Ghostwire: Tokyo preview: It’s still wrapped in mystery, but it looks promising

Ghostwire: Tokyo preview

We got a hands-off look

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Bethesda and Tango on Ghostwire: Tokyo in earnest. That changed recently when we got to attend a brief hands-off Ghostwire: Tokyo preview.

The event opened up with the key art for the game (featuring Hannya the antagonist “mastermind”) and extremely atmospheric music that bodes well for the final game. Director Kenji Kimura introed our hands-off session with a quick debrief on the streets of Tokyo. “Next spring, everyone will disappear from Tokyo,” he said, setting up the story, and goes on to elaborate that the game is now in the “polishing stages.”

Moving on to the story, he says that your hero (Akito) won’t be going at it alone; a cute cat was shown, amid at least one technologically-inclined human counterpart. The hand animations look fantastic, and are the first thing I noticed as the initial clip package played on screen. The player character is bending wires around to do his special abilities in really cool ways, and it looks like first-person was the way to go here. The demo, although not playable, alleviated a few of my concerns a bit. Ghostwire: Tokyo doesn’t look like it’s going to take itself too seriously, with the aforementioned cat in play and an appearance from a tanuki.

Following that director intro, we got a 20-minute-ish hands-off preview of the opening moments of the game. Akito ran through the streets of Tokyo battling enemies in first-person, using his magical abilities to take them down, then out with a finishing move in the form of a mystical string to rip them apart. So the magical abilities look pretty wide-ranging, with a shield to block attacks, ranged fireballs, and grab finishers.

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We also got to see Akito enter an apartment as part of the story, retrieve a weapon — a bow — then get trapped in the complex. The scripted claustrophobic parts that followed reminded me of a suite of first-person horror games, with visual trippiness to boot and heavy Escher-tinted structural designs. I think there’s a lot of potential here if these sections consistently deliver from a visual standpoint. The game seems to have that down, as even the “detective vision” mechanic in Ghostwire is cool looking in its own way.

The enemy models look like they were straight out of a Kojima game (with a mix of Regenerators from Resident Evil 4), some with half faces and the like: one of which was carrying a broken umbrella. While I’m not sure how engaging the empty streets of Tokyo will be over the course of say, 20 hours, it looks detailed enough where it should be fun to explore.

My spirits were raised quite a bit when I saw the flying 7-11 cat shopkeeper. I hope there’s plenty of levity in between ghost investigating! As far as that aspect goes I got a distinct Shin Megami Tensei vibe, specifically as it relates to sassy spirits of all types. I really hope they build on that.

The story dialogue seems very dry, with the spirit “KK” communicating with Akito (and thus, the player) directly. They’re constantly talking, but usually rotely about the task at hand or some sort of expositional concept. It looks like the conflict between Akito and Hannya, sometimes told through out-of-body experiences, will be a constant source of drama, and potentially the emotional core.

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While I wasn’t blown away by any one facet of the game in the Ghostwire: Tokyo preview, this definitely looks like a “sum of its parts” type of work. A lot of Ghostwire: Tokyo is still a mystery, and I think Tango and Bethesda want to keep it that way through the game’s launch. The studio stresses that what we saw is still in beta form, and things could change.

For now, it looks stylish and curious — whether or not that mixture will play out how we want remains to be seen.

Chris Carter
Reviews Director, Co-EIC - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff!