Should You Buy Ghostwire Tokyo?
Ghostwire – Tokyo is unlike any other. It may share some design elements with the open-world games of the 2010s, such as a glacial opening of said open-world, but it is impossible to pinpoint one thing. Is it a horror game? Is it an FPS game? Is it Lethal Weapon meets Yu-Gi-Oh. Ghostwire is all these things and more. But one keyword will keep coming up as more people discover its bizarre brilliance: strange. Is it worth the investment?
You’re Akito, a young Japanese man who is possessed by a benevolent spirit called KK. This happens in the midst a “rapture”, a man wearing a mask named Hannya in Tokyo. The Visitors are left behind and everyone is transformed into floating spirits. These Visitors are Ito-esque evils. You will need to use your newfound magic and shoot spells from your fingers before you reach into their bodies to remove their cores. You can also buy arrows from floating cats and give dogs food to help you see good spirits. Also, pass someone in limbo toilet paper to allow them to move on to the next phase of their lives.
It was strange. I said it. It’s amazing in its eccentricity but there’s real substance underneath it all. Even if it doesn’t balance exploration and progress very convincingly.
Ghostwire will spend most of its time unlocking tori gates that open up more Tokyo areas so you can eventually find the big bad. Although this isn’t necessarily bad, it means that Ghostwire’s dense world will be tackled slowly. However, it can feel strange to be confined in this way, especially when there’s so much to explore. Ghostwire’s closed-off world is my biggest complaint. This is even more disappointing when the game’s depiction of Japanese society is so inviting.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is a fantastic representation of a city. It’s almost a shame that there aren’t more NPCs. It is amazing how detailed the world looks. Even though the many areas feel empty, it feels like people are still living in them. You can still see remnants of everyday life, such as clothes people yoinked from, but everything feels authentic, whether it’s food at a convenience store or swings at a local park. The Shibuya Scramble Crossing is the best example. It’s quieter than ever but still buzzing with life. The Tango Gameworks’ achievements here are reminiscent of The Getaway’s 2002 reflection of London. However, they have done a lot more. Although technological advancements will bring about that, Tango’s artistic vision cannot be denied.
Ghostwire’s unique vision is evident in Ghostwire’s combat. However, not everyone will like it. It takes time to get to a good combat flow, just like opening Ghostwire’s world. At first, you’ll be able to fire small, slow-moving wind attacks to shoot the largest M1 Garand in the world. Then, you’ll eventually be able to unleash fireballs to cause massive damage and control crowds. These skills can be upgraded over time to hit harder or faster. However, anyone who wants chaotic, edge-of-the-seat action might be disappointed. I was hoping to unlock a dash mechanism at some point but it never happened. Ghostwire’s combat has a slower, more methodical nature than the Tango-cribbing action peers at Bethesda. However, this doesn’t mean you feel as empowered as you might wish. Ghostwire doesn’t have the magic power to make you “full-anime”.
It’s a good thing that Akito & KK share such a friendly camaraderie. This creates a unique buddy cop dynamic. The generational gap between them often results in charming, funny conversations. KK comes across as a grumpy, but well-meaning uncle. The conversations between them also highlight the gap in Japanese culture between the youth and the elderly. Shifting technologies and priorities cause them to be completely different people, but they learn to respect one another as the game progresses. Although I live on the other side, in the smallest of Welsh towns, it is difficult to judge how Tango has represented the cultural and generational divide. However, it feels like an interesting window into modern Japan.
Akito’s and KKs journey may take longer than the quoted 10-15 hours. Tokyo is full of side content and collectibles, so it’s possible for their journey to be quite long. Relics are fascinating glimpses into Japanese history, Jizo Statues that bless you with additional spells and other side quests offered by spirits. Some of these are based on stories the developers have told. These side distractions add a special flavor to the experience, but they also offer inconsistent rewards. While some quests will give you tons of currency or special outfits to use, others will give you almost the same amount of cash that you could find in a dumpster. They just don’t feel as compelling.
Players can also hunt for tanuki hidden in everyday objects to collect KK Investigations Notes, which can be used to increase your skills and improve your abilities. Ghostwire’s progression system is not ideal. You will be able to use a Tengu to reach higher places and feel less undercooked during battle.
The grind is not worth the effort, particularly since so many of your unlocks can be so situational. You also need to collect magatama, another resource, to unlock new skills on top of the aforementioned skill points. Ghostwire: Tokyo feels a lot more complicated than other open-world games.
Ghostwire: Tokyo comes out at a difficult time for many, as they are likely still trying to catch up with their open world backlog. Elden Ring dominates the conversation throughout the year, while Horizon Forbidden West (Dying light 2) and Far Cry 6 (HTML6/) have also been in the spotlight. Then, Forza Horizon and Far cry 6 are also featured. Halo infinite and Lost Judgment will be appearing in the second half of 2021. This is a lot of open-world games in a very short time. I am more tired than ever, especially since Ghostwire falls into open-world design habits that Elden Ring has made feel a bit outdated, but not as interesting.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is a great game, with lots to love and its own unique DNA. But is it good enough? It’s not clear, at least at the moment, that it is, but I think it deserves an audience. This could be at release, or as its cult status increases. Any game that allows you to read the thoughts and feelings of dogs must be worth your time.
PR provided a key for the PS5 Deluxe Edition to