Ghostwire: Tokyo Review (PS5)

I guess this is a better time than any to do some shopping.

Released: March 24, 2022
Available on: PS5/Steam
Genre: Action Adventure
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

It was just a normal day in Tokyo, the streets were as populated as ever and everyone was going about their day. Not for long though as a strange, mysterious mist started to spread throughout Tokyo. Anyone who was caught in the mist disappeared, leaving only their clothes, any objects they possibly had on them, and the animals. This of course caused chaos, which we see during the prologue as you see cars that have crashed. With the mist creeping into the last nook and cranny, a disembodied voice can be heard looking for a body to take over at the Shibuya Scramble Crossing before the last few bodies disappear. After unsuccessfully trying to go into a body, due to the person still being alive, he spots our protagonist that he assumes is dead due to his motorcycle crash. However, we soon find out that the body wasn’t as vacant as this voice thought. Not only that, but the mist has also brought Visitors, which are spirits from Japanese Folklore.

We soon learn what caused 99% of people in Tokyo to suddenly disappear and who our protagonists are. That disembodied voice is KK and he died sometime before this all happened. The guy KK tried to take over is Akito, who didn’t turn out to be dead but just unconscious (or maybe he was moments away from death) until he woke up after KK’s spirit went inside his body. After a few moments when the last of the mist rolls in, and KK is trying to push Akito out of the driver’s seat, a broadcast from a mysterious man wearing a Hannya mask comes up. Dubbed as Hannya, named after the mask he wears, he is the one responsible for the mist causing the mass vanishings and he did this in hopes that it would bring his wife back.

At first, KK was not happy about Akito’s spirit still lingering in his body. This put KK to the side, with really only having the ability to control one of Akito’s hands and cause some black mist to leak out of him. Though Akito, being the obvious badass he is, talked back at him and fought to stay in control. While KK wants to stop Hannya, Akito also wants to make sure his sister is okay. KK allows this, though he reminds Akito to not make it difficult for him as he will die if KK leaves. Though, it turns out that Akito’s sister didn’t disappear like everyone else, but Hannya has taken her for his plan. While KK was first willing to push Akito out of the driver’s seat to get his business done, he soon comes around with letting Akito stay around and decides to help Akitp get his sister back. Granted, it might be because he is after Hannya anyway and he did take Akito’s sister so they are going the same way anyway. Either way, say hello to your new roommate, KK.

One thing that I really loved about Ghostwire: Tokyo was the dynamic between KK and Akito. KK was definitely antagonistic towards Akito at first, and even more surprised that Akito stood up to KK, but you can tell that KK is slightly warming up to Akito even when you arrive at the hospital. And as the game goes on, you do get a sense that they are becoming closer as they banter with each other and sharing some tidbits about their lives. They aren’t always on the same page, but they do have the same goals and they both fill in each other’s shortcomings. Also, while Ghostwire isn’t technically a pure horror game, there are still horror elements here that definitely scared me (as well as keeping up with it’s creepy, paranormal atmosphere this game has). There are also some funny moments here and there that manages to not take away from the atmosphere it built up or taking away any seriousness that might be there during cutscenes.

With Visitors roaming the streets of Tokyo, you have to defend yourself. While there is a stealth system here, which actually isn’t bad, that doesn’t mean you can just sneak around everywhere and expect to not get caught. KK does give you options to effectively get rid of any Visitors thankfully. KK gives Akito the ability to use ethereal weaving. There are three elements that you will unlock and will be able to wield, but there is a shot limit (dictated by its SP). You start with Wind, which has the most shot limit and lets you fire gusts of air towards your enemy with a faster rate of fire than the other elemental weaving. There’s Water which is a more close range attack that goes out in an arch. And lastly, Fire which has the least shot limit, but it does let you shot out a quite powerful fire lances that are long ranged. You can also charge your attacks, with Wind shooting out multiple shots in quick succession for the price of one SP, Fire causing it to to explode and damage anything in its radius, and Water letting out a wave that can go through Visitors. While I admittedly didn’t use Water that much, switching between the elemental weaving types mid-battle to best suit the situation can really help in surviving Visitor attacks. You do also get a block, which you should really try to learn to get perfect blocks. Your block will block most attacks that will come towards you, and of course will lower damage taken, but perfect blocks will initiate a parry and might even give you a short boost. The SP used to let you shot out each elemental type can be recharged by picking up ether that corresponds with the element’s color, which usually comes from Visitors and from destroying distinct objects that are crystallized ether.

There are also other ways that helps you out. There is a strike attack which lets you attack without using any SP, but it’s pretty weak. If you manage to sneak up behind Visitors, you can do a cool quick purge which will take out most Visitors, but will only severely damage the stronger ones. There are talismans you can get which have different effects in its range and can help you out in certain situations (though strong Visitors tend to not be affected), like stunning Visitors or summoning a thicket bush to help hide you. You do also get a bow that you can use, though honestly I didn’t really use it that much apart from the story moments where you have to. It’s not as effective as just using your weaving attacks, as you can’t carry as many arrows and the most effective way of taking down Visitors is getting headshots (which…is pretty hard with a controller). Lastly, later on Akito and KK will be able to resonance with each other and go into a powerful state called Wire In. This will throw out a purple shockwave that will expose and/or stun Visitors and this will let you expose cores easier until the resonance gauge is depleted. You can fill up this gauge by simply extracting Visitor Cores. Wiring In can be very helpful when you’re going up against waves of enemies and especially the bosses (which I recommend not hesitating in Wiring In during bosses).

Visitors won’t be full defeated until you destroy their Core. Damaging them enough will expose it, causing them to be stunned for a short time and allow you to pull it out either from long distance using ethereal string, pulling it out when you’re right in front of them, or taking it out when they’re on the ground (which you can do even if it’s not exposed once you unlock the ability). Though, you can just attack them more as that will destroy the core. Just don’t let them recover as they will cover it back up, but with a more vulnerable exterior (so don’t worry about having to start over from zero).

To make you more effective in taking care of Visitors or exploring around, there are a couple skill trees you can invest in with your Spirit Skill points (which are gained through leveling up or finding KK’s investigation notes). This will let you upgrade a number of things like increasing the ways you can get ether and how much, speeding up how long it takes you to do something like extracting cores or charging up, increases how effective your ethereal weaving attacks are, and so on.

You will also be able to explore Tokyo, which has been faithfully recreated from what I’ve seen others say. Though, you will only be able to explore a bit of it due to the fog. If you run into it, it will start to hurt Akito until it outright kills him. How do you clear the fog you ask? Well, there are various Tori Gates scattered around and cleansing them will clear the fog from that area and thus, give you more room to explore and may even reveal more Tori Gates. Though, Tori Gates do tend to have Visitors guarding it so clearing them out is best, and some may even require you to clear multiple, smaller, Tori Gates to fully cleanse a giant one. This will also give you access to the shrine there, which will give you a reward and let you go to the shrine store, make offerings at the Offering Box (which can let you recover health/SP or have a collectible icon pop up on the map), and draw fortunes which will give you a temporary buff depending on what you drew. Anyway, this does a good job with giving you enough area to explore without having you be overwhelmed right away. Though, I do wish spirits wouldn’t spawn/be detected in the foggy areas (well unless they’re really close to the edge) as you might take a detour to get to it, only to find out you can’t get it yet. To help you explore, you can get an ability to glide, which lets you travel roof to roof, and the ability to grapple on Yokai called Tengu which fly around certain buildings (though you can choose to get the ability to summon one anytime for grappling, which is a major help).

As you’re going through the story, and up to the end of Chapter 4, there are a couple things you can do while not doing the main story. Other than exploring, there are side missions that will pop up depending on how far you’re in the story and how much of Tokyo has been cleansed of the fog. While these are called “side” missions I really do recommend doing them as this does get you to explore around and it helps a lot with leveling up. Plus, the mini-stories they have is pretty interesting. These side missions are basically you finding lingering spirits and helping them with their unfinished business so they can pass on.

There is a lot of collectibles here in Ghostwire: Tokyo as well, with most of them used towards upgrading your abilities. These collectibles, as well as the crystallized ether, will be highlighted by KK’s scan, or Spectral Vision. First are the spirits that you can gather as long as you have empty Katashiro. I will say buying Katashiro early on is important as you can easily fill them all up and it is pretty easy to get to the max amount anyway. You can then transfer these spirits out with the thanks of KK’s friend Ed, which will grant you EXP and Meika (the currency here). Finding Jizo Statues, which give off a specific ping sound, will give you another SP charge for the corresponding weave element it represents, KK’s Investigation Notes are also scattered around which will give you Skill Points and something interesting to read, and you will also run into several Yokai which will grant you a magatama after you either catch it or defend it (which helps unlock abilities as some are locked behind magatama spots). There are also prayer beads which Akito can wear to gain its effect, find hidden Tanuki (which rewards you with emotes or charms), find voice logs you can listen to, and find relics which you can give to Relic-Hunting Nekomata for Meika and rewards like emotes or outfit pieces (and they also sell other outift pieces, emotes, and possibly investigation notes or magatama).

In terms of voice acting, I mainly played with the Japanese voice acting. While the English dub is good, I felt like it doesn’t do as much justice to the atmosphere like the Japanese voice acting does. Though, it is hard to read the subtitles during the few times that characters are talking while you’re fighting (which mainly happens during boss fights).

Though, I will say that while I didn’t mind it most of the time, it can feel repetitive like others have mentioned. I did find there was enough variety to fight this off for me and taking breaks after hours of playing does help (I do wish we got more Yokai and more enemy variety here though). And I’m sure it helps that I wasn’t going for collecting everything, just what I managed to run across. Some may also not like the combat (which is understandable as I wasn’t too sure about it either). I also did wish there was a bit more story here, as it does seem the main draw was the side quests and I wouldn’t be surprised if some people forgot there was a story (and I totally am not in that crowd), especially for what happens at the last two chapters. I’m someone that tends to get attached to characters pretty quickly anyway, but even then, I do feel the last chapters could have been more impactful.


I still remember going from hyped to cautiously looking forward to Ghostwire: Tokyo after the gameplay trailer dropped and I’m really glad my concern over the combat not being my cup of tea turned out to be nothing. I really ended up liking Ghostwire: Tokyo, even with the flaws it had, as I did really enjoy the atmosphere and setting here, liked KK and Akito (and the dynamic they had with each other), and the combat wasn’t as bad as I thought. Some will understandably be turned off with its combat and the empty world you explore through, but it really is an enjoyable game that is as cool as it looked in trailers and absolutely nails its atmosphere. I will also say that if you’re someone that is, or does get, interested in folklore, this brings in a focus on Japanese folklore that I, and you if you’re interested, will love.


♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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