RPS Advent Calendar 2022, 18 December

On the eighteenth day of our Advent calendar, you find yourself curious, suddenly alone. A fog rolled through the city and suddenly everyone has disappeared. Oh, wait, looks like a bunch of school kids over there, maybe they’ll help- OH GOD OH NO.

Lots of dead people clogging up the lines in Ghostwire: Tokyo!

One of the best parts of Ghostwire: Tokyo is exploring the creepy, rainy city.

James: Not that it was a New Year’s resolution to change tastes, but I feel less inclined towards open world games than I did at the start of 2022. Between a busier schedule and my renewed fixation on class-based team shooters from 2007, I’m less motivated than some time to wander across vast lands and do tasks for randos. Ghostwire: Tokyo, however, has been a shining exception.

And by shining, I of course mean spooky and rain-soaked. In the wake of a paranormal invasion, Ghostwire: Tokyo’s Tokyo has been left as one vast liminal space, devoid of anyone but patrolling yokai and the restless spirits of its victims. This emptiness, far from feeling dull, helps to realize a brilliantly convincing atmosphere – as does the impeccably detailed rendering of Tokyo itself. I could spend hours wandering its glowing streets, strewn with the clothes of its vanished citizens. And I have.

Sure, it’s busy, but it’s probably spiced up by the richness of Japanese folklore. For example, a simple fetch mission becomes a rescue mission to rescue a zashiki-warashi – a childlike, auspicious household spirit – from the ultimate evil, a landlord. Even upgrading your own set of ghostly powers is partly dependent on playing a decoy game with the kappa, aquatic turtles that steal life force orbs out of people’s asses. Not that video games should ever make up the entirety of one’s cultural education, but I was quickly caught up in this world of narratives and monsters that are rarely touched upon here in the West.

The action is decent, with a charming use of literal finger weapons, and as boring as our protagonist is, there’s something quite touching about the blossoming bromance between him and the deceased cop who lives with his body. But it’s the city of Tokyo, and the group of ghoulies in it, that stole my heart like a kappa steals butt balls. Wait, no, wait.

Rebecca: Ghostwire: Tokyo is not a scary game, but it is a scary game. It is an important distinction. I’m definitely one of those angst-ridden weirdos who sees horror as their comfort genre, but I prefer a good slow-burn spook to running for my life from a chainsaw-wielding zombie. It’s not that there is no danger in this game, far from it; but nonetheless, it’s a game that feels like it wants to work with you, not against you. It wants you to walk through the empty city streets together and enjoy the sights, and while it aims to keep you looking good, it would hate to strike such fear into your heart that you failed to look around properly.

The player uses a katashiro item to absorb the blue souls of lost people in Ghostwire Tokyo

I had nothing but praise for Ghostwire back in our GOTFHOTY list, and everything I said back then basically still applies. There are so many things I love about this game, from the possibilities for digital tourism in a realistically rendered Tokyo – a wanderlust lifeline when I haven’t ventured further than North Wales since the start of the pandemic – to the endlessly exciting enemy design. The Students of Pain and Misery deserve a special shout out as my new favorite video game mooks: deeply creepy as they scurry about the streets in their spectral teenage gangs, yet still so adorably cranky that I just want to give their cheeks a materal. squishing… except, oops, they don’t have faces, do they? Not even heads, either. Best to shoot them with my elementally infused finger weapons instead then.

When I last wrote about this game in July, I hadn’t even unlocked the Summon Tengu ability yet, which is a literal game changer, let me tell you. Even without a Tengu for me, this was a very “just one more” kind of game. You know: I’m just going to do one more quick side quest, look around one more corner, clear out one more group of visitors, and clean out the taint of corruption they’re guarding, lo and behold, there’s a new street for me to go down. . Now, with the ability to glide across the city skyline on the wings of my paranormal friends while bypassing the mean streets of Shibuya, I have to physically peel myself away from this game and remind myself to eat. I haven’t even finished it, I’m still just too busy poking my nose into every alley to see what’s there. (Spoiler: there are ghosts.)

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