Everything We Learned About Ghostwire: Tokyo From Our Hands-On Preview

ghostwire tokyo preview

We’re just a short ten days away from the release of Ghostwire: Tokyo, and while many still have questions surrounding this mysterious new title from the Evil Within developer, Tango Games, we here at MP1st have been given an opportunity to go hands-on with the final release build! Although we aren’t quite ready to tell you our final thoughts (that’ll come in the review), what we are ready to share with you is our experience from the opening act. Same with our other previews, we’re here to relay everything we know about Ghostwire Tokyo all in an easy to digest forma providing you with a ton of factual details. and sprinkled with our own opinion based on what we played.

(Editor’s Note – This impression piece and all the details contained in it are solely based on the very first two chapters available in Ghostwire: Tokyo. A full review will be available shortly before launch).

Story/Side Missions:

To avoid spoilers, we will only discuss very light story details, most of which is already publicly known, as well as the general flow of the first two chapters and how side missions come into play.

  • The main protagonist’s name is Akito, who finds himself as the lone survivor of a catastrophic event that wiped out the whole population of Tokyo, as well as covering it in a mysterious, deadly blanket of fog.
  • Upon waking from this event, Akito discovers that he is not the only inhabitant inside his own body as a spirit detective known as KK has latched himself to Akito since he is the last living human in Tokyo. 
  • Akito and KK fight one another over control, but eventually a mutual partnership is formed once each of them realize that their goals align with one another. 
  • Akito wants to be sure that his sister Mari is okay, while KK wants to find the truth behind this event, and to stop whatever is coming next.  
  • It is soon shortly revealed that a man by the name of Hannya is behind this event, claiming that he will be the salvation of everyone. His motives aren’t entirely clear at this point, though KK knows for certain that it will not end well if he succeeds in his plans. 
  • The first chapter of Ghostwire Tokyo essentially covers all that. It’s not a very long chapter, and rather linear in its presentation due to it essentially being the “tutorial” section of the game.
  • Chapter 2 continues exploring the main story, however it is also significantly more open. Once the player completes the introduction, they will be able to freely explore some of the sections available early on. 
  • Tori Gates serve as gateways to cleanse the fog. You can’t proceed to certain sections of the map without clearing the fog first. 
  • Tori Gates also function as fast travel points, as do Nekomata (Yokai cats) stalls.
  • Side missions become available at this time, and are without a question the highlight of Ghostwire Tokyo. While most are presented in the same loop of gameplay, their stories are rather unique. Sometimes you’ll deal with exorcizing a landlord who has hoarded up and made a claim to every single piece of item in an apartment complex, other times you’ll find yourself searching for an object of significance, or helping a spirit deal with their own loss. 
  • The general theme of the story, and side missions are centered around death, regret, and acceptance. It’s up to you, the player, to help these spirits traverse to the next stage.
  • Some spirits you help are good, while others are evil, cloaking their intents with seemingly harmless requests. 
  • There are spirits littered all over the map that you can collect. Before you collect them, you can listen in on them to hear unique pieces of dialogue. 

Gameplay:

  • Ghostwire Tokyo’s combat, as shown before, is from a first-person perspective.
  • The main gameplay revolves around Ethereal Weaving, which is a form of spiritual powers that allow Akito to employ a number of different elemental powers.
  • Tango Games wastes no time in ensuring that players will be able to learn all the elemental powers as they are unlocked during the first two chapters. 
  • These powers are wind, water, and fire.
  • These powers aren’t unlimited, as they run off an ammo count. Ammo can easily be replenished by destroying certain objects in the environment. Additionally, absorbing an enemy core (essentially a takedown) allows you to replenish ammo.
  • There are shrines scattered across the map that players can find. These shrines reward you with a permanent increase to the ammo count of a specific Ethereal power.
  • Each Ethereal power has their own unique charge attacks that cause more damage, and hit more enemies.
  • There are additional tools at the player’s disposal. These include the use of a bow, which you get early on, as well as talismans that vary from electrical stun traps, to explosives, and so much more. 
  • Completing main and side missions, engaging in combat, collecting spirits and transferring their souls via phone booth will reward you with XP, which will eventually level you up and earn you skill points.
  • Skill points can be put into improving Ethereal powers, talismans, weapons, and a few other abilities.
  • Chapter 2 is where the players can start using outfits, and customizing their character with unique pieces of clothing. You can see this in-game during cutscenes, or during photomode.
  • If you pre-ordered, you can start using the Shinobi Outfit. When wearing this outfit, the bow and arrow get replaced with a Kunai weapon. They function similarly, but feel different.
  • You can equip beads which are earned through side missions, and other side activities. These beads have a number of different effects. Some improve attack power, others will improve the range of the Spectral vision.
  • The Spectral vision allows you to highlight objects in the environment, and even enemies. This makes finding secrets in the environment easier, especially in places of density.
  • For enemies, this makes stealth a whole lot easier as it will allow you to track and better predict where an enemy might be. You can sneak behind them and perform a stealth takedown, though not all enemies can be taken down in one hit, so it’s important you pay attention to which kind of enemy you sneak up on.
  • Traveling is mostly done on foot, though for areas of high points you can grapple to spirit Tengus. These are marked on the map so you always know where they are once you come across them.
  • You can easily get to places from the rooftops of buildings, with plenty of collectible spirits hiding in these high spots. 
  • If you want to get down fast, you can simply jump down as there is no fall damage. Alternatively, you can glide, which is one of the skills that can be upgraded for extended use.
  • There are cats and dogs that you can pet. If you are carrying dog food and give it to a dog they will sniff out treasure nearby or give you hints about a key item being close by. 

Technical, Graphical, Sound, and Additional Features:

  • Prior to release, Ghostwire: Tokyo features six different graphical modes. More details one those modes can be found here:
  • Ray-tracing reflection is in full folds here as the streets are filled with reflections, as are building windows, and other objects. It looks spectacular.
  • Performance wise, the two base modes, performance, and quality feel solid. Quality runs at 30fps, whereas performance feels locked at a buttery smooth 60fps.
  • There are loading screens between entering and exiting a building, though they only last a few seconds.
  • Tango Games makes use of the PS5’s Tempest Audio engine. Playing Ghostwire: Tokyo is an absolute must with 3D headsets such as the PlayStation Pulse 3D wireless. 

General Impression (Early Opinions):

You know, going into this, I didn’t exactly know what to expect from Ghostwire: Tokyo. This seems to be the general consensus among many who have seen the countless trailers, and snippets of gameplay out there, which honestly isn’t much of a surprise considering how secretive Tango Gameworks has been on the title. Well, those curtains have finally started rolling back, and after spending a good few hours with the game’s first two chapters, I finally have a perspective as to what kind of game Ghostwire: Tokyo is.

For starters, for those going into this and expecting the same level of fear-inducing factor that Tango gave with their other IP, the Evil Within, I’d temper those expectations — a lot. Ghostwire: Tokyo is by no means meant to be scary, as evident from its reimagining of Tokyo Japan. No, instead what players should be expecting is something closer to say Alan Wake, Quantum Break, heck, even a series like Shenmue, and Yakuza. Games capable of embalming the players in a shroud of mystery — the kind that you really want to unravel. 

That kind of grab is certainly one that Tango Gameworks has achieved with Ghostwire: Tokyo, as I found myself hooked to the mystery of the campaign. However, what piqued my interest even more wasn’t so much the main quest, but the side missions. That, and how the studio has been able to make them interesting, in not just their stories, but presentation. 

For example, one mission I discovered early on saw us confronting a specter that took over a home. Entering, we saw whatever was inhabiting the place had amassed large clusters of junk. It was a den of a hoarder, and the local residents took notice of this. To help exaggerate this even more, the area seemed to have transformed as you shuffled through the mess. 

What was essentially just an apartment room, turned into a maze filled with disorganization to further push the behavior of the hoarder spirit. We eventually located this spirit, who, unlike the other spirits that were a calming blue color, this one was a rage filled spirit with corruptions of red and black seeping out of them. It ended up transporting us to another world that also manifested in this specter’s ill behavior as random trash filled the field. A battle against other spirits ensued, which eventually led to us performing an exorcism, resulting in the neighboring spirits finally feeling at peace and free. 

It was definitely a journey to play through, and a lot of early missions seem to have capitalized on moments like those. I’ve encountered plenty of other surprises during my playthrough that I’m sure that many will enjoy to experience.

Of course, that all wouldn’t really work out if the gameplay itself wasn’t any fun, and thankfully, that does seem to be the case. Known as Ethereal Weaving, players will see themselves in possession of a variety of supernatural abilities. I’ve mentioned above that these core powers stem from wind, fire, and water elements, and as the name suggests, the character performs these attacks by weaving with their hands. It’s stylish to witness as strings of energy are formed out of thin air, tangling enemies and obliterating them into a beautiful disintegration of particles. 

It’s great to watch, and the sheer joy of hitting an enemy with a blast of energy feels great. Furthermore, additional weaponry such as a talisman throw in some variety in the gameplay as they allowed us to place down stun traps, decoys, and more. These were limited in use, and unlike weaving powers these were more of the one-time use kind of items that require replenishing via shops. Either way, they were a blast to use, and mixing them with the different weaving powers made the combat even more fun.

Now I will point out, as an initial concern from all the gameplay shown off and our last preview, I was worried that enemies would simply run into the character’s attacks. This does seem to be the case in some situations, though more so with the low grunts. Higher ranking enemies will go out their way to try and dodge attacks, and even flank you as an overwhelming amount of enemies begin to surround you. I’ve died quite a few times in the opening chapters because I poorly underestimated them. There are definitely some surprises in how a Yokai reacts to the player themselves that hopefully gets deeper in the later portion of the game.

Closing Thoughts

There is a lot more to talk about, but I’ll save the rest for my final review. I will say that Tango Gameworks brings a lot of new stuff to the table with Ghostwire: Tokyo, though it remains to be seen just how well those mechanics work out in the later portions of the game. I’ve been impressed by the gameplay and how densely crafted the world of Ghostwire: Tokyo appears to be in it’s lore, and truly love the new direction of “horror” that the studio is taking. It may not seek to produce shock value with gore and violence like The Evil Within did, but it is an interesting, and might I say fresh idea that may prove to have quite a payoff in the end. Here’s hoping the rest of my playthrough is as positive as the early portions of the game.

Previous Post

Next Post

Top Games and Upcoming Releases