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Friday, February 4, 2022

[Preview] ‘Ghostwire: Tokyo’: Tango Gameworks’ Latest is Building on ‘The Evil Within 2’ in Supernatural Style

We got a Ghostwire: Tokyo preview, and came away impressed by the supernatural new game from Tango Gameworks.

I have this strange fondness for seeing normally populated worlds in video games emptied of humanity. Ever played The Forest with enemies turned off? Wandered through some of the quieter ruins of the Seattle suburbs in The Last of Us Part II? Or maybe plodded through an abandoned vault in Fallout? I live for that odd, haunting solitude, and Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire: Tokyo seems to have plenty of it.

A 30-minute preview of Ghostwire: Tokyo was shown to press recently, and it showcased the streets of Shibuya suddenly shorn of a human population, save for protagonist Akito. There’s a sense Rapture has occurred. A strange fog is blanketing the area, and a spiritual presence seems to be the only clue as to what’s occurred. Akito is alone in a sense, if not for the spirit that shares his body and the host of Yokai lurking unseen in the mist throughout the area. 

It seems everyone has moved on mysteriously and Akio now possesses mystical powers to take down the Yokai menace, and set the people’s spirits free through might and magic. Faced with cracking the mystery, and finding his family. Akio finds a demon-masked antagonist standing in his way.

Ghost Town

ghostwire tokyo preview 01

Something was quickly very clear. There’s a careful calmness to Ghostwire: Tokyo that seems to add an unnerving and impactful atmosphere to a deliciously offbeat ghost story. Despite being quite different from Tango’s previous outing, The Evil Within 2, there’s a distinct underlying style that echoes across from it. Where The Evil Within 2 distorted normality through the mind’s eye of another, Ghostwire: Tokyo pulls the abnormal into actual reality. Certain objects in the environment appear charged by malevolent energy, and manifest into Yokai or strange supernatural tendrils. Among the monsters, friendly and unfriendly, shown were a floating cat called Nekomata, bird-like creatures, headless schoolgirls, and umbrella-carrying ghoulish businessmen.

Akito’s spectral infusion comes from the soul of a detective called K.K. that bonded with him in an accident. This reluctant union has gifted him the knowledge of rituals and spells to banish foes and unblock barriers through special hand signals called Ethereal Weaving (unsure if it’s related to Samara). Imagine, if you will, combat by Dr. Strange. Akito fires at spirits with energy from his fingers (yes, magic finger guns!). Further signs then pull at the very being of these spirits until they explode in a shower of supernatural debris. It makes for a pretty spectacular light show, and I hope there’s a host of variations on them in the full game. There were different elemental types (wind, etc) and a mystical bow that Akito picks up partway through the demo, so it certainly seems like he’s going to build something of an arsenal to combat the growing threat.

Outside of the mystical combat, the pair need to dispel that fog.  This appears to be done by swiping the touchpad to write out symbols at certain barrier points that manifest as corrupted Torii Gates. Of course, the further into the fog-shrouded glow of Tokyo they go, the meaner and deadlier the obstacles become. Other obstacles will appear to slow your roll too, as the footage showed Akito trapped inside a building that was being ‘squeezed’ by an angry presence. Akito’s solution was to seek out the cause, and in the highlight of the demo, it caused the interior of the building to constantly shift and change in creepy and psychedelic ways as the fabric of reality crumbled.

Helping The Lost and the Damned

Despite the bonding, Akito and K.K. have their own agendas, so there’s a bristling quality to the pair’s relationship. It’ll be fascinating to see how this union plays out. It’s one of a few things that reminded me of The Darkness (the game, not the English rock band) in that it features a protagonist is unwillingly inhabited by another being (so also a bit like Venom, Shadow of Mordor, or the anime series Parasyte: The Maxim).

Beyond their squabbles, Akito and K.K. get to have kinder interactions at least. Lost souls drift about Shibuya, and many can be saved by helping them find closure. In the demo, a spirit laments the disappearance of her friendly Zashiki-Warashi and pleads with Akito to help find it. After following the clues, it turns out it was being held captive by a demonic landlord (so, just a landlord). Once that’s dealt with, the spirit and its Yokai are reunited, and can be at peace. Lovely. 

Hopefully, there’s a good balance of helpful and hurtful in Ghostwire: Tokyo, because as cool as it is to fight off nasty demons and spirits, some levity is welcome. We won’t have too long to find out at least.

Seeing Ghostwire: Tokyo in action has raised my interest levels a fair bit. It appears to show a studio that took the right ideas from The Evil Within 2’s development and forged on with something even more inventive.

Ghostwire: Tokyo preview provided by the publisher.

Ghostwire: Tokyo is out March 25 on PS5 and PC.


The post [Preview] ‘Ghostwire: Tokyo’: Tango Gameworks’ Latest is Building on ‘The Evil Within 2’ in Supernatural Style appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!

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