With so many new PS5 games also coming to PS4, you sometimes wonder what’s the point of the new console beyond the shiny new coat of paint, Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire Tokyo is that point.
Exclusive to PS5 and PC from the people that made The Evil Within, the game is an electrifying ride through a haunted Tokyo beautifully merging traditional ghosts and spirits with the backlight of neon-riddled streets. For PS5 owners looking for the system’s next killer app, this is one you should summon to your console.
“Ghostwire: Tokyo is set in modern-day Tokyo after a mass disappearance of its citizens. The story begins at Shibuya’s famous Scramble Crossing, renowned as one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections. In an instant, everyone vanishes — except for our protagonist Akito, who suddenly finds himself caught up in events beyond imagination.
A dangerous fog sets in and blurs the line between the normal and the paranormal, sealing Shibuya off from the rest of the world. As Akito, you’ll explore this transformed place and uncover pieces of the mystery of the mass disappearance, your lost family, and Hannya, the masked man behind it all.”
Despite its Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil), Ghostwire Tokyo is less horror and more of a supernatural thriller but that’s far from a bad thing. The journey and begrudging partnership between Akito and KK is fun to watch and uncovering the mystery of what happened to the city really keep you going. Overall, however, it’s hard to talk about the story without spoiling so I’ll just say it was an exciting and intriguing ride, not the best plot ever put to a video game but still well done with amazing tone and atmosphere.
As you delve deeper into the game, you’ll discover how Akito survived the disappearance and how he gained the power to fight back against the supernatural.
As you explore Tokyo, you’ll meet and clash with supernatural beings called “Visitors”.
Ghostwire Tokyo is a bit different from other open-world games as you don’t use guns and swords here. Instead, Akito has to rely on Ethereal Weaving, specific types of “hand gesture” that allows you to manipulate ether to combat foes.
There are four ether elements available to weave and each is best suited for different enemies and ranges. You’ll need to make strategic use of each element in order to get the upper hand in battle.
These three elements are:
- Wind: The wind allows you to rapidly shoot bursts of ether at your foes like a handgun. By charging with R2, you can shoot the full amount in one shot.
- Water: This functions more like a shotgun, allowing you to deal bursts of heavy damage at short range and knock your targets back. By charging, the strikes have a wide area of effect, making them extremely useful when you’ve got lots of enemies bearing down on you.
- Fire: Flames function as the game’s rocket launcher. It inflicts massive damage to everything in the surrounding area. Best-suited for when your enemies are clustered together.
- Earth: Other than the 3 attacking elements, you can also use earth ether to block enemy strikes. Doing a “perfect block”, not only will you push back the enemy, but you can also gain ether or HP.
You also have good old trusty melee attacks (R3) which can be used during emergencies. By upgrading melee attacks, you can also have additional benefits. Akito also gets other tools like a bow and special talismans which allow you to play with a more stealthy approach.
No matter how you prefer to fight, Ghostwire: Tokyo gives you the tools to confront the opposition in any way you choose in its dynamic and exciting combat.
The Tokyo of Ghostwire is a stunning place. It’s eerie and mysterious yet still filled with life. There are plenty of areas in the game to explore and items to collect, both on foot or even from the air via gliding, meaning you can see Japan steel garden from the skies.
Much of Tokyo is enveloped in a thick fog, perpetuated by corrupted Torii Gates. Akito has the power to cleanse this corruption, thus clearing the fog and expanding the area of the city open for exploration.
Human spirits can be found drifting through the streets. These lost souls are some of the roughly 200,000 people of Tokyo who vanished at the beginning of the game. Using special phone booths put together by a member of KK’s team, Akito can send these souls back to the safety of the outside world.
Akito will also need to absorb spirits as a key ingredient of skill progression. The more spirits you collect, the more experience points you’re rewarded with, allowing you to unlock new levels quicker, which in turn grants more skill points for upgrading Akito’s abilities.
For those that like Japanese folklore, you’re in for a treat as Ghostwire features tons of recognizable youkai updated with next-gen graphics.
As you make your way through Shibuya, we’ll encounter many side missions inspired by Japan’s colorful mythology. For example, you may want to help an old oba-chan find her loyal yokai named Zashiki-Warashi. It’s quite cool as although you’re fighting Yokai, not all of them want Akito and KK dead. They may even give you new skills as thanks for completing their requests.
Other yokai we’ll meet includes a kappa, ittan-momen, rokurokubi, and many more. Finding them is only the first step, though. Each requires a different and unique method to capture them and harness their power. Kappa, for example, loves to eat cucumbers so bring a few along to lure them out into the open. The ittan-momen can fly and to capture it, you have to chase it through the air by either doing parkour or gliding using our powers to grapple onto a Tengu.
At first, I thought Ghostwire’s side quests would be repetitive, generic tasks, but they turned out to be one of the best parts of the game with great good stories that tell you more about each yokai.
And last but not least… you can pet dogs and cats in the game, and they’ll reward you. It’s great.
The Spiritual Power of The PS5
One of the first things I noticed when booting up Ghostwire Tokyo was that everything was rendered in cutting-edge detail, and amplified fidelity by the PS5’s ray tracing. Tokyo is a busy city with neon lights, billboards of ads, and so on. You couldn’t imagine the beauty of seeing it in the first person.
With the human models, however, while things like clothes are nicely done the model’s faces look a bit bland by comparison. The models also occasionally glitched up a little although this was not a frequent occurrence. The animation when working properly was pretty good although not quite on the same level as games like say Horizon Forbidden West.
The PS5 SSD storage and high speed mean that there are near-zero loading times as you explore the city making traversing feel seamless.
The action is also more immersive with the DualSense, which implements the controller’s built-in audio capabilities to bring voices from the other side to the player and haptic feedback when you attacking or being attacked. KK will sometimes give directions or instructions on what to do and his voice can be heard through the DualSense. It really feels like there are ghosts in your machine.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is an amazing example of what the next-gen power of the PS5 is capable of. Exploring the gloomy streets of ghost-ridden Tokyo was a treat and while it had some problems with glitches, it was far from gaming breaking.
The side missions are genuinely fun, traversing is great, and the combat mechanic kept me waiting to come back for more. Along with the PS5 tech-like haptic feedback and 3D, I felt like I was right in the middle of the action as I tore out the cores of enemies.
If you’re looking for the next big game for the PS5, channel this into your console as soon as you can.
|Tokyo is beautiful and atmospheric||The faces of the models are a little bland|
|Side missions are fun and let you learn more about the yokai||Models can be a bit buggy on occasion|
|PS5 allows for greater immersion|
Ghostwire Tokyo is available for PS5 and PC. It will also be coming to Xbox Series X|S sometime in the future. A prequel visual novel called Ghostwire Tokyo Prelude has also been released on the PSN store and Steam for free.