does seem to get a bit stale after a while. The skill tree could have benefited from more variety of combat vs increasing the effectiveness of what you have. It wasn’t enough to do much to deter me, just something I noticed while I generally have a pretty fluid control experience with games this gen.
All in all, if you are looking for something just different than other games out there with a bit of supernatural twist this is an easy recommend, even more so if you have an interest in Japanese Culture and Folklore. Another overall solid win for Tango in my eyes. Bonus points because you CAN pet the dogs, and cats for that matter (and you should: spoilers)