The graphics offer us great moments, but the art direction does the job more than the technique itself. The “next gen” aspect of this PS5/PC (and Xbox Series next year) exclusivity isn’t really felt.
Tokyo’s redevelopment is also one of its strengths, as some of the famous places are easy to recognize, while the more anonymous streets perfectly recreate the atmosphere of the Japanese capital. Neon lights shining in the rain, modern buildings and ancient shrines, convenience stores such as convenience stores, public baths, large can dispensers and other subway ticket machines form an urban landscape that is very true to reality. Like the yakuza, Ghostwire Tokyo even invites us to learn more about local food, as healthy consumables are presented in the form of various culinary dishes (Inrarizushi, Konpeito, Ohagi, Dango, Dorayaki, Isobayaki, etc.) accompanied by an illustration. and a brief didactic description. A nice detail that some players are bound to miss… by mistake. Either way, they won’t be able to miss the many Japanese terms mentioned in the dialogues. Be careful: Katashiro, Kagura suzu, Yokai, Kappa, Kendama, Magatama and Rokurokubi will become your everyday life, and only the context and some descriptions will allow you to more or less understand what is at stake. Therefore, a change of scenery is guaranteed.
SHIBUYA TOLD ME…
Ghostwire Tokyo also digs into its Japanese roots when it comes to visitors. These enemies are indeed mostly from Japanese fantasy folklore. Eyeless men, decapitated schoolgirls, an elegant woman with giant scissors, a hanged man covered in a sheet, a misty character dressed in oilcloth skins, and other thin, pale creatures with long black hair are all part of the bestiary. We must add to this the presence of many less hostile but equally unsettling spirits, such as this bloated Cyclops blocking the doors. In addition, the developers use their experience gained in The Evil Within to offer us some mini-screamers (enough), as well as various disturbing visions and surreal scenes, the mixture of Japan and horror works very well. In short, if you’ve always dreamed of taking on headless schoolgirls in an arcade room located in the basement of a shopping mall in Shibuya, you’ve come to the right place!
In the essentials category, on the other hand, there is an ultimate attack that recharges during fights, as well as ghostly vision, which allows you to both follow the tracks of the past and detect weak spots, read the minds of animals and observe the silhouettes of enemies through obstacles.
Despite the first-person view, combat is based on supernatural abilities rather than firearms. We have a bow, but its usefulness is not obvious compared to ethereal attacks. It can be wind, fire or water, charged or not, and they weaken enemies until they open their heart, which our hero can then grab on contact or from a distance to finish them off. The game also has a small penetration component that allows for “quick purges” if you manage to get close to enemies from behind after crouching. We’re not in Splinter Cell or Deus Ex, but a few skill upgrades (as well as obstacle talismans and stealth food) still help make this discreet option viable. Not skimping on gameplay mechanics, Ghostwire Tokyo also offers us drawing seals with the right stick to destroy certain spells, a rosary for equipment to get various bonuses, an Omikuji divination system that offers a randomly selected effect, an offering system, various one-time talismans. (stuns, decoys, etc.) and several skill trees (abilities, attacks, weapons). Some of these options are hardly useful, others are slightly redundant, but in the end it’s better to have too many tools at your disposal than not enough. In the essentials category, on the other hand, there is an ultimate attack that recharges during fights, as well as ghostly vision, which allows you to both follow the tracks of the past and detect weak spots, read the minds of animals and observe the silhouettes of enemies through obstacles. The experience system is mainly based on collecting spirits, some of which are well hidden in the scenery. You must first absorb them with the paper item and then find the phone booths to transfer their souls so they can find their bodies later. If above we mentioned 240,300 spirits to be released, then still be calm: each ghostly silhouette sucked returns a lot of spirits.
TOWERS ON TORIA…
However, the game still suffers from the “too crowded”, “old fashioned” or “ubisoft” open world syndrome, call it what you will. Specifically, the torii gates that need to be cleared play the role of Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed towers here. Capturing them dispels the surrounding fog and unlocks many side quests, points of interest, and other fast travel points on the map. There is inevitably a sense of déjà vu coming from this system, which also suffers from comparisons with the recent Elden Ring. We wouldn’t mind a freer, less controlled, and less mechanical exploration. Side quests usually involve resolving a situation for a spirit that is just waiting to be released. This sometimes leads to comical situations, such as this ghost locked in the closet and needs to be provided with two rolls of PQ, or scary. Meanwhile, the town’s merchants have been replaced by cat spirits, which is not without charm, but does not eliminate another drawback of the adventure: the lack of people, which makes the world too empty and static.
Ghostwire Tokyo, unfortunately, has not escaped the “another open world” syndrome, but this is almost its only fault. While the overall structure is undeniably classical, the environment is thankfully much less classical.
The graphics offer us great moments, but the art direction does the job more than the technique itself. The “next gen” aspect of this PS5/PC (and Xbox Series next year) exclusivity isn’t really felt. Luckily, exploration remains enjoyable in all cases thanks to the verticality of the environment. The skyscrapers of Tokyo don’t just exist for decoration, as the Akito/KK pair have a grappling hook that can be used on Tengu, living, flying, and sometimes mobile attachment points. And the ability to plan, combined with the lack of fall damage, is offered by the house! So feel free to take to the skies, especially to find the best hidden spirits and items. Please note that the interior of some buildings can also be visited during the main and secondary quests. Let’s finish with the last positive moment, which concerns the French version. If the purists can keep the Japanese voices, the French dub is indeed present. And it turned out to be of very good quality, the actors playing Akito and Kei Kei sound believable and fit well with the characters.