Ghostwire: Tokyo preview - Tango Gameworks' next-gen thriller has our attention

Yesterday, Bethesda and Tango Gameworks revealed a March 25th release date for Ghostwire: Tokyo while also showing off some gameplay from the upcoming title. In the lead-up to this announcement, I was given an extended gameplay preview for Ghostwire: Tokyo. While I didn't get to play the game myself since the preview was virtual, I will say that what I saw has officially put Ghostwire: Tokyo on my radar.

For those who missed yesterday's gameplay deep dive, Ghostwire: Tokyo puts you in the shoes of a character named Akito. When supernatural entities invade Tokyo and make the population vanish, Akito teams up with a "powerful spectral entity" named KK to defeat a mysterious stranger in a Hannya mask who seems to be responsible for this invasion. KK grants Akito the supernatural ability of Ethereal Weaving, allowing him to combat these spirits with elemental attacks, blocks, and tethers.

It's an interesting premise, and with it, we're seeing a company that cut its teeth on survival horror games shift its focus to the action-adventure genre. Ghostwire: Tokyo seems to be a departure from Tango Gameworks' The Evil Within series, but not as big of one as you might think. In the gameplay preview I saw, there were plenty of creepy or unsettling moments, so there are certainly still some horror elements in this game. However, I think the biggest difference between Ghostwire: Tokyo and The Evil Within is that here horror isn't necessarily the central focus, making Ghostwire: Tokyo more of a thriller than anything else.

We can debate genres until the cows come home, but the major takeaway should be that Tango Gameworks is branching out with Ghostwire: Tokyo. I'm not much of a horror fan myself, but a game like Ghostwire: Tokyo seems right up my alley, even with its spooky elements. Much of the central gameplay loop revolves around exploring Tokyo to rescue or otherwise help spirits in need as you clear corrupted Torii gates and lift the deadly fog that has enveloped the city.

Judging from what I saw during this preview event, it looks like Tango's recreation of Tokyo will be a lot of fun to explore, as it has a good degree of verticality to it. There are also references to Japanese folklore scattered throughout the city and the game as a whole, so anyone interested in Japanese history will probably find a lot to love with this game.

There also appears to be a decent helping of mystery baked into the story. What I saw suggests that KK was at one point a person with a dark – or at least questionable – past, so that'll be an interesting thread to pull on as we play. Then, of course, there's also the central storyline, which prompts the question of why the man in the Hannya mask has launched this otherworldly invasion of Tokyo in the first place. The demo I watched suggests that KK and the man in the Hannya mask have a history together, so there's plenty of mystery going into Ghostwire: Tokyo's release next month.

I do wonder if the combat in Ghostwire: Tokyo will begin to feel repetitive once people get some playtime under their belts. Ghostwire: Tokyo's so-called Ethereal combat looks very cool and is super flashy, and if there's one thing I love in any game, it's flashy combat. Still, it does seem like most fights play out similarly, with players using their magical attacks to expose the cores of their enemies, then using magical tethers to pull those cores out. I know that we'll be able to mix in more conventional weapons like bows and talismans, so hopefully, that helps keep combat feeling fresh.

Obviously, what I saw was a very curated portion of the game that I didn't even get to play myself, so it's far too early to make a recommendation or even say that Ghostwire: Tokyo is a good game. We'll have to wait until the game is here and we can give it a proper playthrough before making any kind of quality judgment, but the preview I attended did look promising. After flying under my radar since its announcement, Ghostwire: Tokyo definitely has my attention now, so here's hoping it can stick the landing when it launches for PS5 and PC on March 25th, 2022.