Ghostwire: Tokyo has a lot of promise coming from the previous developer of the Evil Within series. Set in the busiest part of Tokyo, the Shibuya district looks different when people are suddenly stolen from the streets. Only clothes and other physical belongings remain, dotting every street and business you encounter. This eerie feeling sets in early in the playthrough as you take stock of all the missing.
Even without people, the recreated Shibuya district is something beautiful to explore, with nooks and crannies you have to go out of your way to search. Unfortunately, however, the rest of the gameplay doesn’t always rise to this same level of wonder. What starts as a supernatural adventure through the streets of Tokyo quickly devolves into a repetitive slog to the next objective.
What’s positive in Ghostwire: Tokyo?
As previously mentioned, the scenery that the player can explore is a sight to behold. While it’s darker and more dismal than the actual Shibuya district, everything looks like the developers pulled it straight off the street. Storefronts are inviting and beg to be explored, even when the option to enter those places is limited.
Animals are a spotlight in Ghostwire: Tokyo, often taking the place of NPC roles like shopkeepers and quest givers. Some cats run shops, dogs begging to be fed, and a group of Tanuki that have been lost around the city. It’s hard to walk 30 feet in Ghostwire before you run into another animal companion looking for help.
If you’re looking to play Ghostwire: Tokyo for the spookiness, you’ll likely be pleased. At least in the early game, you can expect to be surprised by the enemies that await you. The primary enemies are pretty eerie and can be deadly in groups when you start. Also, when entering a hospital, there are a lot of quick animations that serve as pretty good jump scares, even if they tire after a couple of uses.
Without paying much attention to Ghostwire, you’ll quickly learn something new about Japanese culture. The game is flush with supernatural references to ancient traditions and belief systems in Japan. Players will interact with Yokai and eat Japanese food as they explore the sites of the Shibuya district in Tokyo.
The player would likely be at a loss without the Spectral Vision that shows essential items and enemies near the player. In addition, this vision allows players to see weak points of corruption trees, making it one of the most necessary tools in the game.
What’s negative about Ghostwire: Tokyo?
For starters, the combat very quickly becomes so repetitive. It can’t even be saved by earning new elemental powers, which feel like a weaker version of the last. Whenever you run into enemies, you’re shooting off the same spells in repetition or hoping for a well-timed shot with your bow. Ammo is a precious resource in each encounter, with no other option once you run out.
Early in the game, there are many cinematics that go on for a while. It’s important to build a world with a good story that the player can live in, but this cinematics contains a lot of dead air that doesn’t provide anything to the overall story or world. In the first hour of the game, the player will spend more time watching cinematics than they’ll spend playing the game, and that’s more of a movie than a game.
The Seal system feels like something made for PlayStation controllers, likely because it was. This mode sees the player using the right joystick to remove a specific curse or pass through a door by removing a seal. However, inputting the Seal often causes the joystick to become unresponsive instead of following the design. Players not on PlayStation will be better off leaving it to the AI to finish.
While a game that doesn’t punish you all the time can be excellent, there doesn’t feel like there’s any real challenge to Ghostwire: Tokyo outside of slogging from one objective to the next. The sidequests don’t feel like they have much weight, and that’s a letdown for how many there are. Combat only gets worse when multiple enemies surround you, and sometimes not even then.
If you’re a fan of Japanese culture and mythology, you’ll likely get a lot of enjoyment out of Ghostwire: Tokyo. It does a lot to root itself in those places but doesn’t amount to much outside. While the monsters are spooky and the setting is eerie, there’s not a whole lot to keep players interested for more extended periods.
The Final Word
It’s a fun game while learning the ropes but quickly becomes a chore when you get used to the world around you. If you’ve run out of horror games or have a PlayStation, you may get a fair amount of enjoyment out of Ghostwire: Tokyo.
Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website!