Yesterday, folks got a chance to see Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire Tokyo in action. Last month, we got to see some footage too, and it was a little different from the footage we all saw during the PlayStation State of Play. The public showcase was largely about combat, but we saw a lot more in terms of exploration, some story segments and a little bit of the game’s lowkey sense of humor.
The combat seems pretty interesting, especially in the animation department. You can read the specifics in Jesse’s writeup of the presentation, and that’s largely what we saw during the media preview. We saw a lot more, of course. The combat looks surprisingly slow, but in a way that isn’t boring. The slower speed allows the animations to really take center stage, as well as add what looks like an element of more thoughtful movement and options.
What really stood out to me was the game’s sense of humor. I expected a full-on horror game, and that’s not entirely what was on display. Sure, spooky yokai are everywhere, but that’s not all. You’ll also encounter less violent ghosties, including spiritual cats that… run convenience stores? When Akito walks into a shop and the goofy music kicks on, it almost feels like a Yakuza game… you know, if Kiryu was the only human left in the city. Things like that should help break the pace up, and hopefully make the more intense moments more impactful.
Impact, really, is my primary concern at this early point. Ghostwire Tokyo is full of striking imagery, elaborate animations and just an overall style of its own. But the structure seems to lean fairly heavily on convention. As you wander around the abandoned streets of Tokyo, Ghostwire starts to look pretty familiar. There’s a map with waypoints, sidequests, and landmarks you have to take over.
Once the presentation showed off a more targeted story sequence, things got interesting again. Akito had to go inside an overtaken apartment building, and the infesting Yokai seemed to have free reign over the environment. The walls changed, reality warped, and the overall vibe was similar to the one part of Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry reboot that worked. Hopefully there’s more of that, and less wandering the streets chasing map markers.
Ultimately what the media saw was a big chunk of gameplay, without a lot of commentary. In contrast, a lot of the developer chats during the State of Play do a lot to help add context to what we’ve seen of Ghostwire Tokyo. I’m looking forward to seeing more, but I’m really hoping my “style over substance” fears are more of a first impression fear than the reality of what the game actually is.
We’ll all find out together when Ghostwire Tokyo launches next month on March 25, 2022.