Ever since Ghostwire: Tokyo was first announced, there has been a very vocal group awaiting the game’s release. Developed by Tango Gameworks, the group behind the Evil Within series, Ghostwire looks to please those eager to check out the game on the 24th. We dive in with our Ghostwire Tokyo review to answer the burning question: how good is it?
The dynamic duo of Akito and KK
Ghostwire: Tokyo puts players in the shoes of Akito, a young man walking around Tokyo when a sudden fog hits, causing those around him to disappear. All looks lost until a spirit named KK inhabits Akito’s body and allows him to wander the now desolate streets of Tokyo. Now it is up to both Akito and KK to discover the cause behind everyone’s disappearance and set things right. That won’t be very easy, as there are all sorts of ghosts roaming around for you to deal with.
The story pacing here is the star of the show, as it never feels like it takes you away from the game, keeping you moving while learning more about the story. For instance, the very start of the game just sort of throws you straight into it, allowing you to get right into the action without feeling bogged down by far too much exposition. Instead, the game allows you to sink your teeth right in as it spoonfeeds you all the information you need as you go. I never felt lost in the story but also never felt like any one bit of story drug on for far too long. No cutscenes that kill the flow, instead everything is just perfectly paced, letting the eerie streets of Tokyo suck you into the world.
These ghosts are TOAST!!
Combat in Ghostwire: Tokyo is from a first-person viewpoint, as players use the abilities granted to them by KK to take on the ghosts of the city. You will have three different spells at your disposal; Water, Wind, and Fire. Each of these serves very different purposes in combat. Wind weaving is a quick attack and the one you will use the most, water is good for close-range damage, and fire is best for hitting multiple targets with a big explosion. These can all be upgraded as you travel the world to increase damage and range.
As you get enough hits on a specific enemy, you can open up their core, removing it and defeating them for good. As enemies are defeated, they will drop SP onto the ground which refills your various spells. You can also find floating objects throughout the world to destroy that also replenish your SP.
Outside of spells, there are also talismans and a trusty bow and arrow at your disposal. Talismans give the ability to lay traps on the ground to distract the enemy, catch them in a paralyzing field, or throw down shrubs to hide behind. Truth be told, there are four talismans and I found myself only really using the stun one to get in free shots at harder enemies. The bow and arrow itself is very powerful but can be a pain to accurately hit your enemies as most of them move around quite a bit.
If straightforward combat isn’t your style or you want to take a more stealthy approach to an encounter, you can use your spectral vision to pick out enemies, sneak up on them, and swiftly seal them. This is the perfect way to take out some of the stronger enemies you find as you explore Tokyo, while a good firebomb is the best way to tackle a group of them huddled together. The systems put in place here for the combat work extremely well, giving you a really well-rounded fighting experience. Going from spells, to talisman, back to spells, and then to the bow and arrow feels satisfying. It’s not all sunshine though, as the first person view causes some frustration as you back away from oncoming ghosts, only to catch yourself on a car or something else, causing a moment of panic. That aside, there aren’t many worts here to keep the combat from being anything but a lot of fun.
Spirit saving your way to higher levels
It isn’t all about the combat in Ghostwire: Tokyo. In fact, far more important than that is absorbing spirits using your Katashiro. As you stroll through the city streets and up on the rooftops, you will find a lot of spirits loitering the streets. Some of these will give you side missions to complete while most of them are simply there and waiting to be adsorbed. Yes, I know that sounds really bad, but I promise you are actually saving them. Even more so, as you turn in enough spirits, your level will increase, so make sure not to ignore the spirits. As you continue to level up, you will gain skill points that can be used to learn new skills, enhance your ethereal weaving spells, or upgrade your equipment.
Another important aspect of the game is the various shrines found in the game, each a part of a different area on the map. As you progress through the game, you will want to find and cleanse these shrines, lifting the fog on their area and opening up quests and objects to find. Each shrine area will have things like Jizo statues to find and pray to, KK investigation notes for learning more about the story, and Yokai’s to find and take their Magamata’s to help unlock new skills. You will find there is a lot to do while traveling across Tokyo, but it never feels overwhelming.
Ghostwire: Tokyo also lets you find or buy food and drink throughout, which helps you restore your health. These items can be found while exploring or purchased from Nekomata who have opened up various stores to sell you consumables, arrows, and talismans. There are also some who will ask you to take on tasks for rewards, or sell you game music and clothes to dress up Akito to your liking. There are various other things to do here, from saving spirits found in containment cubes, to finding relics and voice logs. You can even find stray dogs and cats around who you can pet and feed, with the dogs then sniffing out some coin for you. I said it before but it really bears repeating, the game gives you plenty to do but it never feels like a burden.
Ghostwire Tokyo Review: The final verdict
Ghostwire: Tokyo is the game I think we were all hoping for when it was announced. The eerie streets of an empty Tokyo draw you in and promptly scare you senseless with some fascinating enemies lurking around every corner. The story shines exactly when it needs to and then fades into the backdrop, allowing you to experience this sensational world. From the incredible voice work and writing, to the well-paced combat and city exploration, this is a must-play experience with plenty to do across its 20 hours.