We tried “Ghostwire Tokyo”, the ghostbusters video game in the Japanese capital

It all begins at the famous Shibuya crossing, mysteriously empty of onlookers.

Le Karakasa-Kozo is a supernatural being from Japanese folklore whose appearance is unforgettable. This spirit, which belongs to the family of Yokai, looks like an umbrella with a big eye, a lolling tongue, and a single leg with which it jumps forward. This creature, which we find in tokyo Ghost, it’s like this ghost hunting game, available from March 22 on Playstation 5 and PC: more fun than scary, it has a memorable quirk but mostly it fails.

As its title suggests, Ghostwire Tokyo takes place in the Japanese capital. It could even legitimately be called “Ghostwire Shibuya”, because much of the adventure takes place in this trendy district: its busy crossroads, one of the iconic places of modern Japan, serves as a starting point for the adventure. During the opening cinematic, the area is engulfed in a mysterious mist on contact with which the inhabitants vanish, leaving only their clothing on the ground. Akiko owes her salvation to the spirit of a man nicknamed KK, who takes over her body. This parasite eventually becomes a powerful companion, endowing the young man with supernatural powers.

a unique atmosphere

Once at the controls of Akiko, we share his vision in the first person and we hear the voice of KK that throws us on the heels of the one who orchestrated the disaster. Our first joys are walking through a Tokyo that is nothing like a postcard: the explored neighborhood is labyrinthine and strewn with garbage cans, blood stains or abandoned clothes, and the few buildings that we can visit are just as inhospitable, illuminated by the dim light of neon lights.

Stationary cars, suitcases on the ground, abandoned strollers... Walking through this terrifying Tokyo turns out to be a unique experience.

The overcrowded city feels even more oppressive now that it’s deserted. From store shelves to construction site signage, attention to the smallest details reinforces immersion in contemporary, haunted, and fiendishly photogenic Tokyo. We delight in discovering a seedy “love hotel” hidden between two buildings, praying in front of a statue of a Jizo, a buddha that accompanies the dead, to increase our abilities, or picking up a unique item in a narrow alley.

Skillful storytelling is also evident in various side quests, some of which are based on tales and legends from the land. Others are closer to the story and speak of the gray areas of contemporary Japan, such as a mission carried out by an old woman tormented by a greedy owner.

A secondary mission offers us a raid on the house of a man who lives in the middle of his waste.

repetitive fights

However, such Yokai single-legged umbrella, Tango Gameworks’ game is in perpetual imbalance. The exploration suffers from an interface that shows us the direction as if we had connected a GPS. The game is also so afraid of missing out that blue clouds representing souls to appease are scattered everywhere to ensure that any possible diversion is rewarded.

Experience suffers more generally from its combat system. The magical powers of the hero, which require a good gesture on the part of the character, are generally fun. But the range of skills is quickly limited. As for the confrontations, they soon cease to be surprising: the monsters are first identified by activating the character’s sixth sense, which highlights them from a distance, then their artificial intelligence is as weak as his life bar.

This message about which button to press to purify a portal or collect souls appears hundreds of times on the screen.  The interface is sometimes very intrusive.

Add to that ammunition that rarely misses and consumables that allow you to recover your life scattered throughout, and the routine is quickly established throughout the hours of play. The monsters that have invaded the city make us less and less afraid, because they almost never kill us.

In the end, many times we have wondered why the studio founded by the creator of demonic resident, Shinji Mikami, treats us so gently this time. Atypical finds and a keen sense of morbidity are penalized by ubiquitous attendance and the use of hackneyed action game formulas. That leaves the funny impression that Ghostwire Tokyo just jump.

The player has magical attacks related to wind, fire, and water.  He also has a bow and talismans in his bag.

Pixel Review:

We liked it:

  • the nocturnal, rainy and foggy atmosphere of a Tokyo whose inhabitants have evaporated;
  • strange and surprising paranormal stories;
  • the Japanese studio cleverly inspired by Japanese folklore and Tokyo urban legends.

We liked less:

  • the abundant ammunition, the food to restore life placed everywhere and the very predictable enemies;
  • the actions that are usually repeated throughout the adventure;
  • the screen is saturated with indications that constantly tell us what to do and where to go.

It’s more for you if:

  • you dream of visiting (or seeing) Tokyo again;
  • you are unbeatable in Japanese culture;
  • You are tired ofelden ring and you are looking for a game without complications.

Not for you if:

  • you are a fan of dynamic shooting games;
  • you seek the spiritual successor of demonic resident ;
  • he has not found, like almost everyone, a PS5 and he does not have a PC.

pixel note:

13,000 steps in the night / 20,000 spirits captured thanks to our Katashiro.

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