Ghostwire Tokyo: Hands-Off Preview
After being announced a while ago, not much has been seen of Ghostwire Tokyo. Everything had been shrouded in mystery. Was it going to be a full horror title like the studio’s previous games or was it going to be something else? Well, thanks to yesterday’s gameplay reveal along with a deeper behind-closed-doors press event I was lucky enough to attend, I have a good idea of what the game is all about. But the thing is, I am still not sure just how enjoyable the game will be and honestly, I am still can’t say if it is going to be a must-buy or not. Let me see if I can explain.
As you have no doubt already seen, Ghostwire is a first-person adventure where magic and spirits are the order of the day. The whole aesthetic is very much one of Japanese horror films. If you can picture movies like The Ring and The Grudge, you will have a good idea of what the devs are going for in the looks department. But then, from the gameplay I have seen, the aesthetic doesn’t match up, at least in a way you would expect from a game using such a horror motif. From all appearances, the game is very much action-focused, with spell casting the order of the day to take down restless spirits and demonic entities. This is something I quite like from the footage I have seen, a perversion of expectations that is rarely seen in video games these days.
It is, however, with this action focus that I have the most concerns. Now I haven’t gone hands-on of course, so I am simply basing this off the substantial amount of footage I have seen, but the action doesn’t feel impactful, challenging or particularly interesting. There seems to be a lack of “wow” when it comes to combat and I worry that there will be a lack of satisfaction when it comes to dispatching enemies. There were some moves that could feel cool, like stunning, then dispatching spirits with a special move that disintegrates their essence, but I worry that the novelty will wear off quickly. I am obviously not passing judgement and won’t do so until I have a controller in my hand, but I am concerned that a game with such potential could miss the mark.
The other worry I have is the feel of the levels. Set in an empty Tokyo, the game looks, to my eyes, a little off. It feels like the player is running through a corridor with pictures of buildings on either side as opposed to an actual city. There is this feeling of linearity in the footage I saw that makes me worry that Tokyo is going to feel little more than a string of indistinguishable maps as opposed to the unique and stunning metropolis that it is.
But my worries aside, there is no doubt that I am intrigued by the game. The concept and talent behind it are more than enough to ensure I give it my time at release. There is nothing out there that quite looks like this and there is a very real chance that my worries are unfounded, that when I get my hands on the game it feels wonderful and has me hooked. I am honestly unsure at this point in time. Usually, I can watch a trailer and know instantly if that game is for me, but I think I am even more confused about Ghostwire Tokyo than I was before I saw this footage. I suspect my inner turmoil will remain until the game is released on the 25th of March and I can finally dive in for myself.