Ghostwire: Tokyo Hands-On PREVIEW (PS5)
''The REAL Walking Dead''
Developed: Tango Gameworks
Published: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Role Play Action Adventure
Release Date: March 25th,2022
*Early access provided by Bethesda Softworks
Ghostwire: Tokyo has been one of Bethesda's more intriguing games in the last few years ever since its initial E3 2019 reveal that left people both wanting to see more, but also trying to contain their hype for it as they were all just coming off getting burnt with Fallout 76. They weren't exactly ready to give their one hundred percent trust just yet, but hey, they'd at least keep an eye out on it just in case. Flash forward to 2022 with the game just weeks away from finally releasing and fan reception has actually turned from skeptical, to mostly hype. I think this could in large part be do to recent releases like Deathloop getting a rather positive reception and earning back some goodwill towards Bethesda. It also doesn't hurt that you have the great mind of Shinji Mikami behind it either, that's ALWAYS a plus. So after years of debating whether or not this game is going to be really good or insanely bad, were one step closer to finally having an answer. In this hands-on preview, we will be covering events that take place in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 and get an early glimpse and insight as to what we can expect from the full release going forward. So let's hop in.
We open up our game in a destruction ridden Shibuya district of Tokyo with our character, Akito, wondering just what in the heck is going on,. The district is empty, desolate and nearly silent, which is not possible at all for a district of this size and scope. Before he can come up with any conclusive answers, three men approach him to see if he's aright, but much to their dismay, he has black mist coming from both his face and even his arm. Frightened at this site, they proceed to run off in a panic, only to be taken away by a mysterious white mist that engulfs the entire city, robbing its inhabitants of their existence. Terrified by what he's witnessed, Akito attempts process the experience he just had, however, something is amiss, his body is not his own and a voice can be heard in his head. It is a man simply known by the name of KK and he has taken over Akito's body for the sole purpose of taking down the man behind all of this madness named, Hannya. After some back and forth bickering between the two, they both realize, ''Ok, were in this together, I hate you and you hate me, but we have a common enemy''. With a semi truce put into place for now, KK offers Akito the use of his Ethereal Weaving, so that they combat the dangers that await them moving forward. Which they have no clue how many dangers truly await them, oh boy.
After your introduction to each of the main characters and their thin layered objective, you are now able to see and feel how the game truly plays. Does it play in the style of a game like Evil Within? or as your typical modern day first person shooter?. Honestly, I'd kind of say both or rather, I could say, it incorporates elements from specific titles under the belt of Bethesda. For instance the horror element of Ghostwire is definitely apparent early on with eerie ghost's known as Visitors coming out of thick white mist, headless school girls that rush you to grapple you or shoot ethereal energy, shape and illusion shifting environments with hallways that blur the lines between what's real and what isn't and down to the gruesome looking Visitors that you will face, one type even looking like Slenderman. He's pretty creepy. On the flip side of things, the core game play itself feels like a mash up between Dishonored 2 and Deathloop with how you use your magic wielding powers known as Ethereal Weaving. Multiple elements of Ethereal weaving can be used, such as Wind, Water and Fire by utilizing L2 to lock on aim, while pressing R2 for quick light attacks or hold down the R2 button for stronger attacks that will either pierce through an enemy or cover a wide area of effect to damage multiple enemies. Should you get enemies to their weakest point, that reveals their soul's core, you may hold L2 to unleash Ethereal strings that grapples at their stomachs core and rip it out of them. It feels so satisfying to do, no matter how many times you accomplish it. This serves as a way to not only defeat enemies quickly, even multiple enemies, but also recover the SP energy needed to wield each element at your disposal as well.
So with the overall idea of how the game plays with its basic attacking, horror themed layout, what of the games world? is it open world. Well yeah it is, but doesn't feel like it?. That's not said in a negative way either. You see, most games of the open world structure you can see as far as you want and you know its open world without having to think twice, either do to the environment being open and empty or desolate from an apocalypse. But here in Ghostwire, you're traversing Tokyo and its big open world city and because everything is so close together, the buildings towering over you and the many different paths you can take, both on the ground and on top of the buildings, makes this game both feel cramped and open at the same time. Which I feel compliments its overall dark and dreary tone. You can climb stairwells and hop from building to building for miles, because let me just say, this isn't just a skimpy little map, this thing is pretty big. However, what good is a big open world, even if it feels realized and detailed like Ghostwire, if you can't do anything in it?. True. Luckily even in the early going you have plenty of side missions to take on that require helping wandering spirits find their way to an objective, help a little Tanuki find the rest of his friends, obtain a Katashiro to trap unsent souls within it, so that you may find a phone booth to send them to a plain outside your own, so that they may be saved, upgrading your skill tree to make each ability stronger and more efficient than previously before, make use of your Spectral Vision to find hidden items, objectives and points of interest to complete your side quests or find currency known as Meika, release seals on spirits or doors using Naruto hand gestures with your controllers right stick, then finally also being able to unlock shrine temples by absorbing their energy, which will clear the nearby area of fog, allowing you to traverse further on through the map. This is just SOME of the things you'll be able to accomplish in the open world, with far more to discover later.
So far with my early preview of the game, I've been heavily surprised on what it has to offer me as a player. Its a title that feels very unique, but also very familiar at the same time. Sure, the wielding of magic like Ethereal Weaving isn't necessarily a brand new concept when it comes to utilizing powers within your hands, but with the way its utilized within the games story, how it effects Akito, KK and the overall environment around you such as absorbing souls into Katashiro, meleeing with R3 to destroy objects for SP, letting you strategize which Ethereal element works best against bigger enemies and faster enemies and ripping out core's of dying Visitors - It just feels so good. Ghostwire: Tokyo, thanks to its great open world map, its spooky atmosphere, intense moments of combat, silly, but also meaningful side quests, its interesting story on life and death and how it effects the world around you - it all has the chance to make the game a must play this year in the early going. It's not without its problems in the first chapters though with some slight framerate drops or character glitching, but don't fret, as a disclaimer, a patch will be incoming to fix these in the coming weeks on launch day. So that's always a comforting thing to hear.
After playing Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of Ghostwire: Tokyo, I'm very interested to see where the story goes from here and where the game play takes us next. Will it continue its strong momentum it has built up? or will it flounder and sink like so many other games of the past have done after starting off with so much hope and promise. Hopefully in the end, you and I remain as enthused in the later chapters as we have been in the beginning. With just a few weeks left till launch, we'll get an answer to our question very soon. For more coverage of Ghostwire: Tokyo, as well as getting my thoughts on the game in a full review, keep your eyes peeled here at GameNChick Gaming.