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Ghostwire: Tokyo review for PS5, PC


Platform: PS5
Also on: PC
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

Ghostwire: Tokyo is the first game that’s made me glad I have a PS5.

Admittedly, that’s a bit of a backhanded compliment coming from me. Even though I was lucky enough to get a PS5 on day one, if I’m being honest I’ve barely touched it since then. Apart from brief spurts here and there for Hitman 3 and Ghost of Tsushima, it’s mainly become my go-to Ratalaika Platinum machine – which is really not what I had in mind when I first got it. While I’ve sunk more hours into Ghostwire: Tokyo than any other game on PS5, part of that is because barely any games on the system have interested me.

The other reason I’ve put so many hours into Ghostwire: Tokyo, though, is much more positive: it’s because it’s amazing.

A big part of what makes it so great is because – as I wrote in my first impressions of the game – the world feels so alive, even though the city is devoid of people. Everywhere you turn, there are signs of life, whether it’s piles of clothes, or awkwardly parked cars, or random, everyday objects littered everywhere – this Tokyo may be a literal ghost town, but it always feels like you just missed seeing everybody.

And, of course, there are the more obvious signs of life: all the pets, and all the souls.

The pets, of course, are more a fun little thing that give Ghostwire: Tokyo personality. Whether I was bribing dogs by giving them treats, or listening to cats dismissively talk about how much they miss humans, or even shopping at stores run by cat-like demons called yōkai, there wasn’t a point in the game where I wouldn’t drop what I was doing to pet an animal. They rarely served much of a narrative purpose, but they were always cute enough that they made the detour worthwhile.

As for the spirits – they’re what really give Ghostwire: Tokyo narrative weight, and make the world really feel lived-in. The game keeps a running tally of all the souls you’ve saved and gives you a total number to find, and they’re often the reward for the many side-quests that you stumble across all over Tokyo. Further, the side-quests all feature some story from the person’s life, ranging from the serious (i.e. a woman can’t let go until she finds out why her boyfriend disappeared) to the mundane (for example, a gardener whose trees were infected by the blood spilled by angry demons), to the still (my favourite: a person who died waiting to get into a public toilet). Add all this together and you have a reason for exploring the city and hunting down clues, rather than single-mindedly focusing on the main quest.

Which isn’t to say the main quest isn’t stellar, because it is. Your character is essentially two people, and both of them are trying to right wrongs of the past, and they’re on the trail of a creepy cult leader. It’s pretty compelling stuff – it just happens to be surrounded by lots and lots of other compelling stuff, and there was so much in Ghostwire: Tokyo that I wanted to do, I often found myself distracted from pursuing the main story.

The gameplay is also pretty praiseworthy. You have a nice range of attacks that are built around fire, water, and wind, and you can unlock their upgrades quickly enough that you never feel overpowered by all the demons that lurk around every corner (more on those in a moment). You can also take advantage of the fact you’re a ghost who can basically fly from rooftop to rooftop, with flight that feels so fast that you feel like you’re soaring. Even the stealth sections of the game were fun, and I’m someone who hates stealth.

I should also note that I’m usually someone who hates horror, but I still loved the monsters that inhabit Ghostwire: Tokyo. All of them – from the headless schoolchildren, to the creepy businessmen with umbrellas, to the giant women with huge scissors, to all the other demons you come across – are memorably terrifying, and they were all extremely fun to battle.

Really, everything about Ghostwire: Tokyo is amazing, and it makes me glad I own a PS5. There aren’t many games just justify going out and buying a system for, but you could make a pretty convincing argument that this is one of them.

Bethesda Softworks provided us with a Ghostwire: Tokyo PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: A+

Ghostwire: Tokyo Standard Edition – PlayStation 5 (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Bethesda
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