Ghostwire: Tokyo wants to mix tired open-world formula
Ghostwire: Tokyo – a game set in a version of the Japanese capital overrun by demons, spirits and otherworldly forces – feels both familiar and unlike anything I’ve seen in a while , which feels appropriate. While watching the extended demo, I had the elements of a modern open-world action game ticked in my mind: expansive urban environments; areas that need to be liberated by interacting with landmarks; skill trees to develop your arsenal and abilities; emphasis on traversal; Check, check, check, check. But while these and other aspects of Ghostwire: Tokyo may seem typical of an average open-world game on paper, their execution in-game is anything but.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is very different from what we’ve seen from developer Tango Gameworks in the past. Its two previous games, The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2, carried the DNA of studio co-founder Shinji Mikami’s most famous work: Resident Evil. Ghostwire: Tokyo, however, seems to be the studio’s word, it’s not just Mikami and Resident Evil 4 or something. Ironically, Ghostwire: Tokyo actually started as a sequel to The Evil Within 2.
“Yes, [Ghostwire: Tokyo] It did start out as a sequel to Psychological Breakdown, the Japanese title for Inner Evil. I think it’s at least the next one in the series,” explains director Kenji Kimura. “After a long and winding road, it has evolved into this different idea to create a fun game based on a Japanese city. At the time, there weren’t many games based in Japanese cities. So we think there’s a big opportunity there to make something really fun and cool. “
Under this line of thinking, Kimura and his team technically Correct (best correct). Fans of Sega’s much-loved Yakuza series will no doubt “well, actually” think games set in Japanese cities are rare, but outside of the series, there aren’t many games in Tokyo. And, aside from Square Enix’s The World Ends With You and Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei titles, I’ve never seen the city stand out as much as it did in Ghostwire: Tokyo.
The influence of Japanese mythology is obvious. It’s a game steeped in the culture and history of the studio’s homeland, past and present, from top to bottom. My gameplay demo began by describing Ghostwire: Tokyo as “a supernatural action-adventure thriller set in a creepy, haunted Tokyo setting”. With the idea of a collision of the familiar and the extraordinary, the game’s setting looks like Tokyo you’re probably familiar with. Stacked, gleaming buildings and billboards spread across your line of sight, their dizzyingly coloured lights gleaming in the sheen of the rain on the ground and bouncing off the pooled puddles here and there . Every block is crammed with a kaleidoscope of storefronts, with sporadic vibrant foliage standing defiantly between concrete and glass. Close your eyes and think about Tokyo or search for it on Instagram and that’s it.
“You know how you see some YouTube anchors showing Japan, like travel channel type stuff? It does have that essence. In a way, the way Tokyo is made in GhostWire: Tokyo is very detailed, “Combat director Shinichiro Hara said. “Sometimes you can find a cup of noodles in the store and you can see it. You can see the signs, you can read the words and things – it’s just that detailed. You can’t get that close to objects and things in third-person games .so this particular game has the essence of visiting Tokyo in a way, like those YouTubers who really show off [the city] From their point of view, it’s a first-person style. “
But, naturally, this version of Tokyo also had serious problems. A crimson blood moon hung ominously over the city, seemingly shrouded in eternal darkness. The backstreets, convenience stores, and dining areas lined with bars should be full of vitality, but there is no vitality. Even the iconic Shibuya intersection, where people are almost always running back and forth, is empty. In fact, it’s worse. There are clear signs that people have been snatched and stolen from the world: piles of clothing remain where they once stood, and terrifying monsters roam the streets.
The game’s depiction of Tokyo is so detailed that I suspect it can’t possibly be as expansive as some of the open worlds we know, love, and then tire of — although that’s just a hunch I have right now. Regardless of its final size, I can confidently say it’s stunning, and it’s sure to help you experience it in first person — a perspective shift that’s also a first for Tango.
“we [used] First-person camera, because immersion is the most important keyword for our choice. That’s the most important thing,” Kimura said. “In terms of the story and the setting, we have this ordinary man as our protagonist, and along the way of the story, he meets another being with superhuman, supernatural abilities.
“When they get together and try to accomplish a specific goal, they go through the city and encounter supernatural elements. Together, they are like heroes. We want to have that kind of character for the characters in the game. Feel like a gamer. We want to help break down the wall between games and reality [player]. A first-person camera can help with this. “
Ghostwire: Tokyo’s narrative setting involves the mysterious disappearance of the city’s population and the emergence of a multitude of supernatural beings known as yokai. The designs of these creatures are sure to catch your eye, either because they’re familiar to you, like headless schoolgirls, or featureless, skinny men walking around in pristine suits, or they’re so weird, you Can stop and stare, like the big office worker with the umbrella, the lady with just a big mouth and mottled teeth, or the tall guy in the wide-brimmed hat and waving a pair of ridiculously oversized hats. Tall lady. Scissors. Go over there, Mrs. Dimitrescu.
The story begins with you, an ordinary lad, waking up in the aftermath of what is called “disappearance”. However, you now have your own mind and ability to harness the power of the elements. The phantom hitchhiking in your body has its own agenda, but for now, it’s aligned with your own goal of finding your missing sister before she’s carried away by the spreading fog.
The concept of “passengers” is common in stories, but has recently become popular again, especially in fantasy anime and manga like Jiu-Jitsu naval battles.
“The concept here is definitely the character of a normal person. Then, with this encounter with another mundane thing, his world is turned upside down and everything becomes abnormal. It’s just a weird experience,” the producer said. Masato Kimura said. “This happens in other forms of entertainment, but in our game, we think it’s unique in that it takes you into Tokyo, especially a city like Shibuya. We want to create a world where no one is there. That What would it be? How would it feel? It’s that unease that makes this game a little bit special, more creepy than other universes that might exist in other entertainment brands.”
“I love Tokyo Ghoul and Jujutsu Kaisen. I read those all the time, but I never really compared them to Ghostwire: Tokyo,” Kimura explained. “But what we’re really trying to pursue is, in this game, you’re looking for things you don’t normally see. And, you’re being threatened by things you can’t see. But they’re all in the normal world, In the familiar Shibuya where we usually walk around.
Like the characters in Jiu-Jitsu and the enemies there, yes, they do have superhuman abilities because of those supernatural things inside them. But the stories there are basically based on humans versus humans. Therefore, there may be some differences between our games and other similar-sounding forms or brands of entertainment. “
This brings us to one of the core pillars of the game: combat. Once again, the idea of delivering something seemingly ordinary in an unconventional way carries over into the fight. Interestingly, Hara describes the game as a “first-person shooter” and he’s technically correct again (still best correct). But there are no guns in Ghostwire: Tokyo. Instead, there’s something cooler: handprints, used in a mystical art called “ethereal weaving” — which looks as bad as it sounds. The idea is that players are able to channel an energy called aether to use elements such as wind, fire, and water spells to aid offense, while using perfect time blocks to mitigate damage in defenses.
“When I actually joined Tango, it was decided to make this particular game a first-person shooter genre,” Hara said. “With firearms and stuff like that — submachine guns and other guns against these ghostly enemies — it’s not really appropriate. So we explored how you’re going to actually beat those enemies, and what we’re really thinking about is Ethereal Weaving, which is similar to magic type [where you’re] Basically a throwing gesture to shoot a projectile.
I think it’s actually interesting because [in] Most first person shooters, you have rifles up, and then shotguns, you have these switches [between weapons]. But actually the transition between weapons isn’t that cool. If you actually do it with these cool gestures, the transitions between these weapon switches can be exciting. “
From what I’ve seen, they certainly look exciting. I’ll admit, I’ve been a huge fan of handprints and gesture-based combat since watching Kakashi play Zabuza in Naruto as a teenager, but even so there’s something undeniably cool about seeing the protagonist in Ghostwire : Tokyo quickly forms different shapes with his hands, releasing magical spells from his fingers. It’s like if you use a finger gun, there’s a different, dazzling firework every time – sometimes it’s a fiery missile, sometimes you can go through an enemy with a lethal water whip, or light it with two fingers Swipe lightly to stagger enemies. Aim for impact.
The spells aren’t infinite, as they each have effective “ammo”, but one way to recharge seems to be tied to another cool mechanic. Against weaker enemies, an ethereal golden thread can be attached to their inner core, at which point your character will pull on it until the thread is taut enough to tear the core, giving him a bit of aether to use. Even on screen, it looks satisfying without having to do it yourself.
In addition to these abilities, Tango says players can use a range of traditional tools. In the game demo, I saw a gorgeous number of bows for ranged attacks.
“I think when you hear about magic spells, people think magicians aren’t physically strong, or [that they’re] Not very powerful,” Hara said. “But in GhostWire: Tokyo, we basically wanted the player to be like a spell-casting badass. It’s actually quite physical. So in a way it’s almost a combination of a magician and a martial artist. We need to define this element, the actual mechanics of how you defeat the enemy, [in a way] It fits the world. This is where casting materials come into play.
“Everything the player can fire is actually projectiles. So they’re actually…
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