From the first trailer , GhostWire: Tokyo seemed to be Tango Gameworks ‘ most unusual project . The modern but desolate demon-infested Tokyo and first-person spell-based combat system contrasted strongly with The Evil Within ‘s grim interiors and survival . At the end of January, the studio held a closed screening of GhostWire: Tokyo gameplay , and it only confirmed the first impression.
The protagonist of GhostWre: Tokyo is a guy named Akito, who was possessed by the spirit of the demon hunter Kei-Kei. Together, they confront the man in the Hannya horned mask from the game’s posters. Hannya unleashed a fog on Tokyo that de-embodied people and imprisoned their souls. But it doesn’t work on Akito with KK. They decide to find friends from the hunter’s past and use them to stop Hannya in order to save the people of Tokyo and Akito’s loved ones.
Sleight of hand
GhostWire ‘s gameplay is centered around fighting the yokai spirits that have overrun Tokyo. Akito uses “ether weave” in combat and attacks enemies with a variety of spells with unique animations of complex hand movements. Each movement of Akito’s fingers is shown in great detail, which makes the battles feel tactile, as if you were casting spells yourself. And sometimes there are even moments in the spirit of Arx Fatalis , when to remove magical seals you need to draw a symbol in the air.
Rescued spirits must be imbibed into katashiro paper dolls. And then they can be sent out of the fog using special payphones – so they seem to become people again.
There are four types of elemental abilities available in the game: wind attacks – accurate and fast shots, water attacks – something like a shotgun, fire – high area damage, and earth skills are needed for defense and parry. But casting spells isn’t the only way to fight youkai. Akito will be able to shoot enemies with a bow, use grenade cards, and even sneak up on demons and perform quick kills. At the same time, each action is accompanied by a large number of special effects, which makes the battles feel even cooler.
The demons themselves turned out to be very diverse both in appearance and in behavior. Most often in the demo there were “slendermen” with umbrellas, who moved only their legs, trying to get closer to the player. And, for example, kuchisake-onna with giant scissors attacked after a jerk and with a big swing. No health bars or damage numbers – the state of the enemy can be understood by torn clothes or holes in the body. There is only one problem: with all this beauty, the battles look extremely simple. The enemies in the demo didn’t even have time to get within arm’s reach of Akito.
Not alone at home
The second important part of the gameplay is the exploration of the game world and the completion of tasks. The demo showed only one story mission and a few side activities. Among them are the cleansing of the gates from demons, the destruction of sources of infection by darkness, the salvation of captive spirits and the help of the souls of people who have not yet lost their minds.
All but the last type are solved in a couple of seconds by destroying a few demons and do not arouse much interest. But the quests from the spirits, judging by the demo, are much more interesting. For example, one elderly woman asked Akito to go to the landlord, who dreamed of getting her brownie zashiki-warashi. The ghost of a man turned out to be infected with darkness, and Akito had to exorcise him.
The plot task was reminiscent of the gameplay trailer of the game. Akito came to the house of one of Kei-Kei’s friends, who was following the development of the situation with the fog, but the guy was not there. At that moment, someone surrounded the building with a barrier, and in order to get out, Akito needed to go through a surreal obstacle course from another world and break the sources of the spell.
According to the game director, Akito will often find himself in places like this in Tokyo. On the one hand, they look stylish and original – back in The Evil Within , the studio got a hand in creating strange spaces with irregular geometry. On the other hand, I don’t want to see plot tasks made according to a template in the final game.
All missions are scattered around Tokyo, which in the demo looked very unusual compared to other open world games. In the local metropolis, unlike some GTA , there are no people at all, which makes it seem lifeless. But if for another game it would be a verdict, then in GhostWire it feels like a kind of chip.
All life in Tokyo stopped in an instant, so people’s things are scattered around the streets, and lost spirits are hovering everywhere.
In the demo, empty lanes looked very foreign and uncomfortable. In order not to get lost in them, Akito uses spectral vision – it not only shows active objects nearby, but also draws a path to the target in the manner of Dead Space .
But even with such a convenient “navigator”, it’s hard to say how interesting it will be to explore the city without people for many hours: it looks unusual and therefore fascinates, but over time it may well get bored.
By the way, friendly yokai scattered around the city will help the protagonist explore Tokyo. For example, demons fly over buildings, which you can hook on to climb to the roof. And in the city there are shops with floating youkai cats that sell useful resources. You can also buy katashiro dolls from them, which disappear after sending spirits through a payphone.
GhostWire: Tokyo is a very strange game, even for Tango Gameworks . It seems that the studio listened to the feedback about the excessive “Westernness” and lack of color in The Evil Within 2 . The new project is downright saturated with Japanese culture, and the gameplay is difficult to compare with other first-person action games – the battles look so fresh and unusual and the city is so empty, gloomy and uncomfortable.
So far, only the narrative side of the game is alarming, about which almost nothing can be said for 30 minutes. Judging by the trailers and the words of the developers, the game will have many of the same story missions with the search for a way out of another world, and they decided to show the same mission in the demo. And among several quests at the presentation, only the request of the spirit to find a brownie was remembered – all other tasks consisted in killing two or three yokai. I would like to believe that in the full version of GhostWire: Tokyo , which is released on March 25, both story and side tasks will be more diverse and interesting.