Ghostwire: Tokyo released last March on the PlayStation 5 and PC, scoring rather well across the board. The game blends first-person action gameplay with action-RPG elements and a touch of horror in a ghost-town Tokyo. A massive supernatural event has wiped out 99% of the population of Tokyo. Playing as Akito, players harness paranormal abilities to fight against spirits and other creatures from Japanese folklore in order to save the city. Fellow editor, Richard Allen, reviewed the game for us last year, which you can check out here, but now it’s my turn to tell you about its recent jump to Xbox Series X|S.
This is a game that I had my eyes on from the moment it was announced, but I didn’t have a PlayStation 5 at the time it was released. However, with the 2021 acquisition of ZeniMax (and therefore Bethesda), I realized it would only be a matter of time before the game would finally be seen on Xbox, much like another PlayStation 5 timed exclusive, Deathloop. Sure enough, it was announced to be making its way to Xbox, free to GamePass subscribers at that. Patience paid off in the end, and the game does not disappoint.
Tango Gameworks, the studio that gave us the Evil Within games, brought Tokyo to life in stunning detail, which carried over beautifully to Xbox. The last thing you would expect to see is a place like Shibuya Crossing to be completely empty, but after a mysterious fog rolled through town, all that’s left is the memory of the city’s inhabitants. Akito was lucky to survive a fatal accident caused by the fog, albeit with the help of a vengeful spirit called KK, who lends his powers to Akito to fight off the terrors that emerged. Akito just wants to save his sister, while KK wants revenge on the man responsible for his own untimely death.
The story of Ghostwire: Tokyo is unique and intriguing, though not particularly deep. The objective is simple (though easier said than done), and while the curveballs that are thrown at you aren’t exactly earth shattering, they still help keep the player invested enough in what is otherwise an almost monotonous experience. As was mentioned in Richard’s review, much of your time will be spent cleansing Torii gates around Tokyo, beating up any evil spirits that get in your way, and exploring all the hidden goodies around the city. Gameplay isn’t anything particularly crazy, however the first-person magic attacks and abilities are a lot of fun and oh so satisfying to execute, especially on a group of unaware enemies.
I tend to play my games on whatever the default difficulty mode is. This gives the game a perfect balance between the gameplay and story experience, which is how I feel games should be played. While some games still present a hefty amount of challenge in their default difficulty setting, Ghostwire: Tokyo actually feels pretty easy in comparison. Boss fights weren’t necessarily a breeze as I still had to plan my attacks and be mindful of taking damage, however I never once felt overwhelmed by the fight, often taking the boss down on the first try (compared to the 10th or 20th try in some other games I’ve played recently). Combat in the game is incredibly fun, as I mentioned before, and the game doesn’t skip out on giving you resources to aid in the fight, like recovering your SP from fallen enemies.
There are a couple bugs that need to be ironed out still. One was a climbing bug where I would seemingly teleport to the top of something I was climbing on as the animation itself would just skip straight to the top. Another issue I had was when trying to do seels to absorb souls where it wouldn’t recognize that I was moving the right thumbstick in the right direction, especially when tracing diagonally. Eventually it would suddenly work, but it sure got frustrating really quickly when it didn’t. I’m sure this will get ironed out in the near future, but thankfully neither of these issues break the game or prevent you from progressing.
Alongside the Xbox release of Ghostwire: Tokyo is an all new mode called The Spider’s Thread. Completely separate from the main game, you are summoned by the Tatari to take care of a little problem before it manages to reach the real world. There are 30 floors to descend, each one with an objective (and sometimes optional objectives for a bonus ‘payout’) that must be completed before you can progress to the next floor. Some floors are easier than others, with an objective as simple as just making it to the exit to the next floor, while others might suddenly surround you with a ton of enemies to destroy. The goal is to make it to the 30th floor without dying.
Level and skill progression in The Spider’s Thread is, again, separate from the main game. There’s a new skill tree to unlock more skills and abilities as you go, though it does feature a lot of the same stuff you find in the main game. You also find prayer beads between some floors which can be upgraded at The Cat’s Paw, a safe room area where you can take a moment to mentally recover before taking on the next set of floors. Aside from upgrading prayer beads here, you can purchase consumables for recovering health, arrows for your bow just in case you and KK get separated in a fight, and check a challenge log from an attendant cat.
But what happens if you die? You go back to the first floor and you start again. Thankfully not everything resets when this happens. Any skills you’ve earned, prayer beads you’ve found and upgraded, challenges completed in past runs, shop unlocks, and your Spirit Thread, all carry over. This mode is perfect for fans of rogue-lite games, however I never made it past floor ten. (Don’t judge me.) The floors are randomly generated, so if you do die don’t expect to see the same floors you saw last time. For some, this might seem annoying as you can’t plan ahead for a particular floor type that you’re struggling with. However, it also means the experience is kept fresh every time you start the descent as you never know what you’ll be facing next.
The wait was definitely worth it for this one! Overall, Ghostwire: Tokyo impresses me with fun and satisfying gameplay, an intriguing story, and beautiful visuals. I never had any issues with performance or pop-in, everything ran as smooth as a hot sake. The new mode, The Spider’s Thread, presents a fun challenge for those craving more Thread Weaving action that doesn’t get stale, even after multiple rounds (or deaths).
- Game performs perfectly on Xbox
- The Spider’s Thread mode is a great addition
- Climbing animation bug
- Sometimes trying to retrace seels wasn’t working