HAVE A VIDEO YOU WANT TO FEATURE ON OUR PAGE?

Submit Video

To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now
OK
Advert

‘Ghostwire: Tokyo’ Preview: Hypnotic Horror Through Spooky And Sparkly Streets

Published 
| Last updated 

‘Ghostwire: Tokyo’ Preview: Hypnotic Horror Through Spooky And Sparkly Streets

Melding traditional ghost stories with glitch horror tropes and visually exciting gameplay, seeing Ghostwire: Tokyo in action has left me wanting to immerse myself in these eerie streets. Plus, there's a little cat yokai that decides to become a shopkeeper and sell you treats to give to the abandoned dogs trotting after the spirits of their owners. I mean, come on. If that doesn't convince you to read more, I'm not sure what will.

Advert

Check out the gameplay trailer below!

Loading…

Our hero is Akito, a young man searching for his sister who has disappeared in the chaos that the occultists have wrought on the city. Akito hasn’t been transformed like everyone else into shades of their former selves and that’s bound to be something to do with the spirit that has fused with him. KK is an experienced ghost hunter who has since become a ghost himself and the ephemeral bond between Akito and KK is shown with the black smoke flowing from the right side of his body. He looks kickass, in short. So it’s somewhat of a shame that we only see Akito in cutscenes as he explores what is left of Tokyo.

Advert

Fortunately, we do savour the intriguing artistic style of the game in its explosive combat encounters, horrifying visitors, and eerie environments. In the preview, we saw the streets of Yugenzaka populated with odd demons like the nukenubi and nopperabō. The former are headless school girls who throw spiteful attacks towards Akito, and, unsettlingly stiff and erratic, the latter look like smart businessmen who are waiting for a taxi under their umbrella. It’s only when they turn and set their sights on the player that you see their smooth featureless faces.

Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda
Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda

Enemies emerge from the torii gates that have been taken over by Hannya and his cronies. Fog spills from them like water and the sparks and kaleidoscopic colours of the ethereal weaving cuts through the creepiness like a dagger. A very cool and stylish dagger. The ethereal weaving is inspired by the Kuji-kiri hand gestures of traditional schools of martial arts in Japan and this choice to opt for this shimmering mesmeric gameplay for combat over gadgets and gizmos or perhaps an enchanted sword is especially satisfying. I’m sure that Tango Gameworks has added extras into the DualSense so players feel every strike they land on the yokai and every attack has a different sensation using the haptics.

Advert
Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda
Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda

There was something like a golden lasso that Akito could produce from his fingertips that wrenched enemies from side to side that seemed to be a staple to disorient and damage in a one-two effect. While the spectacle is brilliant, I’d imagine that these battles require a level of concentration and wariness to prevent demons from overwhelming the solo hero. Plus, skill points can be put into certain abilities as is the norm for a lot of games that borrow RPG influences — unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to note down anything specific in that area. Successful attacks will wear down the demon until their core is exposed so Akito may destroy it totally. Then it’s time to cleanse the torii gate which allows the player to access a shrine which will then bestow an item or a gameplay bonus. Here, Akito got a katashiro — a paper doll that looks a little like an angel which is used to perform self-purification. KK explains that this will let Akito collect the lost souls suspended in this facsimile of Tokyo and return them to their own plane. You use phone boxes to transport them home, by the way.

Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda
Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda
Advert

I think that’s the part that has stuck with me the most out of this preview. It’s visually resplendent first and foremost and horror that isn’t afraid to sparkle is the sort of stuff we need more of in this genre. Apart from the absence of people, their clothes crumpled on the wet concrete, the city is ever so slightly off. Things you might miss if you’re trampling from torii gate to torii gate, like the scooters driving up the walls and the vending machines suspended like someone’s shaking them. The soundtrack itself is earwormy and eerie and walking the streets, you’ll tune into ambient sounds of people chatting, electronic beats, and adverts on the TV.

Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda
Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda

And, with the addition of a spirit bow that used to belong to KK and stealth strategies like “quick purges” if you can creep up on visitors should hopefully mean that Ghostwire: Tokyo isn’t only leaning on its looks. That mission to collect the bow was awesome to watch as the underworld influences tried to trap the two in the apartment and Akito scrambled from floor to floor and through ever changing corridors. Blood red ink ominously blotted across walls from paintings as the player approaches, dizzying halls a la Paprika, glitches and corruptions like The Matrix, an oily, dark corridor that reminded me of that doomed indie darling of Kojima’s, and even a moment where the demons disappeared all of the walls, creating the illusion of a deadly tightrope above Tokyo. Quite the show, but I haven’t been able to find out whether or not there are colourblindness or photosensitive modes for the game at the moment. 

Advert
Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda
Ghostwire: Tokyo / Credit: Bethesda

It’s got charm, too, because not all yokai are nasty. Akito finds a nekomata — a curious and cheeky cat-like demon — who has decided to staff the convenience shop on the corner, selling snacks, katashiro, and dog treats. There’s also the tengu that lets the player reach high spots in the city. All of this is totally alien to Akito whereas KK is a dab hand at approaching friendly and unfriendly spirits of all sorts. With one character out of their depth and one character out of time, I’m sure there will be some zingers between the two as they learn more about each other and how to foil Hannya’s plans. 

There are loading screens between the outdoors and the indoors of Tokyo, so if you’re planning to play this on a zippy PC, you’ll probably not notice these as much as someone on a PlayStation 5. That being said, you won’t benefit from the sensory features of the DualSense. It’s Tango Gameworks’ job to ensure that both versions run smoothly so that both camps can make the most of what might be a strong contender for the horror game of the year. 

Featured Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks

Topics: Preview, Bethesda

Imogen Donovan
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Xbox Game Pass

GeoBook 140X Review: A Sleek Laptop for Game Pass Players

18 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read