With Tango Gameworks' action-horror game launching in a few days, we've already spent a bunch of time exploring the supernatural version of Tokyo.
Those of you who read my impressions of Ghostwire Tokyo's first two chapters hopefully got a clear indication of where this was heading, so I'll make this short and simple.
Ghostwire Tokyo is an okay game that feels like it could have launched fifteen years ago. This includes the story that doesn't manage to live up to the mysterious bread crumbs it lays out in the beginning. Both it and the general gameplay makes me think that Tango Gameworks had some good conceptual ideas, but never found a way to make an entire game based on them. The story is so thin and predictable that I found myself laughing out loud a few times because of how clichéd and wanna-be cool and impactful it wants to be. This is just made worse by having one of my biggest pet peeve in games: a story sequence followed by five seconds of gameplay before another cinematic plays. Why?! To stretch it out so that people who always ask how long a game is will be pleased? Well, size doesn't matter if you don't know how to use it.
A philosophy that also applies to the gameplay. As I stated in last week's impressions, the combat is flashy and fulfils a power-fantasy with its cool hand gestures and colourful effects, but doesn't evolve after the first hour or two. This is why I'm rather seeking out bigger groups of the fascinating enemies. They'll allow you to make your own fun by giving the same great feeling as blowing up a group of enemies in other games with a single grenade. It's a lot of fun to obliterate four or five enemies at once with a charged up attack, gasoline tank or ripping out all of their cores at once. Another reason for this is that the controls are a bit too stiff and unresponsive for my taste, which is probably why it doesn't matter where you hit most enemies with the heat-seeking spells. Again: a cool idea that lacks polish and depth.
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Not that this doesn't stop the developers from pushing this on us in pretty much every aspect of the game. The enemy design and the atmosphere created by being alone in Tokyo are basically the only things reminding me that this started out as a third The Evil Within very early on, as it's weird that Bethesda calls this a horror game even if there's a single jump-scare in it.. Yes, some side missions and activities want you to explore areas and interact with certain objects in what I'll be kind enough to call puzzles. The large majority of them will have you fight a group of regular enemies or a few stronger ones, however. There are a couple of somewhat memorable exceptions that almost seem like they're made for another game or by other developers though. These either play around with perspective or gameplay mechanics in interesting ways, while everything else has you fighting the same handful of enemies after talking to indistinguishable phantoms or spirits.
That didn't stop me from spending approximately 38 hours doing everything except for freeing every soul (didn't have time to stay around waiting for the more challenging random encounters before embargo), which says something about how entertaining I actually find the core mechanics and gameplay. It's just been nice to have an okay "podcast game" where I can run around looking for both interesting and lacklustre collectibles in-between fighting and exploring the at times charming and intriguing Tokyo. Go in with those expectations, and you'll probably be pleased. Anything else, and I fear most will find it disappointingly generic and repetitive.
6 / 10
Cool universe and concept,
Flashy combat system,
A very thin story,
Extremely generic and repetitive gameplay