Ghostwire Tokyo Review: If You Have the Patience to Explore It, It’s a Mesmerising World

Ghostwire Tokyo Review

This action-horror game Ghostwire Tokyo for the PlayStation 5 and PC adds a lot of style and humor to ghost hunting, but it may take some time to grow on you.

With games like Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West, 2022 is already shaping up to be a bizarre year for video games. Ghostwire Tokyo, which will be released on March 25 and will have a dense open-world Tokyo to explore, isn’t letting us take a breath.

Ghostwire Tokyo is set in Shibuya after a supernatural occurrence causes the residents of Tokyo to unexpectedly vanish, letting players wild in a genuine ghost town full of truly strange and terrifying things. You’ve been tasked with solving this puzzle and determining how to repair the harm.

We spent a lot of time during the 15- to 20-hour story taking in the new normal of a human-less Shibuya, Tokyo, which had been taken over by friendly and not-so-friendly demons and spirits. Tango Gameworks’ strongly styled action-horror game, a striking break from the team’s prior work with The Evil Within and Resident Evil series, piqued my interest.

Tango takes a different approach this time, focusing less on survival horror and more on exploring a haunted Tokyo and “ghostbusting” some terrifying beasts. Nonetheless, it’s a game that clings to what this group excels at: creating an eerie but appealing environment.

Still, it took some time for me to get into Ghostwire’s universe. Ghostwire Tokyo takes its time to reveal its actual scale and depth, gradually becoming more enjoyable as you develop protagonist Akito’s supernatural abilities and explore more of Shibuya, where otherworldly horrors lurk.

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Ghostwire’s central protagonist is Akito, who’s reluctantly dragged into a supernatural conflict that will decide the fate of Tokyo.
Tango Gameworks / Bethesda

Although Ghostwire Tokyo is an open-world game, it does not appear to be so at first. The game’s pace is frequently at odds with the game’s genuine scope: there’s a lot to see, but it feels slower than it should. Many plot encounters require you to travel across the city to events, and most of Akito’s world exploration is done on his own two feet. Progress is exhausting, especially in the early hours.

It’ll take some time to truly appreciate it as well. The exploration and general advancement are more akin to Far Cry than Skyrim, which means you’ll have to unlock regions of the map to fully discover the events and activities that take place there.

The slow pace is especially noticeable in the game’s approach to battle and demon exorcism. Akito’s abilities, known as Ethereal Weaving, are initially limited and are utilised to degrade foes’ defences. Initially, the game was awkward and hard to play due to your limited armament and the game’s slower pace.

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Ethereal Weaving is Akito’s main source of power, which allows him to conjure up elemental magic to wipe out ghosts.
Tango Gameworks / Bethesda

Combat took some time for me to warm up to. I like how stylised it is since it reminds me of animated programmes like Yu Yu Hakusho or Avatar: The Last Airbender in terms of flow and elegance. Combat, on the other hand, can feel stilted at times. The first-person perspective made me feel like I was wrestling with the controls because Akito’s movements and defensive abilities are limited. Although there were times when I believed it would be better to avoid combat, the action gradually comes into its own, becoming more fluid and exciting as additional powers are introduced.

The same can be stated for the rest of Ghostwire Tokyo. After a few chapters, you’ll get new abilities and be able to explore more of the city. That’s when Ghostwire Tokyo really comes into its own.

When Ghostwire lets you explore the ghost town version of Shibuya, it’s at its best. Along with the main plot, there are a number of side missions that urge you to assist lost souls who are nearing the end of their journey. While the main storey has some rewarding moments, such as Akito gradually accepting his magical abilities, I was often more satisfied with the more emotive and visually spectacular environmental storytelling found in sidequests and exploring.

Exploring the shattered alleyways of Shibuya, soaking in an environment saturated with neon lights and the ghostly vibe of a city gone wrong, has provided some of my favourite memories. Many of Shibuya’s most iconic locations are recreated in the game, such as Shibuya Crossing, which has been transformed into an eerie and scary environment filled with ghostly, headless schoolgirls whose movements are hinted at by their towering shadows projected on the nearby buildings.

As the battle to save Tokyo goes on, more cunning and terrifying ghosts will reveal themselves.
Tango Gameworks / Bethesda

The enemies in Ghostwire Tokyo are some of the strangest I’ve seen in a while in an action game. The rogue’s gallery’s style is a jumbled blend of Japanese legend and current iconography, resulting in a magnificent looking area to explore and monsters to fight. Along with the ghost schoolchildren, gangly Salarymen in the shape of Slenderman prowl the streets, while lonely 8-foot tall women with huge scissors stalk the streets in search of their next victim.

Ghostwire, despite its eerie mood, has a surprising sense of humour. K.K., Akito’s spiritual partner, joins him, giving him Ethereal Weaving and other funny observations on how the protagonist is progressing. He’ll continually criticise Akito’s battle abilities and tell him he needs to improve, much to the protagonist’s disgust. Many of the missions also demonstrate the game’s lighter side.

While certain moments manage to tug at the heartstrings, such as Akito assisting a ghost in having one final comfortable time using the bathroom before going on, others see Akito assisting a ghost in having one last comfortable time using the toilet before moving on. It may sound absurd when read this way, but it makes perfect sense in-game — and it’s hilarious.

The main problem I encountered with Ghostware Tokyo was how closely it adhered to a methodical and sluggish rhythm throughout. Despite its spooky and unnerving nature, Ghostwire Tokyo is a game that offers a unique and curiously personable world to explore, so I’m pleased I persevered with it.

Ghostwire Tokyo will be available for PC and PS5 on March 25.

Source: CNET

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