Ghostwire Tokyo (2022) Review

Ghostwire Tokyo is a 2022 Action, Adventure/Horror game developed by Tango Gameworks and Published by Bethesda, it was released in March 2022 for PC and PS5 as a timed exclusive, it will be coming to other systems at a later date.

The game begins with a ghost KK desperately crossing a spirit ridden and desolate Tokyo City, the Human Race has been been turned into spirits thanks to a mysterious fog. KK finds an unconscious human who is yet to be hit by the fog and possesses his body.

The Human wakes up in complete control of his body minus his right hand, this human is named Akito he is saved from becoming a spirit thanks to his possession but he now has to help KK defeat the fogs mastermind Hannya in order to return the city back to its usual form. Akito agrees as long as he can check in on his little sister Mari in the local hospital, when Akito arrives unfortunately Hannya beat him to it and takes Mari’s comatose body away to perform a ritual giving Akito more reason to save the city and hopefully his last remaining family member as well.

The game is open world and allows players to explore a large chunk of Tokyo City, but with vast amounts of land to explore this also means there are plenty of enemies that will try to prevent you from surviving as you traverse across the eeire and ghost ridden city.

There are many different ways to destroy these specters from shooting them with arrows to stealing their spiritual cores, by far the best means of attack is the Dr Strange like magic you can cast. There are three main elemental spells in the game Wind, Water and Fire. You can build these powers up via your skill tree, wearing spiritual bracelets or by finding the Jizo statues.

Speaking of Jizo statues they are one of many collectibles in the game, the side content makes up the bulk of the game considering that without it the main campaigns story would be extremely short.

Compared to the main campaign the side content doesn’t differ too much in fact its more of set list of things to find around the city than it is anything all too interesting. Now of course I am not referring to the side missions in that statement which can be fun but again there isn’t really anything that stands out about them.

Throughout my play through I had the most fun trying to find the hidden tanuki’s, an ongoing mission in the game where red pandas have disguised themselves as everyday objects across the city. It was also one of the only collectibles that offered a reward for completing it that being a tanuki costume.

Visually the game is stunning, it primarily takes place at night and uses the dark and emptiness of the abandoned city to its advantage. Not only can we really appreciate the vast area we can freely explore in the game but the smaller details in its graphics such as light reflection in the water and the use of different textures to increase realism such as adding shine to cars or glow effects on the billboards really helps to make the games visuals one of the best parts of the game and offers a realistic and creepily beautiful city to explore, in fact this is the main reason why I stuck around to commit to the side content as I really was left in awe at the games graphics.

Also I have had my Tokyo vacation pushed back by two years so perhaps I made the most of visiting Tokyo virtually, it does leave me wondering how accurate the actual city the maps are in the game but I suppose I will find that out when I can eventually visit.

The game plays fine and is genuinely really fun to explore but there are things I want to touch upon in a more critical light. First of all there are way too many spirits to collect in the game and they are spread out sometimes in very well hidden places, in all there are 240,300 in the game with each spirit giving you around 100 each time and by that logic then in reality there are still 2403 you need to save. Saving all the spirits does give you some story dialogue but no cutscenes and to my knowledge no rewards but trophies and bragging rights.

My final criticism is also related to the spirits, when you get a cluster of spirits you have to perform a ritual by running your fingers across the touchpad (mouse on PC) or the analog control stick, I could never get this to work and I don’t know if its the PS5 version that has calibration issues or it was just me, thankfully there is an option to just have K.K do it for you which I did eventually choose to do each time, I didn’t notice any repercussions from doing the rituals this way but I still had problems trying to do this the way the game intended, did anyone else have this problem on PS5?

Music

The games composition fits the tone perfectly, all of the music is eerie and simple, its has an empty feeling of sorrow and being lost, the sounds used help to build on the atmosphere of death and being in another world, while walking the desolate streets of Tokyo with nothing but ghosts to keep you company is something this soundtrack pairs with perfectly to help create realism and a feeling of uneasiness.

Overall I really enjoyed this game and I think it has alot going for it as a starting point in this series. The story is outstanding and takes clear inspiration from Japanese Manga and anime, I also really enjoyed the obvious call back to Japanese and pop culture creepypastas and folklore, there are clear inspirations in the enemy designs to the Slender Man, Ningyno, Yahiki Warashi, Tanuki. Yuki Onna, Tengu, Kappa, Oni and Kuchisake-onna among many more.

Visually the game is absolutely stunning and its perfectly crafted soundtrack is one of the most unique examples of how less can mean more especially when you are trying to imply certain feelings and emotions to match the atmousphere.

The only real issues I had were of course the spirits which I previously mentioned and that game feels repetetive throughout, there isn’t much to mix up the gameplay and at times it can drag a little bit but apart from that we have a great starting point here for what I believe could be the next big franchise. The PS5 version did not sell as well as it did on PC but the PC sales are definitely a telling sign that a possible sequel could be coming in the future, the game ends on a cliff hanger which would lead into a second game but it is cleverly directed to be a nice closing scene if a sequel wasn’t to happen as well.

The game is pretty cheap at the moment only costing £30 brand new, so if you get chance to pick a new game I would recommend considering this one as a cheap pick up worth it for the story and call backs to folklore alone 6.7/10

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