After a mysterious fog rolls into Tokyo, whisking everyone away into the afterlife, one man stands in the way of a totally new world ruled by malevolent spirits and a crazed man seeking to bridge the gap between life and death. Ghostwire: Tokyo is deeply rooted in the spirits and afterlife, it’s a game that seeks to give players a glimpse into the folklore of Japan whilst fighting and dealing with busy-work for them.
That Voice In Your Head
You aren’t left as a human facing these spirits alone, however, right before the fog rolled in, the main protagonist, Akito, was possessed by a revenge-seeking former cop spirit going by KK. While he starts off brash and annoyed that the body he possessed — your body — was actually still alive, he does come around and realize that he’ll never reach his goal without Akito’s help.
The main thing keeping KK from moving onto the afterlife is his desire to ensure that the game’s main antagonist, Hannya, is dealt with once and for all. Meanwhile, Akito’s forced to play along partly due to the concern that he’ll die without KK as he was in an accident prior to the game’s events. As an added reason, Akito wants to ensure that he can find his sister, Mari, who was taken by the antagonist to be part of the ritual that would open the flood gates and blur the lines between life and death.
Elemental Powers Activate
The main way the player can face off against the forces taking over Tokyo is with the aid of KK. With him inside the player, you can use various powers based on the elements to eliminate them. It isn’t even that hard from my experience maintaining at least one of the handful of powers, my favorite was the default Wind ability as it was fast and by the time you get your next power, probably upgraded more and can be a pretty powerful asset.
In instances where the player is without his spectral companion, you can fend for yourself with a special bow and arrow found early in the game alongside some talismans for unique cases that you can buy from the shops. Alternatively, you could try and be as stealthy as you can and while it isn’t a complete stealth game, you can play it and try to face off against the least amount of foes you can, but as the game goes on it gets harder as new faces make themselves known and hide above or in the vast building tops.
I liked the fact you could over time wind up gliding from building to building and sometimes not even worry about dealing with as many Visitors than you would on the ground. It made for something to spice up your otherwise rather spiceless playthrough. The game doesn’t change its formula very often and if you’re careful, you won’t even lose KK very much outside of story-driven quests.
While I enjoyed the game immensely, the gameplay does get stale when all you really have to do is go against Visitor after Visitor spamming whatever powers you want.
That Typical Bethesda Busy-Work
Ghostwire: Tokyo has a lot for you to do, you aren’t just following the main story and that’s it, even if it’s not a game developed by Bethesda, it’s still a Bethesda studio that worked on it, which means, of course, there’s side missions all over, especially after cleansing a torii gate to clear some of the fog. While the smaller gates are usually pretty unguarded and you can expect to face them with relative ease, save for some that have more dangerous Visitors waiting for the player, but overall, it’s a simple task to firstly clear the fog, secondly, gaining prayer beads or abilities that help during your time fighting the Visitors, thirdly, getting more side missions, and finally finding more spirits in need of help to return to their bodies.
Collecting spirits is another part of the game, you can collect souls left behind all around the city and return them to their bodies for experience and money that you can spend at any of the convenience stores, which are now manned by shopkeeping cat yokais. Finding a gaggle of souls to collect nets you some decently easy experience and let’s say it’s abundant considering there’s over 200 thousand souls for the player to find.
This is a double-edge sword to me, though, and this is something I wasn’t the biggest fan of. The amount of souls you need to collect is wild and while you collect them in groups, it’s still a lot to do when you have a vast open world to find these floating spirits to 100 percent the game. They could be anywhere from the ground to the rooftops on any building at any time.
Learn About The Folklore And Explore Tokyo
The main draw for players is its heavy love for Japanese culture and folklore. No matter where you look, you’ll see something that sparks Japanese culture. The buildings themselves, landmarks, and the enemies you deal with are all rooted in some sort of folklore. Side missions often even include yokais to gawk at and learn about in your journal.
Overall, Ghostwire: Tokyo is a fantastic game for those who crave an open-world with a lot to explore and a decent amount depth to the world, even if it’s just for show enjoy, and those who enjoy Japanese folklore, from malevolent spirits like Kuchisake-onna and the mischievous Kappa yokai, to the docile and neutral yokai like Zashiki-warashi and Nurikabe.
In the end, Ghostwire: Tokyo will satisfy that weeb-y curiosity when it comes to Japanese folklore while also giving you a fair bit of busy-work to keep your playtime high. Its overall gameplay is pretty solid, the story is above average when it comes to games from Bethesda-owned studios, and the feeling you get when you reach that points of unease can hit you like a ton of bricks, even if it does get repetitive from the second you capture your first set of lost spirits and send them off to Ed.
This really is a formidable send-off if Bethesda never releases another game to PlayStation platforms.