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Ghostwire: Tokyo

Ghostwire: Tokyo

Written by Henry Yu on 2/4/2022 for PC  
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The next game by Tango Gameworks, the masterminds behind The Evil Within series, is Ghostwire: Tokyo, a first person action horror title set exclusively on the PlayStation 5. Through the closed hands-off preview event, we got to see a snippet of gameplay featuring combat mechanics, exploration, and an insight on the narrative. Players take on the role of Akito, who has been spiritually fused with KK, a past ghost hunter. Everyone in Tokyo has mysteriously disappeared due to a supernatural phenomenon and it is up to the protagonist to take back everyday life with his own hands. 

A mysterious fog creeps throughout the city and corrupts spirits, turning them into deadly visitors. The mastermind behind the disappearances and the fog is a masked individual known as Hannya, whom KK seems to have a history with. Both the protagonist’s sister and Hannya are somewhere deep within the fog. Multiple yokai also appear throughout Tokyo, some who may allow Akito to gain their power and aid him in his endeavors. Akito is equipped with magically enhanced hand-to-hand combat known as Ethereal Weaving that allows him to shoot out magical projectiles such as fireballs among other powerful spells. Multiple weapons, such as an ancient bow, can also be found in shrines spread throughout. Combat is visceral and concise, but mostly ranged, featuring long strung combos and execution attacks. Akito is equipped with spectral vision, which allows him to scan a particular area for footprints and traces. This provides immersion into the stealth mechanic allowing for one-hit kills from behind, as well as the detective mechanic of the game. 

In addition to the combat, Ghostwire:Tokyo also has an emphasis on investigative gameplay and puzzles. We got a first look at a hand seal puzzle to open locked doors as well as entering an apartment to look at pictures and documents in order to gather clues and insight. Don’t worry, there are side missions as well; we got an exclusive look at a side objective tasking Akito to search for the Zashiki-warashi yokai by investigating wailing noises coming from a building.

Although only one external weapon was showcased in the preview, it can be assumed that the full game will contain much more. Definitely hoping for a katana in the full game! The one that was shown however, the bow, had a multi-functional purpose as it served as a functional tool when solving puzzles and progressing the story. While exploring abandoned buildings, magical barriers may appear that are caused by underworld interference. Reality becomes distorted and rooms turn sideways and upside down. Destroying the source of the interference is the only way to rid the barriers and distortion, and the bow is needed for otherwise unreachable areas.

It is not clear if these weapons will be used in a Metroidvania sense that blocks off certain areas of the map until you acquire them. There are other tools that are commonly used during gameplay, such as the katashiro, or Japanese paper doll. The katashiro is used to absorb the mysterious fog and can be connected to designated phone booths to transfer the cleansed spirits to a safe place. A character called Ed created these special phone booths, but not much is further revealed about the purpose of these transfers or of who Ed is.

Cleansing torii gates and visiting shrines are two activities showcased in the preview event, both which grant you additional katashiro, tools and weapons. All enemies must be defeated before an attempt on a cleansing can be made.The more gates cleansed, the more that can be explored. Akito can donate money at shrines, which can grant him more luck among other abilities. New spectral powers can be gained at shrines, including As more yokai are encountered, Akito gains the powers these yokai represent, such as a grappling hook or the option to sprint. Traversal seems more versatile the more powers you acquire.

Visuals and graphics in Ghostwire:Tokyo are stunningly gorgeous, bringing out the vibrant colors of neon alleyways and billboards in downtown Shibuya. A convenient mini-map is displayed on the bottom left hand corner of the HUD with your health and ammo displayed on the bottom right corner. Enemy designs are also incredibly unique and distinct, featuring faceless men in suits with an umbrella or headless students wearing standard school uniforms and suitcases. While the game is played in the first person perspective, cutscenes are rendered in the third person, and we get to see what Akito looks like.

Animal lovers rejoice because you will encounter several cute creatures on your journey, including cats, dogs, and raccoons. Because of your supernatural abilities, you can read the thoughts of these animals, gaining a deeper understanding of them. And yes, you can pet them too. The cat yokai, Nekomata appears in a convenience store, and offers up a store to trade for food and other consumables.

Ghostwire:Tokyo is shaping up to be a game like no other, combining excellent world building with fast paced combat and a dash of horror. There is currently no exact release date for Ghostwire: Tokyo other than sometime in Spring 2022. Bethesda has announced after the article was written that Ghostwire: Tokyo will be released on March 25, 2022.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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