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Ghostwire Review: Tokyo (PS5) – CGM Magazine

I want to love Ghostwire: Tokyo more than me. Its mix of modern Tokyo coupled with Japanese folklore and urban legends makes it fascinating to explore, as yokai and neon come together amidst a story centered on how people react to the death of a loved one. . Still, it also feels rote and fleeting, as the combat becomes stagnant, and the plot and characterization become thin for a long time. It’s an interesting world, but one I don’t want to spend a lot of time in.

Ghostwire: Tokyo is a first-person action-adventure game set in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. The first few minutes see Japan’s capital empty of all human life as a fog rolls over the city, wiping out humans, and harmful spirits called Visitors roam the desolate streets. You play as Akita, a young college student who doesn’t disappear because his body has been possessed by KK, a detective spirit trying to put a stop to the supernatural crisis. Akita, meanwhile, is trying to save his sister who was kidnapped by the same man who is behind all this madness.

The relationship between Akita and KK is the most interesting aspect of the story, as the two hide their pasts from each other while bickering over which is the best approach. Their dynamic and the resulting banter are the highlight of the writing, as they come together to form a bond that drives the game forward in both the main story and the many side missions. At one point, Akita and KK investigate an urban legend that a train will stop at a hidden subway station if only one person takes it. This results in a delightful debate over whether they count as one person since they both inhabit the same body. Moments like this are common, and it makes Ghostwire: Tokyo to feel anchored despite the strangeness that surrounds the city.

Unfortunately, this relationship is a bright light amid the otherwise weak writing. Ghostwire: Tokyo lack of characterization. Other than our two main heroes, the other characters, including the villains, aren’t built or defined as much as they should be. I want to know more about KK’s investigation team, or why the main antagonist does what he does. I want to spend more time with these characters; the game doesn’t want you to. And the result is a story that feels rushed.

Even in moments where the story works, like the ending, I’m not as invested in the outcome because the pacing was off. The opening hours of Ghostwire: Tokyo grabbed me, but most of the mid-game chapters were less focused, feeling twisty in comparison. I wish it was, ultimately, better executed, as the setup made me want to play something that ultimately didn’t pay off.

Ghostwire: Tokyo lack of characterization. Other than our two main heroes, the other characters, including the villains, aren’t built or defined as much as they should be.

At least the world is worth exploring. In the absence of humans, Shibuya in Tokyo is a sight to behold. Ghostwire: Tokyo looks amazing, and not just from a technical standpoint. The world design, from gigantic malls to alleyways to overgrown urban forests, kept me interested when the story didn’t. And you’re not limited to the streets either, as Akita gains the ability to hold on to Tengu’s flight over rooftops to leap and smash his way across the Shibuya skyline. The atmosphere is oppressive even as you clear the Torii gates to unlock new explorable areas, making your exploration more tense even though this isn’t a horror game.

Ghostwire: Tokyo (Ps5) Review 4

Not that the game doesn’t try to scare you from time to time, especially because of the Visitors. These evil spirits take many forms, ranging from eyeless office workers to headless students wearing sailor uniforms to scissors wielding kuchisake-onna. These are the enemies you face throughout the game, and Tango Gameworks has done an incredible job of making them all feel distinct and surreal. Even though some share the same pattern – you’ll see lots of visitors holding umbrellas – they never got old for me.

As for how you defeat these enemies, Akita borrows KK’s powers to perform elemental attacks by waving his hand in the air. Although they are magical, they have more in common with firearms than they first appear. Wind attack is a pistol, water is a shotgun, and fire is alternately a rifle or a grenade, depending on whether you load it or not.

“These are the enemies you face throughout the game, and Tango Gameworks has done an incredible job of making them all feel distinct and surreal.”

Along with this, Akita can use a bow as well as a handful of talismans to disrupt or affect enemies. Damage an enemy enough and Akita can rip out their exposed Spirit Core to finish them off for good. These tools are introduced early, and even though there is a skill tree, the skills you unlock don’t change or drastically alter each attack. They feel great to use, but it doesn’t take long before combat starts to feel too simple.

This is what happens in most fights in Ghostwire: Tokyo: You launch magic attacks on enemies while moving away from them, sometimes stopping to rip out an enemy’s core. While Ghosts and Monstrosities themselves have a wide range of attacks, Akita only has a limited number. Upgrades to these attacks hardly change their nature, meaning you’ll perform the same actions over and over, fight after fight.

But repetitive attacks aren’t the problem, it’s how Akita moves in battle that’s the biggest problem. There are no movement options aside from walking and sprinting in battle, and Akita’s only defensive abilities are a block to defend himself as well as a stun talisman to stop most enemies in their tracks. momentum. The inability to move quickly causes every fight to be fought at mid-range, and the best way to stay mid-range from enemies is to move away from them while launching attacks.

Ghostwire: Tokyo (Ps5) Review 1

Yes Ghostwire: Tokyo had a dodge button, even if it was on a cooldown fights would be much more dynamic as you could risk diving into close quarters to land attacks or going through an enemy that is about to attack you slice with a huge pair of scissors to hit them from behind. But as it stands, the fights are outdated as they all play out the same way in the end.

Which is a shame, because the animations and visual spectacle of the battle are awesome. I feel powerful when I rip cores from enemies, and the hand gestures for each item are very well done. Coupled with the amazing designs from the visitors themselves, and the combat is magnificent – it’s a shame it plays the way it does.

That sums up how I feel Ghostwire: Tokyo. I want to explore it, encounter monsters and surprises while destroying them with an array of abilities. I want to know more about the characters and I want there to be more conversations about how each of them is defined by loss. But the more I played, the more I saw how superficial it was. There are some good ideas here, and sometimes Tango Gameworks executes them well. But just like how the people of Tokyo disappeared into the fog, so do these moments.