Ghostwire: Tokyo (Review)

This was a tough one to add to my review list: the trailers were all very short clips montaged together in a way that never gave me any real clarity.  It seems that this was originally supposed to be The Evil Within 3, and I’d only played the first Evil Within game.  So what the heck does Ghostwire: Tokyo entail in the move to a first-person view and a whole new IP?


GAMEPLAY

…the game begins to feel like drudgery…

The first thing you should know is that all these hand gestures actually boil down to a far more simplistic mechanic at their core.  No matter how far along you get in the game, it continues to be one simple thing: a hand shooter.  There’s also a bow and some talismans, but those merely provide support functions.  And while it is at first a very unique feel, it wears out its welcome after several hours once you realize you’re just shooting different “guns” with your hands, albeit far less responsive than pretty much any other modern shooter.  Unfortunately, a lot of other things also wear out their welcome pretty quickly as well, and a large portion of the game devolves into scavenger hunts.  Collecting spirits quickly becomes more of a nuisance despite its high worth: it’s the bulk of how you level up and increase your finger gunplay.  Top that off with how repetitive cleansing torii gates gets, some not-so-great platforming elements, and the game begins to feel like drudgery as your curiosity gets the better of you moreso than the gameplay.  Fortunately, the stealth gameplay feels a bit more rewarding, but does little to stop the inevitable feeling of repetitiveness as you get right back to scavenger hunting for spirits.  Speaking of scavenger hunts…


CONTENT

…much of the content is trite…

It’s not a long game even at a leisurely pace.  The credits rolled at 15 hours for me, and part of that was the fact that the scavenger hunts became rather unappealing.  You’re just always looking for something, whether it’s in a side quest, still collecting more of those damned spirits, or even collectibles for cats.  It’s a shame that much of the content is trite, and it left me with little reason to even return after the game was over.  I guess if you’re into finding things, though, this game has you covered with achievements.


PRESENTATION

…complete and utterly missed opportunity at proper Japanese horror.

First and most important, I recommend the high framerate quality mode in v-sync if you’re playing on the PS5 like I am.  It provided the best balance of visual quality and framerate as there are a lot of reflections in the streets that look far more realistic using ray tracing.  While I clearly prefer the more realistic appearance of the streets of Japan (which I might add are rather well-done and seem surprisingly accurate), the game’s framerate is rather terrible, unfortunately.  It’s inconsistent as well, though this game does not rely on twitch shooting, fortunately.  But these are the least of its problems, and the real issue is one that pervades the game’s most interesting moments: this is flat-out a complete and utterly missed opportunity at proper Japanese horror.  The game’s world itself is interesting and filled with spiritual Japanese lore.  Yet it’s devoid of a single bit of any real horror.  It dangles it in your face and never actually gives it to you, a horror cock tease if you will.  I had also hoped the story would pan out more, but for some reason, none of the characters are fully fleshed out.  Instead, they’re given just enough story for you to care, but never enough to become truly invested.  It’s rare for me to say something like this, but this game genuinely needed far more cinematics and storytelling.


CONCLUSION

…functional and unique, yet merely serviceable at best.

I’m disappointed.  No, not in the fact that I didn’t get a horror game despite how it dangles it in my face, but how worthless a lot of the game is.  It caught my interest, and the hand signs were fun at first, but everything started to wear me down as the façade wore off.  It’s a shooter, and a hollow, unresponsive one at that.  It’s a scavenger hunt, but for a lot of things that don’t actually matter and a pain for the one that actually does.  And while I absolutely love the modern Japan city setting and the interesting world lore, it just misses every mark somehow by being functional and unique, yet merely serviceable at best.  I can summarize this in a pretty simply statement: so close, yet so far.

I give Ghostwire: Tokyo

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