Ghostwire: Tokyo is Almost Here - In-Depth Review
The Ghostwire: Tokyo release date is nearing upon us all, the title by Tango Gameworks, getting published by Bethesda Softworks is scheduled for 25th March 2022, and is going to be a first-person, action-adventure that mixes traditional Japanese folklore with paranormal, psychic abilities and promises to deliver an incredibly terrific experience to players. The Ghostwire: Tokyo initial release date is set for 22nd of this month for the PS5 store and three days later launches on Ghostwire Tokyo on PC.
Judging by the recent Ghostwire Tokyo trailer from early March, the title is definitely a one you do not want to miss out on. The gameplay looks amazing and the story is also very captivating but also mystical as it blends quite a bit of horror themes with some prominent Japanese mythology-like elements.
This week in this Ghostwire Tokyo review we are going to take a look around the world, story and characters of the game as well as dwelling deeper into the gameplay and mechanics that it has to offer.
So, whether you are ready or not, let us start, as the mist is starting to spread all around the streets of Tokyo.
First impressions, plot and setting.
Having been first announced in June 2019 Ghost Wire Tokyo was presented by Shinji Mikami and Ikumi Nakamura as an action-adventure thriller takes place in a strange supernatural modern day Tokyo version as it gets conquered by all kinds of creatures and monsters that come from a mist nobody can escape once trapped in it.
You start your journey in the middle of a boulevard with vague recollection of recent events, as you witness others getting irreversibly lost in the fog. Clothes and shoes are the only things left behind and no bodies. Your primary goal, do not get consumed and evade the fog at all cost. Amidst the chaos, you start noticing monstrous figures crawling out on the streets. Some are slender and very pale, others have no heads on their shoulders but carry various deadly weapons.
A masked man appears on all the screens scattered around the city, he seems to be in charge of the whole event, or is he? He starts explaining about the coming transformation of the world and he does not sound like he is kidding around. He describes the ongoing events as his salvation for the people, but it does not seem as such, since they get consumed into the fog without a trace.
Can you stay alive in the deserted streets and find out what is going on? Is there an escape from the fog, or are you bound to share the destiny of those already taken by it? They have vanished out of existence, who knows where they might be, if still alive at all.
You (Akito) a normally looking civilian and citizen of the city wake up amidst some sort of destructive event going on. You do not remember how exactly it is you got on the middle of the road, but there is a some sort of a strange voice inside your head, one that is not your own. You realize that you are not alone inside your body and there is another presence in you.
Not much later darkness starts emitting from your hands and face, the voice becomes louder and louder. The voice starts explaining that if “he” leaves your body; you are not going to survive the nasty situation you find yourself in. Working together seems to be the way out of the predicament. Currently you struggle to keep your sanity and perhaps this entity is the only ally you got. The spirit introduces himself as just KK and promises to give you more information as you go, but now the main goal is to get somewhere at least a bit safer.
At a later stage, as the story unfolds you understand much more about your bond with the spirit, how it all happened and piece by piece you start to get the bigger picture. KK is a ghost hunter that has been inside the fog but somehow managed to survive and escape demise by possessing you. He is familiar with lots of techniques, tricks and knowledge about underworld demons and can help you on your journey.
In the official Ghostwire Tokyo Gameplay trailer we got a scene where the spirit connection between KK and Akito was interrupted and it was necessary for you to free the spirit from a glowing cube that has trapped him, in order for the bond to be restored, during that time you are stripped of your supernatural abilities and skills, so you probably must be stealthier in your ways and do not attract unnecessary attention.
When connected you are in control over some very strong forces that are able to manipulate the elements at will. Through the energy outbursts you are able to manipulate and bend matter, fire, water and air. You can extract energy from the ether and use it to strike down the visitors from another realm.
KK may act as a helpful guide, but it was strongly expressed that he still has his own agenda to follow and at some point, you might not be a part of it. When you talk to each other (very often in your mind) there is definite distrust and you both are aware of it, but also know for sure that only together you could manage to survive. So you decide on cooperating until this deal proves to no longer work for your individual interests.
An interesting detail to note here is that when merged together their outlook and outfit kind of grows together too, not only do they look alike quite a bit when separated, but also their combined form and state do not resemble any of them alone, it is more of a mix between the two with some outbursts of energy emitting out from their shared body.
The action in this horrific action-adventure!
With the superpowers granted by the spirit in exchange for your bodily hospitality you manage to combat the opponents more fairly and easily. A big focus of the game is on the battles as there are many approaches that you could apply, some more sneaky attacks, others fast and swift blasts of pure power.
You must choose your fights as even though you are powerful, you still are not a match for all the beastly nightmares you could face in a dark alley. Each defeated foe drops crystals and energy that you consume, and over time you pump up more and more skills and abilities, making you deadlier and deadlier.
The mystic art known as Etherial weaving is your main source of ether, it resembles energy strings that you drain monsters with and absorb their energy. You can cast spells with mighty bursts, summon energy shields against advances and can perform some counter-attacks and grapple moves that you are able to use as you tear through the demonic creatures around you.
Most of your skills are emanated through hand moves and spell casting, but you have some weapon options, as well as helpful tools at your disposal that enrich the experience and variety in approaches. As a whole the pace is fast, dynamic and aggressive, since it seems you will not have a dull moment throughout the chapters and on your quest at saving the city and its inhabitants.
The environmental feel and atmosphere of Ghostwire Tokyo
From an ultra-lively city, densely populated with people and traffic to a ruined landscape that looks decimated and abandoned in just minutes, Tokyo transformed suddenly and there are not many survivors left to witness the destruction.
Blazing fires have started, the infrastructure is broken and demolished, sirens and alarms fill up the silent streets and neighborhoods. Whatever once was clean, neat and orderly is now in pieces and decay. Even though the game is very dark it still displays some very vivid colour palettes and has lots of neon glow and shine spread all over the city, making the reflections and shadows that much more interesting, detailed and trippy. The audio mix of the game is a combination of dark atmospheric ambient music with horror tones and in the more tense situations it gets pumped to industrial electro with sprinkles of cyberpunk. Designed to bring anxiety to the players and keep them alert at all times it comes with lots of shrieks and psychological effects that you should orient yourself by.
There are many corrupted multi-dimensional Tori gateways that you must close as soon as possible, these could be found all across the map, find them and this terror that has spread everywhere might come to an end.
As you go further you will discover that there are also locations and scenes in the game that just start to evoke drastic hallucination effects and distortions in the mind of your character and reality starts to melt into so many unreal images, some more nightmarish than others. They are called Utena spaces where time and matter can no longer be thought as trustworthy, sadly your mission might depend on going through such an area and you have no choice in the matter. Up and down are no longer in place, you lose sense of orientation and space in these obstacle courses that you must manage with.
It is such fine elements and touches that would stimulate you not only to battle, but also city exploration is encouraged, as there is no clarity on what you might come across if you wander a bit here and there. To help you with that aspect of the game you have a Ghost wire that could come in handy when it is necessary to get to the rooftop of a high building and extinguish a door on it, right after you eliminate the guards of course. This happens through the service of Tengu Yokai that you could attach your energy string to, they are the fastest way to transit through the metropolitan city and provide another dimension to the game.
You are going to explore both locations that are very modern such as the central parts of the city and often get to some traditional Japanese temples to have that more authentic folklore feel and experience with.
Traversal and constant moving has a big accent in Ghostwire: Tokyo, so be sure to remain on the go as much as possible, as safety is hardly guaranteed if you choose to remain idle for even the shortest period.
The game is designed to keep your instincts and reaction sharp and jump-scares should be expected rather often. This certainly does not mean that you could be ready for all of them as some are far more sudden than others.
Let’s talk about the enemy types for a bit.
You are going to encounter some very creepy opponents in this title. They would not think twice when attacking you, so do not expect mercy from them. As far as we know they are underworld spirits that bring corruption to the world in the form of a tree like structure that is spreading around Tokyo.
Judging by what we have seen so far, they all look disturbing and vicious. From tall figures in dark suits holding umbrellas to cover their empty faces without eyes, through headless demons in schoolgirl uniforms, to ladies holding some really hefty and sharp knives, giant pairs of scissors and blades ready to slice you up. Others are disfigured creatures with gigantic mouths and big shiny teeth that honestly look like bear traps that can crush any bone you give them.
Ghastly specters infest the foggy streets and it would not be a lie to say the fog itself could be considered as an enemy as it drains your health the longer you are near it. Another more environmental mechanic are the barriers that could trap you in different buildings and these segments could act as a time-trial mode to keep you moving. You escape them by destroying barrier stones that emit them into existence. So not only do you fight with all kinds of fiends, but the areas act against you constantly making the whole world of the game dangerous and with few places to actually hide, which does not seem to be an option.
A peculiar things that we noticed is that even though all of the demonic creatures without eyes, heads or limbs the big majority of them wear civilian clothes and do not have any defensive armor or gear (Do umbrellas count as defensive gear?). Could they be the actual people that vanished? Did they get possessed by evil spirits or is it some sort of expression of their darker sides that came to life?
There are even scenes and footage of our hero meeting with the evil Occultist Hanniya, who is standing next to a hospital bed with a woman on it. It turns out your fates are much more entwined that you might think but we are not going to spoil too much.
We might not get the answers to these questions before finishing the game itself, but for that to happen we would have to shed some light over your powers.
Growing your skill tree happens when you find untethered souls to upgrade and improve your skills with the in-game currency. When you free ghosts you get points that you can exchange for new abilities. In Ghostwire: Tokyo you possess control over ethereal abilities that allow you bend energy as you wish. In fights as you deliver strikes you charge your synergy with KK, when that happens you can enter “Wiring mode”, in which you can boost your powers and make your enemies evaporate even faster out of reality.
You should collect the energy pyramids and symbols that are left and thus making your abilities grow. It is also interesting to point out that all gestures are really smooth and the motion capture is done quite well, with naturally moving hands that give a very realistic look to it all, the visual effects of the energy in all its forms and shape is also rendered to great detail and feels very immersive.
With exploration come the useful tools such as talismans, spells and magic traps that could block enemies and paralyze or electrocute them, keeping them in one place for you to deliver a strong blast of energy on top of them. Guns are not useful at all against the enemies, so do not expect a big arsenal or ammo at every corner, you get a special bow capable of inflicting damage on the demons that you steal from a shrine.
Magic seals are symbols used to exorcise creatures back to the depths of the underworld and you would be required to replicate them with your thumb stick on your controller in order to perform them.
Spectral vision (using your spirit eyes) changes the wholesome vision of the hud and makes it much easier to detect where items of significance are, as well as if there is a hidden group of opponents behind the corner waiting to jump you, so be sure to switch it on when you feel lost or uncertain of the terrain around you.
A dish of curious facts and positives in Ghostwire; Tokyo.
Even though it may seem too morbid and grim The Ghostwire: Tokyo has some fun easter eggs and nods to Japanese tradition, myth and folklore that give it more authenticity regarding lore. The city is created to feel as the real thing and to be as immersive as possible. The good news is there are not only evil spirits as some of the good ones have taken over to assist you in different ways, be it through acting as merchants or helpers bringing good luck to you. You are able to aid spirits that are stuck and cannot leave reality as they have some sort of unfinished work on Earth, when you succeed in helping them then they are able to move on, and you get rewarded for your good deed by them. Last but definitely not least is the fact that you can interact with a lot of animals and pet them, showing empathy and being able to read their thoughts is super cool as an addition into the gameplay.
The Ghostwire: Tokyo is available with us already and when you purchase it early you also get the following bonuses:
- - Hannya Outfit (antagonist skin)
We hope that you enjoyed our Ghostwire game review and the latest of Tango Gameworks on the market and would find this title to be as exciting as we do. Let us know about your impressions and thoughts and until next time.