Ghostwire Tokyo Preview – Exorcising The Evil Within
Tango Gameworks’ most recent release is Ghostwire Tokyo. Shinji Mikami, a prominent game designer, and creator of the Resident Evil series started the studio to reintroduce the survival horror genre into the mainstream. Since then, they’ve published two games: The Evil Within and its sequel. Both of these were well regarded by the gaming community while failing to resonate with the mainstream audience. Tango Gameworks proceeded to concentrate on new games, this time with a new IP called Ghostwire Tokyo after these titles did well enough.
Ghostwire Tokyo is reminiscent of Evil Within. The game takes place at night in Tokyo in the aftermath of a paranormal occurrence that causes 99 percent of the people to vanish overnight. The protagonist, Akito, is possessed by a mysterious ghost known only as KK in the game. He leads Akito through a post-apocalyptic Tokyo devoid of humanity and plagued by horrific spirits. The first chapter establishes the basis for Ghostwire Tokyo’s plot, and I couldn’t help but compare it to The Evil Within. There are several long flashback sections in the game that depict events leading up to the disappearance of someone close to Akito.
During the story, Akito encounters a mysterious spirit who wears a Hannya Mask. This spirit appears to have a history with KK setting up an intriguing premise for the story. The game uses this plot thread to pull the player into a mystery without revealing too many details around it. The entire first chapter is a giant tutorial with long cutscenes but once it is over, the gameplay portion begins by putting the player in the streets of Tokyo. Here a world map comes in handy in figuring out where to go next but some portions of the city are engulfed by a mysterious deadly fog. This is used as a barrier to stop the players from stepping out of bounds.
I enjoyed my time with the first two chapters of Ghostwire Tokyo. The game offered a nice mix of exploration, combat, and occasionally threw a bone with a cutscene to keep the player guessing on what happens next. It is not a survival horror game like The Evil Within, but the general premise is interesting enough that I never felt bored with it. I do sense that it might get repetitive the more I play it, but there is some curve thrown with combat and exploration-based upgrades to keep the gameplay fresh. How well will this work out, this remains to be seen.
In the beginning, the combat is quite straightforward. I believe it will begin to open up with upgrades. Akito can utilize the spiritual power he obtains from KK to expel the dangerous ghosts that inhabit Tokyo. He receives experience points by doing so, and he can also conduct a finishing move by taking out the spirits’ cores when they are nearing the end of their lives. One example of a combat upgrade is that the pace at which cores are extracted is slower at first but steadily increases with upgrades. Akito has a variety of spiritual abilities that he gradually unlocks, and he can also shoot spiritual arrows with a bow.
PlayStation 5 Features
Ghostwire Tokyo’s DualSense implementation is one of the finest I’ve seen in a game. Not only does the haptic feedback function beautifully in fighting, but it also works brilliantly in other gameplay scenarios. The controller’s speakers are utilized to output the conversation between Akito and KK, which I thought was a great way to present it, even though it isn’t exactly an original idea.
Ghostwire Tokyo is superb on the technical front, with at least six separate visual/performance settings. There is a quality mode that is enabled by default, followed by a performance mode that operates at 60 frames per second. The quality setting includes ray-tracing functionality, which works great, especially in Tokyo’s streets. Reflections are well-lit and rendered while using the quality setting, albeit at the expense of performance. Fortunately, there is also a high-frame-rate mode that addresses both quality and performance concerns. There’s also a version with vsync, meaning the game may theoretically run at higher than 60 FPS but with screen tearing.
Ghostwire Tokyo is a significant game as a new IP, and it shows a lot of promise. Technically, it’s robust enough, even if the aesthetics aren’t spectacular, and the gameplay is enjoyable, with the potential to be much more. I’m excited to play more of the game and maybe share my thoughts with the review later this month.