Ghostwire: Tokyo Review | Tokyo, a place usually crowded with people, has turned into a desolate haunted city with the entire population vanishing to be overrun with dangerous and deadly supernatural spirits that now prowl the streets and alleyways. In Ghostwire: Tokyo, although the captivating modern cityscape still stands, it’s far from what anyone could imagine. Playing as Akito, and the spectral entity KK that has taken refuge inside your body, you are able to harness supernatural ethereal weaving capabilities and must do everything in your power to save not only your family but take down the evil occultist Hannya to rid the corruption that plagues the city you reside within. Developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softworks, Ghostwire: Tokyo is an open-world adventure title and provides us with the ability to wield devastatingly powerful and aesthetically pleasing elemental powers to fight through the variants of ‘visitors’ and cleanse the fog that surrounds us. Time to delve into the beauty of Tokyo and what I thought during my gameplay experience.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher. This review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Immersive open-world | Exploration always finds itself as one of my top priorities when playing open-world titles and with the fog restrictions commonly encountered within Ghostwire: Tokyo, I was even more determined to search everywhere I could at any survivable chance I got. As you gradually cleanse torii gates, you clear previously inaccessible areas due to them being detrimental to your health, making them impossible to explore for prolonged periods of time. The map is remarkably larger than I anticipated, with plenty to get involved with whenever the mood takes you. Being able to venture through the solitary environment of what used to be known as an incredibly busy city was astounding to me, enticing me to look literally everywhere and take in the horrific events that are occurring. Knowing I was literally the only person who still resided in the city gave me feelings of fearfulness, curiosity, and heroism – knowing it was up to me to save the city from the evil that lurked around every corner. I can only imagine how Akito must have been feeling.
- Main story experience | Akito, KK, Mari, and Hannya make up the main characters present within the story of Ghostwire: Tokyo and all significantly impacted the story’s direction. Being one of two protagonists who are ultimately alone in a spiritual nightmare gave the story substance from the very beginning of our adventure. Akito and KK learn they need each other pretty quickly to survive and set out to save Mari and take down the evil force led by Hannya. The connection that grew between Akito and KK really stuck with me as they worked out their differences and decide to work together. The story takes place over six chapters and each seems to focus on different aspects each time, making it exciting to progress to the next. Personally, I found the story fun and I always waited in anticipation to find out what would happen next. Some twists and unique circumstances broke the game up to create content I didn’t expect however greatly appreciated. Certainly, a one-of-a-kind experience when taking everything into consideration.
- Animal interactions | To all the animal lovers out there, you can pet dogs and cats that have been left abandoned due to unforeseen circumstances of everyone disappearing. Yep, you read that right and not only can you pet them but you can also read their thoughts – these made me both smile and frown. If you find or purchase dog food, this can be fed to them in exchange for… well, I’ll let you experience that for yourself. You best believe I always had the max amount of dog food I could afford! The merchants you can find in stores are also floating cats known as Nekomata Yokai who will trade you their custom for meika. This made my day when I found my first one – I want them in real life! Finally, there are special Nekomata stands that have relic requests for you to fulfil in exchange for meika. Overall, the animals within Ghostwire: Tokyo all have good intentions and never failed to make me smile.
- Collectibles galore | For all those gamers who enjoy just free-roaming and obtaining collectibles, you’re in luck as there is a whole range of them within Ghostwire: Tokyo that will take you a significant amount of time to find so completionists be aware. Now I adore collectibles and I’ve enjoyed coming across them naturally while completing the main story and side missions but you’ll need some dedication if you want to find them all. Each area does register what you’ve found so you know what you have to look for which was super useful. It was always nice to break off from the main story and do a little searching around the immediate vicinity. Along with the collectibles, there are heaps of folklore to bury your head in which really gives us the chance to understand and take in the knowledge of Tokyo. This really interested me and made me feel more connected to the world I was trapped within. Be prepared to find tanuki, magatama, and jizo statues which are only a couple of the collectibles you can find within the game and good luck in your ventures!
- Upgrade skill trees | As you progress and increase your synergy level in Ghostwire: Tokyo, you can upgrade three different skill trees in any order you wish. These consist of abilities, ethereal weaving, and equipment which can all be upgraded in various ways depending on what the individual finds will be more beneficial to them. Abilities are mostly about the quality of life additions and include things such as increasing spectral vision range, different core grab methods, and boosts to combat abilities. Ethereal weaving is all about your elements while equipment mainly increases the capacity of items such as arrows, consumables, and talismans. Skills trees are welcomed for the most part in games as each player can build what they decide is right for them. Plus, who doesn’t like their character to become even more powerful? It should also be noted you will need skill points for these but occasionally, you will be required to use magatama to unlock further choices.
- Enemy variations | At first, I thought the enemies were pretty easy to defeat and thought the game would be a cakewalk. I was quickly put in my place when I noticed different variations of enemies who ultimately used different abilities when they attacked me. One particular enemy even healed nearby spirits which became annoying incredibly quickly. Although they are all aggressive in their own way, their method of attack did affect who I dealt with first in a fight. Some later enemies are far more dangerous, with them having far more health and also chunking my health with any hit they landed. In addition to this, they looked tougher so I already knew they were gonna pack a punch. I’m beyond happy there were multiple enemies to look out for to add variety arguably the main component that makes up Ghostwire: Tokyo.
- Impactful audio | Sound effects were a crucial factor in the gameplay of Ghostwire: Tokyo and didn’t fail to impress. The enemies sounded horrifying with their nearby presence, breathing deeply and sounding angry by just existing making it quite intense when sneaking around them, looking for the opportunity to strike. The sounds they make in combat also have a decent impact as I felt their presence was made stronger by their husky breathing and terrifying screams. Akito and his abilities also sounded powerful, making me feel at one with my character and his powers but it also gave me a sense of purity somehow. The voice actors for every character suited them perfectly and they always came across clear and concise in their narrative. Music can be obtained across the playthrough and played whenever from your inventory; every song was remarkable. The combat music was incredibly intense, giving every encounter the needed adrenaline boost. I can’t fault the audio because its presence was incredible.
- Adjustable settings | For people who want to customise their settings to suit their game, there is plenty you can change. To begin with, there are different difficulties to choose from depending on how tough you want to make the game, ranging from easy to X. There is the option to choose between performance or quality mode which many people like to utilise in newer releases, the choice to disable time limit events if you’re not a fan, reduce the horror effects (seriously…), and even an autosave frequency option which I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before. Why wouldn’t you want this as frequently as possible?! These and many more are included so everyone can make suitable adjustments to how their game runs. I always think the more settings the better so I’m impressed with what can be altered and changed.
- Visuals and animations | Possibly the first thing that I noticed in Ghostwire: Tokyo were the incredible graphics and surroundings that have been created, making a scarily realistic and authentic setting for the game and all its content. The reflections of the bright buildings off the rainwater, the various lighting that’s been implemented, and the fog-ridden borders are just some of the beautiful features I encountered among many. The hand movements Akito makes when in combat or cleansing are mesmerising and really have some depth to their animations, making them incredibly fun to cast; made me feel like a true spiritual badass. The enemies looked creepy – whether it was because they didn’t have a head or face, ran at me viciously, or danced around like a demented schoolgirl/boy and their animations were frightening to witness, making the overall combat incredibly exhilarating to partake in. I take my hats off to the developers, mainly everyone who was responsible for the visuals, animations or cutscenes because these really made Ghostwire: Tokyo a spectacular game.
- Intuitive combat | Being able to use ethereal weaving in various elements was incredibly satisfying to unleash on dangerous spirits who threatened my life. The elements and abilities I used against my enemies were always chosen in a tactical way, depending on my surroundings, the types of enemies I was fighting, and how many there were. I used the simplistic wind element as an auto attack against weaker, single-target enemies, the water element against larger amounts due to its wider spread, and the fire element for more dangerous enemies and larger groups when I was struggling to survive. Each can be used however you want but this was personally my favourite way to decide – a healthy mixture tended to be how most encounters would go. You also have melee attacks and a special bow you can use to take down enemies from a distance or those in the sky. However, with everything I have just said, stealth definitely seemed powerful when used successfully and my oh my, it was extremely pleasurable to sneak up on enemies and rip out their cores, killing them instantly. There’s an approach for everyone to try and find what they find the most effective.
- Lacklustre side quests | I’ve always been an advocate for games including side quests where possible so I’m sure it will come as no surprise to mention I was excited to see side quests pop up on my map during my time in Ghostwire: Tokyo, usually whenever I cleansed a new torii gate. It gave me the option to either continue with the main story or delve into extra missions which was a welcomed change of pace as I didn’t want to blast through the main storyline too quickly. That being said, what some of the side quests entailed was far from fun, making them turn tedious quicker than I would have hoped for. Grabbing toilet paper for a spirit that was preventing another spirit from using the restroom, finding a mum who was simply trapped behind some corruption, luring a kappa out and absorbing its power – these are just some that I found particularly boring and it didn’t stop there. On the other hand, I did enjoy others that involved fighting off enemies, analysing data from the moon, and searching for tanuki. Just a little hit or miss as to whether they were enjoyable to partake in.
- Spectral vision | The use of KK and his spectral vision is essential in being able to observe your surroundings – whether it’s for safety/tactical purposes, finding ethereal energy, or seeking out the numerous collectibles hidden around Tokyo plus many other reasons. This ability allows you to scan anything within close quarters and can be upgraded to further expand your vision at a later time but this is completely optional. It tracks enemy movements, shows nearby free spirits, ethereal objects, and much more! The reasoning behind placing it within this section of my review is the colouring of the vision I believe should have been different based on what was being shown. To name a couple of examples, perhaps the enemies could have been outlined in red, Meika pots in gold/yellow, and breakable objects in blue. By implementing this, the vision could have been clearer to understand and made differentiation much easier. This is just down to personal preference though as spectral vision is an absolute godsend, whichever way you look at it.
- Character customisation | A nice touch to Ghostwire: Tokyo was the ability to change how your Akito looks, even if you’re in first person and are unable to see him other than in cutscenes. The majority of clothing is purely for personal preference and aesthetics but one unique accessory that does affect your gameplay is the different prayer beads you can obtain. These are one of the collectibles you can come across throughout the game, some being more difficult to obtain, and can boost various stats or give you access to additional abilities you couldn’t originally use. These can be worn and changed out to improve your overall efficacy; a nice touch. It would have been nice for other clothing items to have stat boosts but in no way needed at the same time. A little character customisation can be important to some, myself included, so it made me happy to see this included.
What we Disliked
- Performance issues | For the most part, Ghostwire: Tokyo was running smoothly but there were a handful of problems that did, unfortunately, creep up a few times. I did experience some frame rate drops, usually in the chaos of fighting larger quantities of enemies and sometimes just when wandering around Tokyo itself. I personally found this a little upsetting, considering I had my game set to performance mode. Also, with regard to the enemies, they often got entangled with environmental objects which made targeting and hitting them harder as their hitbox was obscured by these. I often had to walk away to draw them out of hiding in order to be able to fight them properly. I’m quite disappointed about these performance issues which did hinder the experience as a whole and hope they can be resolved in the near future.
- Occasional clunky controls | The controls are fairly straightforward once you get acquainted with them but I did find the aiming could be a little temperamental with its lock-on ability. It didn’t always want to target enemies and often took me multiple attempts, with the aim locking on eventually but then I would be presented with the same dilemma with the following enemy. It also had a fairly short range which I thought should have, at the base, been longer to contend with floating/flying enemies which could potentially be much further away. It actually put me off using the feature and I often just used the free-aim in combat as then if I couldn’t target them successfully, it would be entirely down to me. Area of effect damage also made this unnecessary and as the game progressed, I found myself using this damage type more and more.
How long to beat the story | Approximately 10-15 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Approximately 40-50 Hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Cyberpunk 2077, Bioshock, Contol
Despite the performance issues I encountered, Ghostwire: Tokyo is a remarkable game that I believe will appeal to a wide target audience due to its genre and unique setting. The combination of horror elements and combat action made the game lively in every instance. The visuals are stunning to admire and the audio is perfect for the setting of the game. The side quests could have been given more detail but still allowed me to break up my gameplay. Immersive, thrilling, and entirely worthy of multiple playthroughs if you’re up for the challenge.
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Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!