'Ghostwire: Tokyo' Review

ghostwire tokyo mobile
Bethesda Softworks

Tango Gameworks' previous works have centered around survival horror, but its latest game, Ghostwire: Tokyo, inhabits a weird middle ground. Ghostwire deals with Japanese folklore and is full of ghosts and demons but isn't technically a horror game. As such, players might get something different than they expected when they start playing. Instead, this is an open-world FPS with some horror elements. So anyone wishing for The Evil Within 3 will be disappointed.

Ghostwire: Tokyo centers around Akito, one of the last people left in Shibuya after everyone vanishes mysteriously. He's left near death in a traffic accident, and KK's spirit takes over his body, not knowing he's still alive. While KK's attempted possession heals him, there's no time to be relieved since hundreds of malevolent spirits called Visitors arrive just behind him.

Unfortunately, enemies are sponges, and it's an issue that only gets worse the further in the game you get. There's the option to get instant kills through stealth, but it's a rudimentary implementation that leads to frustration. If one enemy sees you, every enemy nearby can. You can't kill most foes with one hit from range, so even using the silent bow and arrow will instantly ruin your stealth when you try to pick off an enemy without being noticed.

There's a skill tree, but the upgrades to your elemental attacks are so incremental that you never feel truly powerful. This is mostly a result of the game's low runtime. If you do all the side content and collectibles, you'll get 20-30 hours out of Ghostwire: Tokyo, but the main story can be completed in 10. There's just not enough time for a proper skill tree to develop. It seems like the groundwork was laid for a much longer game, and at some point, Tango Gameworks decided to cut it short.

The open-world also feels a bit phoned in. Players are barred from exploring Tokyo by a spiritual fog. Enter the fog, you die. To clear it from your path, you have to cleanse corrupted Torii gates, of which there are a ton. They come in two varieties. The smaller ones are typically unguarded and only eliminate a small bit of fog. In comparison, the larger ones are located on shrine grounds that are filled with enemies.

Ghostwire: Tokyo has a variety of exciting environments and a great premise. The biggest problem is that it doesn't really need an open world. When you break it down, this game has a linear narrative that has little to do with the side content found in the game. As such, it's hard to shake the feeling of cognitive dissonance between the main story and everything else.

If you're looking for something a little off the beaten path with some truly interesting creatures and inventive story points, you could do a lot worse. Because still, despite its flaws, it's worth playing.

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