We finally know what Ghostwire: Tokyo is
Ghostwire: Tokyo made its first impressions when it debuted at E3 2019, with studio head (and Resident Evil legend) Shinji Mikami and creative director Ikumi Nakamura introducing a cryptic trailer. Nakamura has since left the studio, and after a few more similar unannounced trailers, we still haven’t seen much of an indication of what the game actually is. A recent closed-door gameplay demo changed that, and now we have an hour to break it down for you from the early stages of the story.
So what is Ghostwire: Tokyo? Basically, it’s a first-person action game where you shoot ghosts with psychic energy.battle appearance something Like a modern, action-oriented Resident Evil game: slow-paced, but without the constraints of true survival horror. It all takes place in the open-world version of Tokyo, full of activities to complete and quests to undertake. These things will all feel familiar, but what makes me yearn to see more of Ghostwire is its surreal insanity.
Ghostwire puts you in control of Akito, a seemingly ordinary person who merges with a ghost hunter named KK. Akito has a very prudish normal person reaction to all the horrors around him, while KK is his cynical mentor, his world-weary advice comes with dry irony (KK also has something to say about economic ethics, Once told Akito “all property is theft, child”). A spooky fog has made the people of Tokyo disappear, and the two are trying to track down the mysterious masked villain Prajna and stop the invasion of the realm of the gods.
To do this, Akito must utilize ethereal weaving, which is the foundation of your power. You can fire blasts of energy from your fingertips like a pea shooter, gradually depleting some sort of psychic ammo tracked at the bottom right of the screen. Defeated enemies drop green energy that can be recharged. You can also start with a shield used to block attacks or deflect projectiles back to monsters.
These monsters are more appropriately called visitors, and these ghosts appear to mostly take the form of faceless reflections of ordinary Tokyo citizens. Faceless commuters stagger toward you on narrow streets, moving at uneven speeds and changing directions while you try to hit an effective shot, which looks disturbing and seems like a way of getting off target .
Ghostwire’s total separation from logic and reality is refreshing even if physical space isn’t rewritten right before your eyes
While it’s hard to tell by a hands-free demo, it looks similar to Resident Evil Village’s battles, just with less resource management and lots of neon. Significantly slower than most modern FPS games, and visitors hobble around like Village’s moraice. You also move slowly, with little room to dodge attack in the claustrophobic passages of central Tokyo.
While the streets are narrow, this is still an open-world game where you can freely explore parts of Tokyo, doing side quests or other activities highlighted on the map. Tourists pop up in droves around the city, offering light combat that you can get close to by attacking first or sneaking in for stealth kills. Corrupted torii gates have become the focus of attention around the world – akin to a Far Cry-style radio tower. At one point, you clear a set of three doors in a small area, which clears the surrounding ghostly fog and unlocks new firepower in the form of new firepower.
Ghosts aren’t all bad. In addition to the gigantic visitors, you’ll also find friendlier monsters that you can talk to or gain new powers from. A genie takes the form of a cat that runs a convenience store, where you can buy items that restore health or help you capture souls that have turned into ghosts. Once you’ve captured these souls, you can take them to the phone booth—”Akito asks: “Do they still have those?”—and restore their mortality.
It looks similar to Resident Evil Village battles, just with less resource management and lots of neon lights
In a side quest, a ghostly old woman asks you to save her family’s zashiki-warashi, another type of yokai designed to bring good luck to the family. The old woman is convinced that the yokai has been kidnapped by her greedy landlord, and in fact, the greedy ghost of that landlord must be sealed, which you can do by drawing a logo on the screen following Okami’s brush mechanism. Between the landlord’s lingering greed and KK’s comments on property and theft, it looks like Ghostwire isn’t afraid to sink into the angst of our zeitgeist.
A more linear story mission is Akito and KK exploring an apartment building. It started out pretty normal, but eventually the duo stumbled across some ghostly slime and things quickly got a little… Strange. Corridors twist sideways, furniture floats up and down, contrary to the laws of physics. Eventually, there was a typical transformation in geometry: all the doors went to the wrong places, the floor became a ceiling, and the hallway became a small crawl space.
That surreal feeling is the strongest impression Ghostwire makes. Even if the physical space isn’t rewritten right in front of your eyes, the use of color, disturbing enemy movements, and a general detachment from logic and reality all create a pleasingly fresh tone, and I’m so excited to immerse myself in this atmosphere .
In many ways, Ghostwire: Tokyo reminds me of PlayStation 3 games. It’s not that it looks stale or dated in any way—well, other than the fade-to-black that marks the transition between cutscenes—but it’s the spirit of its design. It’s a game that draws on Western design tropes to expand the range of settings unique to Japan. It looks like the kind of game that’s getting rarer these days, and I can’t wait to see more.
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