Ghostwire: Tokyo PC Review

Ghostwire: Tokyo is a special game that is worth your time, but its un-evolving combat makes it a game that begs to be iterated on.

By Sheriff, Posted 05 Apr 2022

Ghostwire: Tokyo puts you in a beautiful and visually distinct world inspired by Japanese folklore. The world is a beautiful backdrop to the even more stunning combat of Ghostwire, which brings some of the most unique first-person action gameplay we’ve ever seen. Though the game would seem to be a novel take on many fronts, the formulaic world design, and shallow combat leaves this game to be enjoyed more as a visual treat than anything to be enthralled by—a beautiful painting with little behind it.

Ghostwire: Tokyo, PC, Review, Screenshots, Bethesda Softworks, Tango Gameworks, NoobFeed, Safir Sheriff

After a mysterious fog envelops the city, our last man standing, Akito, finds himself fighting with KK for control over his own body. Akito wants to help his bedridden sister, while KK, a spirit, wants to go after the main antagonist. However, this initial rivalry dissolves into a focused mission to defeat the man behind the fog, with the help of ethereal weaving, supernatural abilities given to you by your new companion KK.

Even though KK’s and Akito’s alignment in goals feels more fortunately  incidental than organic, The themes that come about on their journey of loss and grief are undoubtedly worth it.

The man at the end of KK and Akito’s goals is simply a cliche villain, a big bad; there just isn’t much to him. Akito and KK aren’t exciting characters either, but the way their mentalities change throughout the story is certainly of note. As you continue on your journey, Akito and KK learn to understand each other and grow stronger together, and we’ll need all the strength we can get to face the nightmare of Shibuya.

Shibuya is one of the densest hubs in Japan, and its tone, usually lively and fast-paced, is forcefully removed after the mysterious fog envelops the city. The city’s soul is now replaced by something dark and surely eerie. Streets that are usually packed with regular life are now walked by the unwelcome “Visitors,” the enemies of Ghostwire: Tokyo. Fortunately, the fog also brings with it many items to aid you on your journey, items that can give you skill points, increase ammo, and collectibles. And all that is new in Shibuya is unified by art inspired by Japanese folklore and delivered in a horror fashion. Isn’t that cool?

Ghostwire: Tokyo, PC, Review, Screenshots, Bethesda Softworks, Tango Gameworks, NoobFeed, Safir Sheriff

However, enemies and items are not only what make up the world; it is also filled with memories of those who were here before the fog. Apartments filled with clothes and trinkets, the streets filled with shops, litter on the ground, and abandoned motorcycles all portray the instant disappearance of the people in Shibuya. The world Tango Gameworks has crafted been thoughtfully detailed. And those details help ground a world in such a supernatural state. Also, you can pet dogs.

Sadly, the unique and exciting aspects of Ghostwire’s open-world end there. The problem arises in the way the world is delivered to you. Most side quests feel like a chore rather than an interesting detour, and a lot of the side content can be completed with a few button presses. The map is littered with icons like so many other games. I’m not saying games that do that are bad. Still, it is undoubtedly formulaic. Having played Elden Ring not long ago, A game that encourages natural exploration, Ghostwire: Tokyo, a brand new game, somehow feels outdated. One of the best parts of exploring the world is that you never know what things will look like. Sometimes you will find a one-legged umbrella man, snakey headlamp lady, etc. Still, It is difficult to ignore the lack of depth in the content of Ghostwire’s beautiful world. Furthermore, the game's unique flaws of visual boons and depth banes continue to appear in the language you communicate with the horrors of this world; combat.

Ghostwire hosts an exciting take with its ranged/melee combat. This approach, alongside the system of elemental attacks, makes for a unique feeling in combat space. The unique feel of the combat continues to exist in the moment-to-moment combat, owing to the excellent visual design of your ethereal weaving. With the hand animations, stringing together enemies, beautiful particles bursting from enemies, and then blending in with the neon lights of Shibuya, I could barely take my eyes off the screen.

There is a multitude of ways your repertoire is expanded in Ghostwire: Tokyo. As you progress, you will unlock a water-based wide-range attack that functions like a shotgun and an explosive fireball, which is well an explosive fireball. These abilities are absorbing, but they don’t seem to take advantage of the elements they are based on. It would be fantastic if you could trap enemies in a water bubble or set fire to an enemy and have that enemy ignite enemies around them. Your primary abilities and elements feel interchangeable. Your wide water attack could easily be a wide wind attack, or the explosive fireball could be an explosive water attack.

There isn’t much harmony between your abilities either. It would be nice if you could set your enemies ablaze and then create a massive flame with your wind attack, but you can’t do that. Abilities feel like they are there only to do damage with supernatural flavoring. Swapping abilities in Ghostwire feels like swapping weapons in an FPS game more than anything.

Aside from unlocking primary abilities, there are other ways to improve your effectiveness in combat. Skill trees that enhance the effectiveness and satisfaction of your existing abilities. Talismans can give you special powers, for example, spawning a bush that allows you to avoid an enemy's line of sight. There is depth to the variety in Ghostwire: Tokyo. However, this depth is merely a facade.

Ghostwire: Tokyo, PC, Review, Screenshots, Bethesda Softworks, Tango Gameworks, NoobFeed, Safir Sheriff

Ability variety, enemy variety, and skill trees should all make Ghostwire: Tokyo’s combat system not shallow, but it still is. The effectiveness and satisfaction of your abilities may change. But, it doesn't change the mentality in the way you approach the game. When you unlock your explosive fireball, everything else simply feels ineffective and not to mention how you can one-shot most enemies by sneaking behind them. And the poor enemy AI doesn’t help much either; they are as basic as you would expect them to be. They seem to exist only for you to kill them, and they don’t move much around the environment, well, because neither can you. Akito’s movement often felt simple, sluggish, stiff, and painful compared to the fluidity of your ethereal weaving. Great ideas are present here, but unfortunately, they aren’t unified or iterated.

Ghostwire: Tokyo is memorable and eerily elegant but lacks depth. The open world is worth exploring to experience the incredible detail and the alluring additions to Shibuya brought by the fog, but it doesn’t do more than games before it has. The combat is visually stunning, and the graphics might do a lot of the carrying that should be done by the depth of combat systems, which there simply isn’t. Still, there is a lot of fun with the combat’s stunning look and feel. Ghostwire: Tokyo is worth your time, and there aren’t many games like it; this is a special game that begs to be iterated on.

Safir Sheriff
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5
Publisher(s): Bethesda Softworks
Developer(s): Tango Gameworks
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Horror, Action, Adventure
Release Date: 2022-03-25

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