When it comes to horror games, zombies and other strange creatures have long reigned supreme. It’s now time for them to take a backseat and allow this work of art take control. Ghostwire: Tokyo by Tango Gameworks is a complete package of horror and immersive gaming experience.
Nearly all of Tokyo’s residents have vanished without a cause, and the city has been overrun by extraterrestrial spirits known as Visitors. After a motorbike accident, Akito, the game’s protagonist, is possessed and saved by a ghost detective dubbed KK, who, although having his own agenda, provides him extraordinary powers. As Akito battles the city’s ghosts, he comes across a group of people wearing Hannya masks who may be able to reveal the riddle behind the bizarre events in Tokyo. Throughout his adventure, Akito must combat several Japanese mythological beasts in order to find his sister.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is an action-adventure game that is played in a first-person perspective. To battle the ghosts and spirits that plague Tokyo, the player can use a variety of psychic and paranormal powers. The battle, according to combat director Shinichiro Hara, is “karate meets magic,” as the player character casts spells with hand movements inspired by Kuji-kiri hand gestures. When an enemy loses the majority of their health, the spirit’s core is exposed, and the player can perform take down moves to destroy it and defeat it.
The game’s structure is similar to that of a typical video game. Navigating Tokyo entails scouring the streets for both hordes of opponents to defeat and shrines and temples to purify in order to eliminate the evil fog and expand the map. You must also search out wayward souls trapped throughout the city, absorb them using a paper doll known as a Katashiro, and then send them to safety using one of Tokyo’s many phone booths. This acts as a form of experience system; the more souls you save, the more powers you can upgrade. It has a simple framework, which is one of the things I enjoyed about it. I was given enough leeway to explore without ever feeling overwhelmed or disoriented. The only real issue I had was with a few grating passages in which the game momentarily strips you of your abilities, leaving you to rely on stealth and a clumsy bow and arrow to get by.
Despite this — and despite the fact that the game was created by Shinji Mikami, the developer of Resident Evil — Ghostwire isn’t a survival horror game. This is due to the fact that I was so powerful in the game that I never felt the need to flee or hunt for a safe haven as I did in Silent Hill and Resident Evil.
The action-oriented focus works effectively, and the tale moves along nicely, despite the lack of detail and the underdevelopment of most minor characters, thanks to Akito and KK’s buddy cop bond. It’s a lot of fun to listen to them talk about life, death, and the status of KK’s flat. However, the primary story is overshadowed by the subplot.
It doesn’t help that the NPCs are ethereal spirits with humorously pitch-shifted voices who are scarcely animated and have no discernible facial emotions, limiting the ability to sell these short narratives. It’s not exactly a storyteller’s paradise. The monotonous nature of the duties themselves add to the problem.
Even when the subject is serious, such as a sequence of suicides in a decrepit building, the resolve – an evil spectre! – and the gameplay both are rather basic. While this specific location was suitably dark and atmospheric, emptying rooms, expelling spirits, and locating a key that’s inconveniently near at hand are all just more of the same.
Overall, the game’s mechanics are rather straightforward. They are, however, one-of-a-kind. The game focuses on exploring the locations that have been engulfed by ghosts and spirits, as well as the mysterious fog that causes damage to the characters. The side-missions are especially interesting because they allow us to delve further into the Japanese aspect of the game. Furthermore, the game is all about offering you an experience you’ve never had before, as well as allowing us to enjoy ourselves to the maximum. It’s less about horror and more about getting to know the culture that the developers and writers have established.