Ghostwire Tokyo this has never happened before preview

Ghostwire: Tokyo – this has never happened before. preview

A few years ago Bethesda confessed v love to single-player games and even supported a grant program for future developers. With the exception of the strange Fallout 76, the company’s actions were completely consistent with what it said. But over time, it turns out that Bethesda started releasing games that are pretty difficult to promote – they’re so unusual. For example Deathloop, the essence of which could not be fully conveyed in any trailer. Or Ghostwire: Tokyo, which was invited to the press a few days ago. What I saw made a vivid impression precisely because the game is sub-standard against the background of many other major releases.

Everybody is gone

In the Ghostwire: Tokyo universe, something strange happened in the capital of Japan – 99% of the population disappeared. Instead, ghosts have appeared in the streets and the remaining people are being intimidated by representatives of a mysterious organization. In the role of young Akito we have to save the city and defeat all the villains.

Whom you won't meet on the streets of empty Tokyo

Whom you won’t meet on the streets of empty Tokyo

Early in the game, Akito gains the abilities of KK, a skilled ghost hunter who has become a ghost himself. As the developers explained, the hero’s ultimate goal is to get to the villain named Hannya, who is terrorizing the city and kidnapping the protagonist’s sister. Akito doesn’t have to do it all alone – he is supported by both story characters and youkaithat give buffs or sell valuable goods.

At the presentation, we were shown the beginning of the game when Akito finds that the city is almost completely empty. KK becomes something like an inner voice: he gives advice, sometimes comments on what is happening and also admits that he himself hunted Hannya for a long time – but he died. After a few minutes, the hero encounters the first opponents – mannequins in elegant jackets, who slowly approach the character to meet him in hand-to-hand combat.

No one will survive the core extraction process

No one will survive the core extraction process

Here we will get acquainted with the combat system that is based on it Kujikiri, gestures from Japanese martial arts. The hero does not hit anyone with his fists, but performs magic with his fingers: either unleashing projectiles or repelling enemies. When the enemy’s health is almost depleted, their weak point opens, and then the player must invoke spiritual threads and rip the core out of their torso. Shinichiro Hara, the animation director of Doom (2016), worked on these finishing moves. But if there the clearance took place only in close contact with the enemy, here they can be carried out remotely. In addition, in situations where multiple enemies are being weakened at once, threads can be applied to all of them at once. Well, if the evil spirits haven’t noticed you, you can sneak up on it from behind and destroy it with the push of a button.

You have to fight with opponents not only for money and experience, but also for access toria – Clearing this gate spreads a deadly mist around the area. After performing this ritual, the hero was able to move freely in a small area and encountered enemies who imprisoned good spirits in a box. After defeating the villains, the protagonist took out a katashiro (paper doll) and was able to absorb the rescued spirits, and then took the doll to a phone booth. Judging by the dialogue with the CC, the people who became ghosts in this way “returned to normal”, but whether they give rewards and bonuses for this is not specified.

Instead of advertising, they show appearances by terrorists

Instead of advertising, they show appearances by terrorists

In the best traditions of Japanese games

At this point you might be wondering: what is the general structure of the game? It’s hard to say, but it seems to be an open world in the spirit of Yakuza, only with a first-person perspective. There are many streets connected by junctions and angles, shops selling everything from pickles to traditional Japanese dishes. Food restores and increases health, and it is also useful for feeding livestock – among the goods there is dog food, for example.

You can enter some buildings both for the plot and to complete side quests. Related to this is another interesting mechanism: due to the disappearance of people, the doors of houses are sealed, and the seals can only be removed with gestures. The player is shown a symbol that must be repeated by hand – it’s hard not to make an analogy with Okami (well, or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). True, the developers did not specify how this is done – the computer will probably need a mouse, and on the console – either a stick, or a touchpad, or, in general, a gyroscope. Perhaps the game offers several ways to interact with seals. Unfortunately, entering (and exiting) a building is accompanied by a black screen, but it takes about a second to load.

Creepy but interesting

Creepy but interesting

Ghostwire: Tokyo can hardly be described as a horror, but the game is very atmospheric, especially when a building is blocked and it becomes impossible to go out onto the street due to the ever-present barriers. Akito begins to run through different floors, destroying the stones that have appeared, and enters the rooms that, due to a strange infection, are completely transformed: in some everything is turned upside down, in others the walls disappear, in others black substance moves across the floor. Magic alone is not enough in such moments, and a bow comes to the rescue, which the hero discovers in the first twenty minutes of the game.

everything as described above occurs only in the first twenty minutes. Ghostwire: Tokyo is constantly juggling gameplay “chips”: fighting, walking, exploring someone’s abandoned apartment, shooting at objects hanging in the air to earn money. Then you’ll be taught to scan the area and you can follow the silhouettes leading to a destination – for example the dirt blocking the alley you need to find a weak point. And in a minute you will meet tengu and it turns out that with its help you can immediately jump onto the roof of a tall building – and there are enough enemies, and there are gates, and there are collectibles. The pace is unusually high for open-world games!

The icons on the minimap weren't discussed, but at least shops and torii are shown there

The icons on the minimap weren’t discussed, but at least shops and torii are shown there

At the very end of the presentation, the character ended up in a sanctuary where he found fire projectiles, but they didn’t show us in action. Too bad – for the combat system so far the most questions. Whatever opponents the player faced, it all came down to using the same technique with the same finishing move. I’m sure it’s just because the hero doesn’t know that much at first, but it would be great to see fights from the mid or late game.


Ghostwire: Tokyo looks odd and is like a hefty mix of the crowd of Japanese games: the world resembles Kamurocho from Yakuza, youkai somewhat resemble the demons from Shin Megami Tensei, the mechanics are reminiscent of Okami, and the hand from The Evil Within Authors is patchy clearly visible in the design. It definitely hasn’t happened yet. But explaining what exactly attracts the game isn’t that easy – at least after the first half hour. It’s an open world action-adventure, but how open is it? What abilities will the character have? How much emphasis is placed on the storyline and is the side entertainment exciting? We will find out the answers on March 25th.



About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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