Ghostwire Tokyo Review: Shibuya, a neighborhood in Tokyo, is one of the world’s busiest areas. Whether it’s day or night, it’s typically crowded and positively humming with activity. In Ghostwire: Tokyo, a supernatural force leaves Tokyo’s streets strangely vacant, revealing another aspect of this famous urban metropolis.
Even with more obvious shrines, it seems shockingly like the real thing. The game’s devotion to its environment is matched with equal fervor for embracing Japanese culture and custom.
It’s a nightmare vision, but it’s also an absolutely incredible replica. The problem is that it is significantly less enjoyable to play than it is to take in as a virtual tourist because of the drab mission design and one-dimensional combat.
Ghostwire Tokyo Protagonists
Ghostwire: Tokyo has two protagonists rather than just one. Akito was in a tough situation even before the spirits hit the fan and is the only corporeal survivor of the mysterious fog that converted Shibuya into a veritable ghost town.
He’s anxious to learn what happened to his sister, who he believes is in a local hospital, but he now finds himself in an uneasy partnership with KK, a sour spirit eager to exact revenge on the Hannya mask-wearing lunatic who carried out the attack.
By the way, this “uneasy partnership” actually refers to a struggle for control over a single body. While I didn’t find either character particularly relatable, their family-focused backstories served as a solid foundation for the grandiose main plot despite the first angry conflicts between them that eventually give way to a shared objective and developing understanding.
Akito also learns a variety of magical abilities while traveling with KK, which helps him deal with the numerous disturbing Visitors that lurk in the streets.
Ghostwire Tokyo Review
Anyone who has played an open-world game since Assassin’s Creed will find the process of trying to figure out what is actually happening to be extremely familiar. In this case, new portions of the city may only be accessed by clearing torii gates across a nearly totally toxic fog-covered portion of the map.
The fact that a free world initially has no commerce is actually not a bad thing. Ghostwire: Because of how dense Tokyo is, I was able to appreciate every aspect of this game’s setting, and there seem to be hundreds of them. I did this by gradually moving through different parts of the city to approach and purify gates.
Tokyo is a city of contrasts, after all: between the glitz of modernity and the quiet reflection of tradition, between the intensity of its concrete jungle and the pockets of greenery that provide an escape, between tourist hotspots and forgotten tenements, and between towering shopping complexes and dingy back alleys crammed with tiny bars.
Ghostwire’s expansive map and meticulous attention to detail perfectly capture these aspects of the city, giving the impression that it is a believable place that is trapped in a perpetual night and where even the frequent downpours can’t erase the reminders that hundreds of thousands of people mysteriously and suddenly vanished.
There are heaps of clothing around, floating spirits who have been trapped, and ghosts who can assist with unfinished business.
Shibuya is completely modernized in Ghostwire’s universe. This depiction of the area is not idealized; rather, it captures the growing pains it is experiencing as long-term gentrification alters it fundamentally.
There is still a lot of the old, gritty Shibuya to explore in this game, as well as many other areas of the ward that are outside of the touristy core, but there are also a lot of shiny new developments that have significantly changed the area’s skyline, as well as several construction sites that signal yet more change.
Ghostwire: Tokyo creates an extremely complex atmosphere by capturing a particular moment in the lives of this neighborhood.
Ghostwire Tokyo The Soul Mass Transit System
Additionally, it is awash in collectibles. Saving the spirits that are hanging above the city is a fantastic way to get experience, and finding Jizo statues can increase the amount of elemental ammunition you can carry.
Additionally, there are money pots, consumables, culturally significant objects, notes that grant instant skill points, tanukis in disguise, and citywide sources of ether, the substance that powers your assaults, to be found. That is a lot.
Finding collectibles never comes down to a pixel search thanks to your Spectral Vision power, which allows you to send out a pulse that spotlights everything of interest nearby, from foes on the prowl to souls that need to be saved. As the pulse spreads, you’ll even hear chimes for specific items of interest, alerting you to the presence of something significant nearby that is just waiting to be discovered.
Yokai also plays a significant role throughout the city, which is fitting given how much of a role these numerous and varied supernatural beings play in traditional Japanese culture.
Different kinds of yokai can be found in different places, and gaining their power allows Akito’s skill trees to have additional possibilities. Yokai plays other functions as well.
For example, flying Tengu can be grasped upon to access the city’s rooftop forests, while yokai cat merchants can be found all across the map staffing (catting?) convenience stores and roadside booths alike.
Ghostwire Tokyo Fire Nation
Ghostwire, however, is mostly driven by combat: Although Tokyo’s gameplay and elemental attack system offer a rather new perspective on first-person ranged combat, it doesn’t go far enough to make it stand out.
However, the presentation is superb, right down to the hand gestures that go along with assaults and the way enemy cores are unveiled before being torn away with ethereal threads.
And even if many of the adversaries aren’t really fun to battle, I appreciate the concept of blending the fantastical and every day in their looks. After all, what could be more appropriate on the streets of post-apocalyptic Tokyo than to engage in combat with uniformed schoolchildren and impersonal office workers?
I particularly appreciated the minor detail where a Visitor can occasionally be seen performing a simple but very human deed, like knocking on a door or appearing to pay its respects at a tomb. This eerie echo of normalcy made me question whether these animals should be killed so callously.
Your primary weapons are wind, water, and fire attacks, but you also have a variety of other options, including sneak attacks, talismans that can stun and divert, a weak strike attack for close range, a bow for longer range, the ability to block to lessen incoming damage, or – if timed correctly – the ability to parry an opponent.
Despite this, I spent most of Ghostwire: Tokyo using only two straightforward strategies because I rarely required anything else and they worked so well.
In large part, because I found Ghostwire: Tokyo’s atmosphere to be so engrossing, I liked my roughly 20 hours with it. Whether attempting to reproduce the surroundings of the most famous crossing in the world or infusing life into a dark back alley, the city’s attention to detail is quite astounding.
The numerous references to recognizable components of Japanese culture and mythology made this a setting I loved being in even more.
Ghostwire: Tokyo could have really captured my attention if the moment-to-moment gameplay, in particular its one-dimensional combat and uninspired mission design, weren’t such a letdown. As it stands, the simply sufficient action and stealth contribute little to the wonderful environment but do not take away from its brilliance either.