In another world, Tango Gameworks could have potentially stopped making games; but with a fresh new start under the umbrella of Xbox Game Studios, I’m anxious to see what they have in store for us. Ghostwire: Tokyo isn’t for everyone, but it gives us a glimpse into what Tango is capable of, and I hope they push the envelope a little further next time.
Ghostwire: Tokyo offers a varied arsenal of paranormal powers, and a well-realized deception of the Japanese capital. However, it does fall into some familiar open-world grooves.
The story stumbles and not all of the side missions are particularly engaging, yet these aspects are easy to push to the back of your mind when you're using finger guns to tear through corrupted spirits with dazzling aplomb. Shinji Mikami is a legendary director, but taking a backseat and letting new voices come to the fore has paid off.
An eight to ten hour plot that can so quickly stretch out to around 15 – 20 hours defined more by pure satisfying exploration. Tango’s technical handling plays its part, but it’s thanks to its level design and suggestiveness on top where the game is at its best. The moments in-between — especially those the game deems most critical to plot and progression — may not have the same punch, but Ghostwire: Tokyo though brief just about shines through where it matters. A journey you will actively and quickly decide against sprinting through.
Ghostwire: Tokyo was not the game I was expecting from Tango Gameworks, but I definitely enjoyed it. Blending magic-filled FPS action with Japanese mythology and an open world Tokyo that reminds me of the Yakuza series, it stands out from the crowd even if it’s not truly groundbreaking. Ghostwire has a lot of potential as a new franchise and I’m looking forward to seeing what Tango Gameworks does with it next.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is an impressively bold step in a new director for Tango Gameworks, and it pays off beautifully. Tango’s artists and designers are working wonders with zany and menacing creatures, set against the wonderful backdrop of a colour-struck Shibuya. While its leading pair and open world design stumble at times, Ghostwire’s wonderfully weird side stories and engrossing combat, more than pick up any slack and work in harmony with the game's more zany and offbeat elements to create a world that hasn't just got looks, but one hell of a spirit, too.
This is an environment I loved being in, and all the more so because of the many touchstones to iconic elements of Japanese culture and mythology. If the moment-to-moment gameplay – in particular its one-dimensional combat and uninteresting mission design – weren’t such a disappointment, Ghostwire: Tokyo could have truly captivated me. As it stands, the merely adequate stealth and action do little to add to the fantastic setting, but they don’t diminish its brilliance, either.
Ghostwire has the spirit of these older action games in bucketfuls and, though it's by no means perfect, it's like a glass of Coke after a long walk in the sun. Water might be better for you, but you want to indulge in something sugary and sweet despite the million health warnings. Though there are better games than Ghostwire in terms of theme, horror and graphics, this is just uncomplicated fun.
Ghostwire: Tokyo feels like a throwback to a different era of action game design. It takes an off-beat approach to world design, story encounters, and combat pacing that won't be for everyone, but if you can get it to click into place you'll have a resoundingly chill time hunting ghosts throughout Tokyo.
There are, of course, more traditional side quests in the game—there’s a series of “fetch quests” called requests where players must seek out items for a friendly cat Yokai named Nekomata—but the stories that embrace the Japanese folklore are the absolute best. Ultimately, Ghostwire: Tokyo's world-building, Japanese folklore, and character dynamics are engaging, but the pacing and combat weigh down the middle section.
I fully expect some people won't be smitten with the game the way I am, and I think it's completely understandable if you don't want to forgive the game for that. But if Ghostwire connects with you, I think it'll really connect with you. It's weird and unique, and I think it's great to see this kind of game get this kind of budget, put it all on the table, and use that money to do some baffling and great art. And for that alone, I can't help but love Ghostwire.
Figure out how to get inside of the 24th floor of the shopping complex so I can take out its pesky corruption spot. I’m forty hours in and counting and one hundred percent willing to do it all over again. It’s been a while since I’ve had this much fun playing a video game, and I don’t want it to end.
Ghostwire, meanwhile, has elements of open-world and role-playing games, but they don’t overwhelm the core of the experience. Instead, it deftly balances all-out action with quiet exploration and wraps it all up in a world full of fascinating, sad, and hilarious stories to uncover. It may freak you out, but it also respects your time.
In a roundabout way, this is a mission success for hands-off Mikami - Ghostwire certainly doesn’t feel like something he’s made. It’s too baggy, too loose, lacking the powerhouse momentum I associate with his previous work. What’s here just never clicks fully into place: a beautiful setting, tactile combat, tantalising hints of the beyond, but not enough to populate a city this big, leaving stodge to fill the vacuum. Mikami’s tinkling ivories aside, Ghostwire is a tad too discordant.