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Ghostwire: Tokyo shows off a megalopolis under ghostly siege

Tango Gameworks, makers of The Evil Within games, is expanding its scope significantly with Ghostwire: Tokyo. Shacknews takes a closer look at this highly anticipated horror title.

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It's been a big week for the team at Bethesda and Tango Gameworks. On Thursday, the team showed off an extensive look at the upcoming Ghostwire: Tokyo. Coming off of The Evil Within and its sequel, it's no surprise to see Tango back at work on another horror-filled extravaganza. However, this game looks to aim higher by exploring a supernatural disaster in Tokyo.

Ghostwire: Tokyo takes place in a future version of the Japanese capital city. An inexplicable cataclysmic event has struck, resulting in the entire population disappearing and all outside communication being cut off. The only person who remains is a young man named Akito, who meets a mysterious ghost hunter known only as KK. KK has become a spirit and has fused himself to the corporeal Akito. Together, they explore Tokyo in an effort to uncover exactly what has happened and bring everybody back, including Akito's lost family. They soon discover that the one behind these events is a sinister force named Hannya.

Akito picks up several abilities from his fusion with KK, all stemming from the power of Ethereal Weaving. Tokyo has been invaded by supernatural visitors and the only way to combat them is through these Ethereal Weaving abilities, which range from mystical incantations, elemental blasts, and a powerful tether. As one might imagine in a game like this, these abilities can be upgraded over the course of the game through a skills menu.

Prior to Thursday's presentation, Shacknews was treated to a hands-off look at some of the early portion of the Ghostwire: Tokyo's story. Akito is just meeting KK and is instructed to head to Yugenzaka. KK tells Akito to stay out of the fog, but they soon find visitors coming through a nearby Torii Gate. Akito must ward off the visitors by using his Ethereal Weaving abilities, weakening them to the point that he can shatter their core with his tether. Once the visitors are disposed of, it's time to cleanse the Torii Gate, which clears the surrounding area of any fog.

There's still heavy visitor activity on the way to Yugenzaka, though. Akito soon catches a pair of visitors donning suits and an umbrella attempting to complete a ritual and abduct some of Tokyo's remaining spirits. Here, players must defeat the spirits before they can complete their ritual. Fortunately, Akito can act fast and can even take out multiple cores simultaneously. Once the visitors are beaten, Akito takes out a Katashiro item that he found earlier and uses it to absorb the wayward spirits. After absorbing a spirit, the next step is to find a phone booth (to which Akito asks, "Those still exist?") and connect the Katashiro, which will send the spirits to safety. Overall, saving every spirit will not be a short process. After transferring the ones he collected into the phone booth, a notification appeared showing that Akito had transferred a total of 298 spirits... out of 240,050. Hey, Tokyo's a big city, you know.

The visitors are formidable foes, but they're not the only ones roaming around Tokyo who don't belong there. Over the course of the game, Akito will discover various yokai, who are mischievously hanging around. Akito can capture the yokai in order to absorb their power. Some of them will also act as shopkeepers, willing to lend Akito a hand in his journey.

One of the major selling points for Ghostwire: Tokyo is its mind-blowing visuals and terrifying landscapes, making players feel like they're at the center of a surrealist world. At various points through the story, Akito will find himself transported from Tokyo into one of these mysterious realms, at which point he'll need to find an exit back to the real world. One such incident comes shortly after visiting KK's apartment for the first time when Akito is surrounded by a fog barrier. Players are prompted to destroy the barrier's sources and only given a limited amount of time to do so. The farther in Akito gets, the trippier the visuals become. On top of that, gravity is also affected, making the search for an escape even tougher.

Traversal is also a central focus in Ghostwire: Tokyo. After escaping the barrier in KK's apartment, Akito showed off his traversal abilities, using his grappling ability to launch himself skyward by latching onto nearby yokai. Rooftops will also house Torii Gates, so prepare to take to the skies as part of the game's central quest. Those who need a break from the main story can also take part in various side missions. One such mission saw the spirit of an old woman seeking out her missing child, to whom Akito and KK offered assistance.

The quest to cleanse Tokyo looks to be a long one, but also shows the potential to be an exciting one. In the short time I watched Akito and KK, I greatly enjoyed their almost "buddy cop" dynamic. The traversal element looks to greatly set this apart from Tango's previous efforts with The Evil Within, as does the much larger playground of Tokyo. It won't be long before players will get to go on this intense ghost hunt. Ghostwire: Tokyo is set to release on PC and PlayStation 5 on March 25.


This preview is based on an outside playthrough of the game's beta exhibited to the press.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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