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Ghostwire: Tokyo Review – Possessed by the ghost and enchanted by the magic of Shinji Mikami

Sometimes a game just has a good vibe. It could be one aspect of this game – the art style or the game world – that really elevates it above anything else, or it could just be that everything bundled into one package is an exceptionally enjoyable time. in the Ghostwire: Tokyothe mood is impeccable.

It all starts at the Shibuya Scramble, one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. Ghostly occurrences sweep everyone into a thick fog, leaving only their clothes behind, and an army of specters descends on Tokyo Ward. It’s up to formerly deceased protagonist Akito and still deceased but not real sidekick KK to merge into one body – magic abilities literally in hand – and get to the bottom of the haunted Shibuya.

The late creative director Ikumi Nakamura once affectionately described Ghostwire: Tokyo as “spooky” in a memorable E3 speech, and there’s no better word to sum up the game. Storefronts slam without rhyme or reason as you hop through Shibuya, building interiors rearrange like entrails are being played with, flying shadows streak across rooftops, and it’s all guarded by a menacing red moon. Ghostwire: So Tokyo is really scary.

It is not an easy task to make a world appear alive without other actual people. Ghostwire: Tokyo manages to bring the desolate streets of Shibuya to life thanks to fleeting events, such as a group of ghosts descending on human spiritual remains to drag them into the afterlife, prompting you to run around and save everyone before they are dragged to hell . There’s also a procession of demons that roam Shibuya on a regular basis, and you’ll have to fight like hell without your ethereal abilities if they find you.

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However, Ghostwire: Tokyo’s vertical open world is a new venture for developer Tango Gameworks, and the growing pains are evident. Surrounding Shibuya are torii gates that act as beacons that, when activated, suck up the surrounding mist and reveal a new part of the map. The presence of so many towers around Shibuya feels a little edited at times, as if Tango borrows from the open-world design of a decade ago without a fresh perspective or unique spin. If even Ubisoft can grow from this, you would expect other studios to be able to too.

The saving grace of torii gates is that they open up some brilliantly eclectic side stories. Generally initiated by interacting with the spiritual remains of people defeated by the Mist, side missions can take you on an immersive subway ride to explore a local legend and rescue a tanuki and his crew after they took a day trip to Shibuya and gotten separated or saved someone from being literally treated like a dog by their brother. Ghostwire: Tokyo’s side stories are completely unpredictable, and that’s excellent.

However, the writing style generally leaves something to be desired. Akito and KK jump into a buddy routine on the fly, playing each other out with tongue-in-cheek remarks and wit, and typically you won’t go more than a minute on Ghostwire without a comment from either of them. However, Tango’s main characters only work because they play off each other, and you get the feeling that one of them would feel relatively monotonous and flat without the other. That said, Akito is never without KK in his Shibuya hijinx, so there’s always that interplay that reinforces the game’s otherwise spooky tone. The pair is usable, but no more.

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Shibuya’s absence of human noise pollution paves the way for otherworldly sounds from the demonic yokai. And that’s a good thing, because Ghostwire: Tokyo’s sound design is exemplary. You’ll hear sinister giggles and see headless schoolkids scurrying around a street corner or scraping nails across a plaque announcing an imposing yokai trailing a pair of scissors with sword-sized blades. It all fits into that eerie, spooky atmosphere that was promised for this game years ago – and the creature’s sounds also blend brilliantly with the PlayStation 5’s 3D audio capabilities. The result of this deft marriage of sound and engineering is an eerie paranoia , which often manifests itself; You may be facing an empty street, but somewhere around you hear a shutter slam or a demon moan, showing exactly which direction it’s attacking your ears from.

Ghostwire: Tokyo is radically different from anything Tango Gameworks has produced. Gone are studio head Shinji Mikami’s Resident Evil 4 third-person shooter insignia that translated so well into The Evil Within, and it’s missing the bleak, gritty art style and creature design that naturally lent itself to the aforementioned survival horror game. This Tokyo-based caper feels like Tango is about to shed its training wheels and get going, offering a dazzling showcase of brilliant lights and colors that provides a stark contrast to the hideous creatures that invade Shibuya.

Nowhere is the shift from survival horror to action horror more evident than in Ghostwire’s frenetic combat. You’ll crouch and weave through outstretched arms and gnashing blades, hitting the block button at the very last second before an attack lands to parry it and earn valuable spectral ammo. Your hand is then brought to life with wind, fire, or water energy and your attackers are whipped with ranged punches until their spiritual core is exposed at their waist, and you can snatch it from them and send them screaming back where they came from.

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It’s all absolutely brilliant, the icing on the cake of Ghostwire’s captivating recreation of Shibuya. That the action is regularly confined to tight spaces on Tokyo’s back streets, but never feels overwhelming or overly intrusive, is a great testament to Ghostwire: Tokyo’s combat design. Tango regularly throws a bunch of menacing enemies at you, but also gives you plenty of tools to have fun with – it’s a delicate, fun balancing act. The final act of grabbing a Yokai’s spiritual core and pulling it out of reach is a fabulous way to complete each combat instance, as the DualSense controller creaks and yelps as you hold the left trigger.

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Ghostwire: Tokyo is an impressively bold move towards a new director for Tango Gameworks that is paying off beautifully. The artists and designers at Tango work wonders with wacky and menacing creatures set against the wonderful backdrop of a colorful Shibuya. While the leading couple and open-world design stumble at times, Ghostwire’s wonderfully odd side stories and engaging combat more than make up for any weakness, working in unison with the game’s crazier and more outlandish elements to create a world that not only looks but also a damn good spirit.

https://www.vg247.com/ghostwire-tokyo-review Ghostwire: Tokyo Review – Possessed by the ghost and enchanted by the magic of Shinji Mikami

Fry Electronics Team

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