GhostWire: Tokyo Review
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Ghostwire Tokyo is a first-person action adventure game developed by Tango Gameworks, the creators of The Evil Within. For me, Tango has been on a roll with great games ever since the original The Evil Within and it still continues with this game. This game is quite a unique experience. It’s kind of hard to categorize it altogether since it feels so fresh. It’s not exactly a horror game, but it has horror elements and one great combat system! The game is definitely a hidden gem that needs more recognition than it gets.
After getting knocked out from a traffic collision in Shibuya while on his way to see his sister, Akito Izuki is possessed by a spirit. Soon afterwards, a fog moves into the area and turns all inhabitants in the area into spirits. Akito survives thanks to his new spirit possession. A man appears over digital screens and uses a spell to summon demons (visitors) into the area. The visitors trap the souls of the civilians and it is up to Akito to help reclaim them. The spirit inside of Akito gives him special spirit powers that allow him to fight off the visitors. Akito goes to the hospital to find his sister and gets further involved in the situation that Shibuya now faces.
Ghostwire Tokyo is an action/adventure game with horror and shooter elements. You attack with elemental attacks that allows Akito to shoot enemies with projectiles from a distance. Wind-based attacks allow you to fire wind shots at foes, water attacks fire out in wide shots and fire attacks send out an explosive fireball toward enemies. All attacks can be charged for greater damage and extra properties (such as multiple shots, wider shots and explosions). You also gain access to talismans that all have different properties, such as stunning enemies. There is also a bow that can be used for distant shots.
The main goal in a fight is to weaken an enemy enough to expose its core. Once a core is exposed, Akito can yank out the core with his bare hands or by using spiritual ropes that latch onto the enemy core and allow you to pull it out. The core pulling animation is so very satisfying, no matter which type of core pull you get. The animations seem to cycle between various actions to keep the finishing move feeling fresh. The combat in this game is very addicting!
While fighting enemies, you’ll be gaining extra ammo (for your spiritual powers) and experience (for leveling up your character). You can upgrade all your powers and gain new abilities and extra power enhancements. Besides defeating enemies, you can engage in side quests and there are also many collectibles to find. Shibuya is full of the spirits of people that have lost their bodies and you can absorb their souls then take them to a payphone to save them and gain experience and money. Merchants have set up shots and allow you to buy extra food items to heal during combat. Akito can also speak to cats and dogs for extra information and pickups – he can feed the dogs!
From the start, Ghostwire Tokyo seems linear but it opens into a massive open world game as it progresses. A mysterious fog closes off areas but it can be cleared by cleansing torii gates, which will open up new portions of the city. The entire open world of this game is huge and full of many things to do. The amount of extra things to do is far longer than the main story of the game. The actual main story is kind of short. About halfway through the game, I was doing side quests and random exploring quite a bit and decided to finish the main story and came out with a completion time of around 20 hours. This is a long time, but with how much commitment that I put into exploring and doing random side quests, I’d say only about 1/4 of that time was for the main story.
While short, the actual main story is quite good. The characters are in-depth enough to make them interesting. The game has both English and Japanese audio. It seems criminal to play a game that takes place in Japan in English dialogue but with how much action this game pushes on you and then has in-game dialogue during the middle of battles, it’s kind of hard to fully play this game in Japanese since it’s hard to read subtitles during intense fights.
The city of Shibuya is a lot of fun to explore. There is constantly something to do around every street corner. You can float while in the air and this helps Akito move between high buildings. Latching onto tengu will allow Akito to scale buildings much quicker. Spirits often hide out on top of buildings, so you’ll want to scale them to collect them all. There are also many groups of enemies wandering the streets also.
The enemy variety in this game is absolutely fantastic. Each enemy type often has multiple variations. The standard visitor carries an umbrella and this enemy has around five different variations that require different strategies to beat since some are more defensive while others are more aggressive. Some enemy types feel like mini bosses, such as a wild female demon with long hair and a large woman that bum rushes your character to knock you down. Akito can be separated from the spirit that possesses his body. While unattached from the spirit, Akito must fight off enemies with the bow and he has very limited spiritual powers until he manages to get the spirit back into his body. This unattachment can be scripted and there are certain enemies that can force it during the middle of a random fight. Besides normal enemies, the game also has a few boss enemies sprinkled throughout its main story.
The overall landscape is very shiny and full of city lights that shine down onto the dark streets of Shibuya. The city is full of ghosts of people that have lost their physical bodies. The sound to this game is quite immersive. Combat noises, such as yanking out a core are so very pleasing to the ears. Playing this game with headphones had me feeling like I had spiritual powers. Even though the game is first-person, the main character is not treated as a “you” character. Akito is very much a well-rounded character that has his own personality and not just a listener. I very much tire of first-person games that have a generic “you” protagonist.
The game offers many different performance and quality mode settings (normal and High Framerate) for the way this game will run on Series X. Quality gives you better visuals and limits the framerate to 30 fps while Performance gives you lower visuals and gives you a framerate of 60 fps. Even though I used Performance mode, the game would still slowdown to a lower framerate during heavy action sequences or areas where there was too much background effects. While the slowdown doesn’t happen all the time, with the amount of particles and heavy action in this game it happens too much for me to not gripe about it, sadly.
Fans of The Evil Within need to give this game a shot since it has ideas taken from that game at times. If you’ve ever played Breakdown for the original Xbox (it’s a classic on the Xbox store also), Ghostwire Tokyo has that level of immersion in it, but it focuses more on projectile combat rather than melee combat. If you haven’t tried out this game yet, you need to. Everyone should experience this game since it feels fresh and it’s got quite an addicting style of combat. Support unique games such as this, so we get more!
+ The overall combat is fantastic
+ The open world is fun to explore – SO many things to do!
+ Overall good story and characters
+ Sound is immersive, both effects and music
- Slowdown occurs during many fast action sequences
- Main story could be longer
Final Rating: 80% - Ghostwire Tokyo is a very unique experience and if you like Japanese folklore, you’ll love this game!
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.