Ghostwire: Tokyo Goes Heavy on Supernatural Action First Impressions 1

It's safe to say Ghostwire: Tokyo is absolutely nothing like The Evil Within. The first game out of Japanese studio Tango Gameworks was a masterclass in horror design (the same can be said of its underrated sequel), and there has not been anything quite like it since. We'd consider that a shame, but what the developer has planned next could be just as grand — or at least fairly different. The opening act of Ghostwire: Tokyo is heavy on action and somewhat light on horror. That balance could change the more you play, but Tango Gameworks has certainly gone for something else this time around.

Tango Gameworks kindly shared the first 30 minutes of the game with us to view via livestream, based on an early build of the final product. There has been a sense of mystery surrounding Ghostwire: Tokyo since its first reveal and then the re-introduction during Sony's first PlayStation 5 showcase, but we can now tell you this: Akito is the protagonist and it's his job to track down the masked figure Hannya. People are disappearing where they stand across Tokyo, and it's clear you're the only one who can put a stop to it. Oh, and Akito must save his family and take back the Japanese capital.

It's tough to work out where the game will land. Despite an on-screen map in the bottom-left corner, the demonstration remained fairly linear, guiding us through the streets of Tokyo as another character in Akito's ear lines up objectives to complete. We visit shrines and apartment complexes in the name of dealing with the supernatural entities taking over the city, taking down barriers and cleansing Torii gates as we go.

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It's what happens in between completing those tasks that stands out the most, though. Akito eliminates the paranormal using spells from a distance, whittling them down until their core is exposed. Once their core has been taken from them, they return to the dead. Multiple enemies can be eliminated all at once in a combo — the online presentation reveals — at which point they shower the neon-lit streets with XP. It all looks enjoyable, with different incantations serving various purposes and fit for specific situations.

Accompanying those hexes is a bow and arrow for pinpoint accuracy; the livestream demonstrated killing an enemy by speedily whipping the apparatus out as it rushed Akito's position. A very quick glance at multiple skill trees in the pause menu hinted at lots of abilities you'll be able to unlock throughout the game, suggesting combat will provide a lot more depth than what was shown. It was just the opening 30 minutes, after all.

If you'd prefer to do your business quietly, however, then Spectral Vision will be your best friend. The feature works just like the usual Batman: Arkham detective vision we've all gotten used to over the past decade: activating it highlights enemies and other noteworthy items in the nearby environment. Sneaking up on an enemy allows for a one-hit-kill. It doesn't look like you can play the entire game that way, but certain scenarios present the option.

And while you can't actually fight it, the city of Tokyo itself is just as much of a character in the game. Its famous neon streets are juxtaposed against a supernatural backdrop of chaos and disorder. Motorcycles are stuck to walls, cars are suspended in mid-air. With the streets silent, there's a very eerie atmosphere to the whole thing. The tension increases tenfold when you head indoors for a puzzle as rooms contort to present traversal challenges.

Other points of note were convenience stores run by a cat to buy items from, a sort of grappling hook mechanic that allows you to cling onto spectres and reach rooftops, and an overly long fade to black upon entering a new location. Probably masking a load screen, they lingered for slightly too long in the gameplay capture we were treated to. This was said to be an early build, though, so hopefully, the final version either dramatically shortens or eliminates them entirely.

Are we now looking forward to Ghostwire: Tokyo more than before? Sure, the PS5 console exclusive has proven it wants to strike out and do its own thing. With lots of spell variety, combat looks like it could well be an enjoyable affair. If the way Tokyo contorts itself increases with more supernatural spooks and unnatural environments, then this will be one to look out for later this year. We're yet to play the game for ourselves, but Ghostwire: Tokyo is shaping up to be another Tango Gameworks triumph.

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Ghostwire: Tokyo is currently slated to launch for PS5 and PC on 25th March 2022. Are you excited about the next game from Tango Gameworks? Keep your core safe in the comments below.