Back in 2014, Shinji Mikami released The Evil Within under his newly formed studio Tango Gameworks - an excellent survival horror experience that managed to lean into his signature style while also experimenting with new ideas. Tango Gameworks would continue experimenting with The Evil Within 2, and now, they've released their most experimental game yet in Ghostwire: Tokyo; a game brimming with original ideas slightly held back by its uninspired open-world structure.
Ghostwire: Tokyo takes place in Shibuya in the aftermath of a strange occurrence where the area's inhabitants have all disappeared and been replaced with malevolent spirits called yokai who now roam the world. It's up to protagonist Akito and his spectral comrade KK to put an end to the bizarre scourge affecting the land, and uncover the mystery behind the mysterious Hannya-masked villains.
I won't be discussing Ghostwire: Tokyo's story in any detail as there are some pretty great twists and turns that the narrative takes, but what makes it stand out and keep players hooked is Akito himself. Coming off as a bit one-dimensional at first, he slowly blooms into a charismatic main character that you can get behind. His interactions with KK are also well-written and do wonders in fleshing out both these unassuming allies as compelling figures in a haunted world.
At the heart of Ghostwire: Tokyo is its unique gameplay. From a first-person perspective, players harness a wide range of magical abilities to annihilate and dispel roaming yokai who inhabit every dark corner of Shibuya. Akito comes equipped with a bow too, meaning combat is flexible enough to experiment with its various styles, from full-on melee assaults to stealthy approaches.
The goal in each battle is to expose the core of a yokai before executing a stunning Ethereal Weave that pulls their core out of their chest.
As someone who enjoys urban legends, it was exciting encountering the batch of Japanese folkloric creatures that Tango cooked up for Ghostwire: Tokyo.
It's grim, dark and almost dream-like at times, turning Shibuya into a feverish nightmare.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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PC, PlayStation 5
25 March 2022
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