Ghostwire: Tokyo Review

There are never too many new brands in the industry. That is why the appearance of Ghostwire: Tokyo is extremely pleasing. Especially since it strikes with Japanese tones, which I love. However, it’s time to find out if it was worth the wait and does it offer a refreshing effect?

Ghostwire: Tokyo is a game of ambivalence. It has been a long time since I met with a title that would be so difficult to evaluate unambiguously. Paranormal adventures have their best moments — mostly those related to the aesthetic realm. Most of the time, however, it cannot serve anything that is actually remembered. It’s a pity, because although this production is far from being called bad, I expected a little more from it. I’m not at all surprised by people who still don’t know what Ghostwire: Tokyo is, because I myself have problems with it, despite the fact that I finished the game. Some time ago you could see my first impressions of the beginning of this adventure. However, despite the weaker start, I was positive about the others, appreciating that the game could start. Imagine my surprise when, after going through all this, I learned that the first three hours showed basically everything that this game has to offer! It’s not a bad game, but it had a lot more potential.

Aesthetics and what else?

My biggest problem with Ghostwire: Tokyo is that throughout the game, I constantly got the impression that the creators lacked the idea to combine separate concepts. On the one hand, we have here an almost cinematic script dealing with such ambitious themes as loss, longing, responsibility and personal trauma. On the other hand, the story as such is banal and doesn’t properly reveal individual motives, falling into the worst clichés and clichés straight out of cheap anime at every turn. In the end, not much happens in the whole story, it coexists somewhere in the background, and until the very end it was difficult for me to get involved in it at all.

This is not a production that will captivate you with interesting dialogue, emotional scenes, or the reflective nature of the story — I was disappointed because its production required a more engaging story. Well, this is definitely not a permanent plot position, although the protagonist’s relationship with the ghostly KK ghost has been heavily revealed here. Also, don’t be fooled by the atmosphere of horror. It’s a very colorful action game that — if it hits darker tones — does it in the most juvenile way possible and draws heavily on the monster aesthetic from horror. If not the story, then maybe the gameplay? And here again there is dissonance, because the authors came up with an interesting idea to create a magical FPS in which the main character uses spells and talismans. However, they have not developed it enough to avoid the monotony that quickly creeps into fun. Despite multiple types of enemies (of which there are far too few), the encounters boil down to the same thing — spamming with a specific attack until we run out of ammo. There is absolutely no room to experiment with the formula because it’s all too simple.

Luckily, the skirmishes are so fast-paced, and snatching cannonballs from opponents is satisfying enough that subsequent duels have been a lot of fun for me. Despite the high replayability, I really enjoyed the combat in the game! This is a solid spine, which, however, they forgot to conclude with the right amount of meat. I see here the foundation and huge potential for development in a possible continuation.

Open world according to the instructions

Open worlds in games are a double-edged sword for me. Subsequent games on the typical Ubisoft Core drove me to neurosis and bored me almost to death. On the other hand, the recently debuted Elden Ring fascinated me with its massive and exploratory project based on surprising the player by giving up the nightmarish marker exposure. Ghostwire: Tokyo, however, fits more into the former. The creators follow the established trends and throw us into a semi-open world littered with markers, which we have to run for about 20 hours — not counting the time required to complete the main story.

Fortunately, the gaming universe is not too big. Due to this, the distances between specific points do not increase much. So the pace of the game and the overall pace is not annoying. Suffice it to say that I have very fond memories of side events. Although they don’t shock with extensive mechanics, they often allow you to take a break from combat and get to know Japanese folklore better.

Paranormal activity, the occult, ghosts — such a situation

The element that I like to taste is the whole spiritual aspect. The ghosts of locals and Japanese youkai appear at every turn here, and I liked to communicate with them. Without coercion and with sincere willingness, I completed the subsequent side missions, which basically focused most of my attention during the game. What was supposed to be an accompaniment was a main course for me and I really don’t know how to feel about it. I’m glad I enjoyed the side content, but I’m also disappointed that the game couldn’t tie everything together with a decent campaign.

It was this occult side and visual design that fascinated me the most. The beautiful Shibuya even fascinates with its gloomy atmosphere during its study. Here it rains forever, and the lights of the ubiquitous neon reflect off every surface. All this creates a composition that is especially pleasing to the eye. The image of the metropolis at every turn pleasantly undercut my sense of aesthetics, making up the environment in which I wanted to stay. In terms of art, the creators have done a lot of solid work rarely seen in AAA games. Ghostwire: Tokyo looks really phenomenal in places — it’s hard to take your eyes off it, even if it’s technically very average in some respects. I really appreciate it, because most of my favorite games are games that focus on the aesthetic aspect. So I was happy in that regard.

No hit, no failure

This whole Japanese shell is actually the strongest and most appreciated element of Ghostwire Tokyo for me. It will probably inspire as many people as it will discourage because of the exotic atmosphere. I belong to the first group and in my case, the Asian climate has greatly conquered the positive impressions of the game. However, apart from these, I lacked depth in all other aspects. It’s not a bad production, but I expected much more from it. I feel like the creators looked too much at building western open worlds and only seemed to be trying to sell their product as something else. At the same time, they didn’t develop any idea the way I expected — maybe they ran out of time, money, skills, or a little bit of everything. Ghostwire: Tokyo is a very specific case of a game that didn’t live up to its potential. He doesn’t do anything particularly wrong to be able to point it out excessively and cling to it to some degree — except perhaps for the aforementioned repetition. At the same time, apart from the completely crazy visual envelope, it also fails to stand out from the crowd to reward itself with something really interesting. It’s a handicraft work, artistically beautiful, but moderately ambitious in terms of gameplay at best. I see the potential in this project, but this time it has not been fully exploited. I had a relatively good time, although at the same time it is a position that I will forget very quickly and will not have much love for it.

Good

  • the beautifully crafted Shibuya and its atmosphere; Japanese shell and art design; nice side quests; satisfactory fight with opponents.

Bad

  • a disappointing and flairless main plot; "artisanal" gameplay without any depth; fast creeping repeatability
7

Good

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