Fans of supernatural anime like Jujutsu Kaisen may find Ghostwire: Tokyo right up their alley. This first-person action adventure has your character Akito battling paranormal foes from headless schoolgirls to umbrella-wielding salarymen in a Tokyo devoid of mankind. The game is pretty to look at, with cool sequences that would not be out of place in an anime. However, the gameplay isn't anything to shout about, and the combat is especially lacklustre.
- For PS5 (tested) and Windows (Steam/Epic)
- First-person action adventure
- Set in Shibuya, Tokyo
- Haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and audio with PS5 DualSense controller
The plot is fairly linear. Everyone except Akito has suddenly disappeared. And he's got paranormal powers from a spirit residing in his body. Now he has to save the city (and his sister) from a masked villain who wants to open a link with the afterlife. Exploration is similar to Ubisoft's open world games like Far Cry 6, but smaller scale, and infused with Japanese folklore and culture. From torii gates (shrine entrances) to yokai (spirits) to katashiro (Japanese paper doll), they all serve a role in the game. For instance, you save the souls of people, which rewards you with experience points and game currency, by gathering them with a katashiro. It sounds ridiculous, but it's par for the course in this genre. Many of the side quests are inspired by urban legends and ghost stories, but while interesting, they are simple, with some repetitive missions.
Combat is the game's biggest weakness. Ghostwire: Tokyo is basically a first-person shooter, but with magical ranged attacks dubbed Ethereal Weavings. You get three different types of elemental attacks (wind, water, and fire). You can charge your attacks for greater damage, and inflicting enough damage lets you execute a finishing move on the enemy. I do like how you recharge your supernatural abilities by striking ghostly objects found throughout the city. There's also a bow and different types of talismans to switch up the combat slightly. While you can upgrade your combat abilities using skill points acquired from leveling up (and certain items), the combat system doesn't evolve as you progress. There are no new moves to unlock. In particular, the boss fights are a big letdown, with unimaginative and repetitive movesets. Some key fights also involve stripping your paranormal powers, which gets old after the first time.
To its credit, Ghostwire: Tokyo makes excellent use of the PS5 DualSense controller. The audio, especially, is great. Dialogue from your spirit buddy (KK) comes from the controller. And when you're close to an enemy, there's an unsettling static-like audio from the controller. In addition, the haptics are good and rumbly when you're executing certain moves such as a finisher on the enemy. At the same time, many of the in-game tasks involve holding the trigger or button to execute. And they are enough of them that they soon get tiresome. It's telling that an item you receive after completing the game lets you skip a crucial but repetitive task.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is a pretty game with cool visuals and immersive audio, especially with the PS5 controller. But the gameplay is formulaic and combat is lacking. Playing at Normal difficulty, I rarely felt challenged, even in boss fights. It's also relatively short. It took me just under 20 hours to complete the main story and most side missions. Ghostwire: Tokyo launches on March 25 for the Sony PS5 and Windows PC (Steam and Epic game stores), but I would recommend waiting for a sale. Not to mention, since publisher Bethesda is owned by Microsoft, the game will probably come to Xbox Game Pass eventually. If you really want a Japanese-themed game, consider Ghost of Tsushima instead. Ghostwire: Tokyo is available from the PS Store, Lazada or Shopee.
Note: Review copy provided by Bethesda Softworks.
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