A majority of players got an extended look at Tango Gameworks? first person action title Ghostwire: Tokyo yesterday, but several weeks ago members of the press were invited to a hand off preview of the title which featured details not found in yesterday?s showcase.
The event started with a waiting room featuring songs from the game?s soundtrack, then a quick intro from a Bethesda PR rep regarding housekeeping, we then saw a message from the game?s director Kenji Kimura where be gave a brief setup of the title and described the possible antagonist of the title, Hannya. This mysterious masked man not only is responsible for the fog enveloping Tokyo but he is also holding the protagonist?s sister Mari hostage. The action will not be isolated to the barren streets of Tokyo, but the main character Akito will find himself in various surreal environments.
The gameplay begins with Akito lamenting that all the residents of Tokyo have vanished, and that?s when the disembodied voice of KK, the spirit hunter who Akito is currently bonded to, chimes in that they have to act quickly to return things to normal. Directing Akito to go to Yugenzaka. Some of the game?s ground rules are revealed, the most pertinent being to not touch the fog. This fog will act as a murky wall to keep the player from going where they do not need to be. As they make their way through the empty streets, they spot several specters idling near a shrine with a Torii gate, this is where players learn that cleansing Torii gates throughout the city will push the fog away and reveal the map as well as points of interest. The combat show consists of wind attacks as well as a finisher where the cores of the enemies are violently ripped from them, thus removing them from the physical realm.
Once cleansed the player finds a paper doll known as katashiro. This paper doll will be instrumental in the game?s other core feature?freeing spirits. During the fog which separated the denizens of Tokyo from their bodies, some spirits were not captured, so they were left wandering. Some spirits will run into specters and will be imperiled as the specters will focus on capturing the wayward spirits..for what reason? It has yet to be revealed. Your task is to prevent the capture of the spirits, absorb them into the katashiro and release the spirits outside of the affected area using?and I kid you not a special spirit transfer machine inside a phone booth.
After you?re done at the phone booth, your trek to Yugenzaka continues but not before a stop at a local convenience store! While the original human workers are gone, the store is now run by a cat spirit who is more than eager to sell you wares which will prove useful on your quest. Once stocked up you make it to your destination, a nondescript apartment building. Rather than using such mundane methods as a key to gain entry, you?re forced to draw a seal or if you?re not interested in fumbling to recreate the shape on the screen you could just let KK do the work. Once inside there is a bit of an exposition dump, Akito gains a bow and the action picks up. It seems someone saw you enter and has put the building inside a barrier. A barrier that if not dispelled will crush the building and anything inside. Frantically you need to find and destroy three barrier stones which are within the barrier (you?d think you would want to leave the means of destroying the barrier outside of the barrier?but hey video games right?). Once you?ve dismantled the barrier you catch a glimpse of who might?ve set the barrier up and you give chase! Unfortunately the mysterious assailant eludes you and KK mentions that there is a shrine nearby which might have something useful.
Needing to get a bearing on where Shiroyama Shrine is, Akito sees a Tengu flying above the city. Using his Ethereal weave, he is able to latch onto and repel himself onto the rooftops to get a better lay of the land. Once the path is charted the trip to the shrine is only interrupted by a spirit seeking help. The spirit is looking for something called Zashiki-warashi. You enter the building that the spirit directed you to and find a malevolent spirit holding Zashiki-warashi. Exorcizing the greedy spirit, you reunite the Zashiki-warashi with the elderly spirit that tasked you with this side mission and dissipate, but not before leaving you a little something for your troubles. Once at Shiroyama Shrine you go through the same gameplay loop of defeating any antagonistic spirits and cleansing the torii gate. Inside the shrine, Akito finds an orb which imbues him with the ability to use fire spells. Once outside Akito and KK commiserate on what their next steps are and both agree they need to take higher ground to survey the area so Kagerie Observation deck is their next destination and the preview ends there.
Having seen very little of the title I was somewhat surprised how very Far Cry the title is. Unlike the Far Cry games the environment is purely urban and looks extremely like the real streets of Tokyo. The combat is mostly projectile based and I?ve yet to discern the difference between the elemental attacks. I do however enjoy the defensive capabilities of Akito, where a well timed block can deflect enemy attacks, it might mean I won?t need to do too much running backwards during gameplay.
Between this and the showcase my interest in the title has definitely increased tenfold, rather than knowing it purely as the game Ikumi Nakamura used to work on. Ghostwire: Tokyo is set for a March 25th, 2022 release date and will release on PC and PS5.