Ghostwire Tokyo Preview – Modern day Mushishi
Details surrounding Ghostwire Tokyo, the latest action-adventure game from the creators of The Evil Within, have remained shrouded in mystery until now. All that has changed, however, as developer Trango Interactive has shown us a meaty demo of the game in action.
Taking place somewhere in the heart of Tokyo, the setting appears to be a spooky take on Yakuza’s fictional Kamurocho district. Almost all of the citizens have disappeared, and the city has been invaded by ghostly beings. We’re introduced to the protagonist Akito, who’s been possessed by the spirit of a demon hunter known as KK, and, as a result, has access to supernatural abilities. The two appear to be spiritually connected, as KK is seen guiding Akito, who’s only beginning to get a grasp over his newfound powers. As Akito makes his way through the city, he encounters an assortment of hostile spirits, including a group wearing suits and Hannya masks, women carrying a pair of scissors, as well as headless schoolgirls wielding bows and arrows.
Akito has several psychic and paranormal abilities at his disposal in combat. The game is played from the first-person perspective, and players can perform various hand gestures that look like they’re straight out of a kung fu movie. This unorthodox technique is known as Ethereal weaving, and it allows you to cast spells and shoot magic fireballs at your foes from your palms. Some spirits can throw projectiles of their own at you, which can be parried and deflected back at them.
Once spirits have taken enough damage, their core is revealed, allowing you to extract it via a magic string and defeat them. It’s also possible to string together multiple core extractions from a group of weakened enemies.
Further, into the demo, the menu screen is shown and the map section is brought up. Areas you’ve already traversed are visible and any shrines that you discover can be fast traveled to, while the rest of the world map is concealed. In addition to an inventory and a database, there’s also a skills section that gives access to a skill tree. This is where players will have the opportunity to spend their earned XP to unlock new mystic abilities.
A new ability termed Spectral Vision was subsequently shown off. It essentially functions much like Detective Vision in the Batman Arkham games, where you’re guided to your next objective via a marker, and other points of interest in the environment are highlighted to aid you.
Later in the demo, Akito meets the ghost of an old lady in distress outside her house. She asks him to rescue his daughter, who’s been taken captive by their landlord. Upon entering the house, you discover that the landlord has turned into a specter. KK, the astral being that accompanies Akito, can banish specters, and, with his help, Akito can send off the evil spirit. Another objective has Akito enter and getting trapped inside a possessed building with a maze-like interior. He’s able to find his way back outside by locating and destroying several soul cores.
Akito can also capture ghosts of citizens that are roaming about Tokyo within paper dolls and send them off via payphones to revert them to the living. Paper dolls and other items can be purchased from shops that have floating youkai as vendors. Akito can also weave out a grappling hook and get to higher ground by latching on to spirits. The demo ends when you discover and cleanse a possessed gate, which in turn cleanses the entire district you’ve been exploring this whole time, revealing all of its concealed areas on the world map.
It’s a promising showing on the whole, with the combat being driven by a unique mix of martial arts and magic. It’ll be interesting to see whether the skill upgrades can keep the gameplay varied during the later stages. The world seemed appropriately eerie yet equally inviting, bearing some resemblance to Yakuza’s Kamurocho district. There appears to be an element of morality in play here with ‘good vs evil’ spirits, but it remains to be seen whether it plays a noteworthy role in the grand scheme of things. As a fan of Mushishi, I’m thrilled by the conceptual similarities Ghostwire Tokyo shares with the manga series and am looking forward to seeing more of the game in action.
Be on the lookout for more coverage on Ghostwire Tokyo as it becomes available.