Put aside any worldly certainties you know, because where we are going the rules of the physical world are worthless. Ghostwire Tokyo is preparing to immerse you in a world where the paranormal is the new norm and where the Japanese occult world is the King. Since its irresistible announcement at E3 2019, this title has captivated us with the unsurpassed charm of Japan and the spirits of the legends that inhabit it. Today, thanks to Bethesda e Tango Gameworkswe are ready to tell you everything (without spoilers!) of Ghostwire Tokyo in this review.
Our Ghostwire Tokyo review
We are in Tokyo, more precisely in the Shibuya district and we are alone. The entire population of the area was blown away by a dense fog that isolated the neighborhood from the rest of the city. The only survivor of this mysterious attack is Akito, the game’s protagonist, who wakes up after being involved in a car accident. The boy’s lucky awakening is due to KK, a mysterious entity who decides to possess Akito and through his body, fulfill his mission.
KK is in fact aware of what is hitting Shibuya and of the disturbing consequences that will soon happen. In fact, the neighborhood soon begins to be populated by a series of spirits that are anything but friendly, torments of souls and the anxieties of the living that have materialized in the real world and that roam the streets of Tokyo. In addition to giving him new life, KK has given Akito a series of incredible powers that allow him, among other things, to control the elements and thanks to which he will defend himself from threats.
There is a long way to go in this eerie scenario, and the mystery to be solved is just as intricate. In fact, to control the puppets from beyond the grave there is an individual who hides behind one hannya mask, one of the Japanese demons. Among her terrible plans, a place of honor is reserved for Mari, Akito’s sister, who was kidnapped under mysterious circumstances. On the one hand save Mari, on the other solve the mystery and prevent hundreds of thousands of souls from being lost forever.
A matter of Spirit
Ghostwire Tokyo is an action adventure video game with elements typical of role-playing video games. By controlling Akito, firsthand, we will have the opportunity to freely explore the entire Shibuya neighborhood. The map is not huge, but it is full of elements to explore, areas of interest, side quests and much more. We will start the game in a small explorable area before realizing that the entire neighborhood is shrouded in a deadly fog, impossible to overcome. To unlock new areas we will have to purge the Torii portals, the Japanese portals that usually anticipate the entrance to a temple.
These have in fact been corrupted by the presence of evil spirits who guard them. It is a series of grotesque but at the same time fascinating ghosts that represent a spirit corrupted by vices or by his past life, far from pleasant. A pale man in a SlenderMan-style suit and tie, a faceless young woman, a restless spirit ready to slice you with scissors; each spirit has a specific attack and resistance and many of them will give you a hard time.
From his Akito he has at his disposal the powers of KK’s Aerial Weaving that will provide him with attacks of wind, fire and water, as well as the ability to make contact with the spirit world. These are exclusively ranged attacks which, however, can be accompanied by melee stealth attacks when the enemies are unaware of our presence. Any action that involves interaction with the spiritual world, results in moves of Kuji Kiria practice of imposition of hands and fingers which, according to oriental culture, contains esoteric messages.
Between side quests and Yokai
In addition to ridding the city of spirits, the game offers a series of activities that all revolve around the world of the Japanese occult. In fact, there are no non-player characters (NPCs) who are not spirits, who have remained on this earth for various vicissitudes. These are “good” ghosts who will not attack the player but who will ask for his help in resolving the issues that bind them on Earth. The whole map is in fact full of these souls in pain that will provide interesting side quests. Of these, very few are tied to the main plot, but greatly enrich the paranormal atmosphere of the game by introducing the individual stories of each spirit.
In contrast, the main plot develops in a straight line with no interruptions or actions to be performed before continuing. The story spans five chapters and lasts approximately 15 – 20 hours which can become much more if you decide to complete the game 100%. In addition to primary and secondary quests, we have gods points of interest to discover and spirits to meetnot only ghosts but also Yokai, Kappa, Rokurokobi and the other fascinating figures that populate the Japanese mystical scenario. About that, a much appreciated archive is available which tells about each spirit.
The bulk of the “collectibles”Of the game is represented by the souls of the living who can still be saved and which are scattered throughout Shibuya grouped in clusters of a hundred souls. The total to be found amounts to over 240 thousand. Ready for an intense ghost hunt?
Killing enemies, overcoming side missions, collecting the souls of the lost (and so on), will provide Akito experience points that will allow him to level up. Here the mechanics of RPGs (RPGs) come into play along with Akito’s Skill Tree. These are three different branches of skills that are divided into: CapacityAkito’s abilities in general, Ethereal textureabilities related to spiritual powers, ed Equipment. Each branch affects a very specific area that you will develop according to your style of play. It is never about skills that change the gameplay but more of upgrades, cooldown reductions and so on, obviously necessary to solve the advanced phases of the game.
More could be done
Despite the much-appreciated settings and addictive gameplay, we certainly cannot say that Ghsotwire Tokyo is a revolutionary title. We’ve seen most of the mechanics in previous titles and the bulk of the gameplay never changes from start to finish of the game. The strong point of Ghostwire Tokyo is undoubtedly there game plot and the world (and underworld) in which it develops. Whether you are a big fan of Japan or not, it is impossible not to be bewitched by this extraordinary Shibuya bathed in shadows and rain.
The whole atmosphere of the game focuses on themes such as death, the importance of life and the time one is spending on Earth but also relationships with others, with ourselves and our limits. A constant whirlwind of emotions and thoughts has enveloped us from the beginning of the game, giving us that pleasantly melancholy atmosphere that Ghostwire Tokyo feeds on / feeds on.
But unfortunately in some moments the narration proceeds at an awkward pace barely describing Akito and the other characters whose story fails to fully engage us. Paradoxically, we found some side quests much more interesting that for a few minutes made us re-live the life of a spirit in pain: a child playing the piano in the middle of the night, a kidnapped spirit, a corrupt soul in search of fortune even after death. An incredible mix of Japanese stories and folklore that is easily loved.
From a technical point of view…
… The game defends itself very well while still remaining a cross-gen title. The version on PlayStation 5, the one used to make this review of Ghostwire Tokyo has two versions, Performance e Quality. While the second, as the name suggests, favors in-game performance giving us extremely fluid 60FPS (Frames per second), the quality version makes the image more detailed, with fantastic plays of light, shadows and reflections, at the expense of 30FPS. Unfortunately, for the sometimes frenetic pace of this title, 30FPS is not enough and in combat sequences it risks greatly altering your experience.
A separate mention must be made, we repeat it again, for thegame atmosphere, incredibly spot on. Everything, graphics, music, sound, converges to make Shibuya a gloomy, disturbing but at the same time pleasant place to look at. In this regard, a praise must be given to the original dubbing (in Japanese) which offers that extra dose of Japan that we need. The game is also available in English or Italian.
Ghostwire Tokyo review in brief
Ghostwire Tokyo is not a revolutionary video game and it doesn’t want to be. Bethesda and Tango Gameworks wanted to offer us a fresh, pleasant title that could fully involve us in its atmosphere and they have fully succeeded. The stories, the characters (mostly ethereal) and all the charm of the Japanese occult world ooze in every corner and it is impossible not to be captivated.
But don’t let yourself be carried too easily into the underworld, you may never get out of it again!
Ghostwire Tokyo will be available on PlayStation 5 and PC starting 25 …