Developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda, Ghostwire: Tokyo took several years to make it from first unveiling to release, and was somewhat of a mystery up until its arrival. We knew it would be set in Shibuya and involve supernatural first person action, but not much more. The reality is one of the most pleasantly surprising games of recent years, in our humble opinion.
Best of all, for graphics fans on PC and to a lesser degree on PS5, Ghostwire: Tokyo offers arguably the best application of ray tracing outside of tech demos. If you want to enjoy good storytelling, a fascinating game world, and technical prowess, then Ghostwire: Tokyo is a game to get.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is implied to be the first in a series of games, hence the “: Tokyo” part, as presumably future titles will be set in other cities. While not open world, the game is more like an open area design, and the map is fairly sizeable. Obviously, Ghostwire: Tokyo has supernatural horror elements, and sees you take on the role of college student Akito. Our hero finds himself alone in a perpetually-nocturnal Shibuya, which is one of the most famous areas in Tokyo. Everyone’s gone except for Akito, his companion KK, and a whole lot of weird and hostile ghosts. But not everyone’s bad, as there are plenty of friendly NPC spirits that hand you interesting side quests, helpful tengu you can grapple onto, and of course talking cat merchants. This is a Japanese game, after all, and one from the makers of the darkly odd The Evil Within games, the latter of which also had a very prominent cat.
The real star of the show is Shibuya. While not exactly accurate to the real world map of the district, the game provides a sizeable and very convincing depiction. There are numerous locales and collectibles that provide insight into Japanese culture, with a focus on food, because Akito needs food to keep up his strength as he and KK try to figure out why everyone’s gone and how to find Akito’s sister.
There are torii gates to cleanse, shrines to visit, and a whole host of combat varieties. While its open world isn’t as enormous as something like Elden Ring or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Ghostwire: Tokyo packs a lot of texture and content into its environment. There’s also a surprising amount of attention to detail. For example, cars from American manufacturers like Ford and GMC have their steering wheel on the left, while all other cars (presumably Japanese) have it on the right.
The constant back and forth between Akito and KK is priceless. And it’s very situational, so a lot of it depends on your actions and which locations you choose to visit in a particular order. The supporting cast of spirits, cats, dogs, and villains is superb, as well. The main antagonist is a mysterious man in a hannya mask. It’s the same guy from the cover image for the game, and not much is known about him when you begin the story. Regardless, he also gets lots of great lines and is a very memorable villain. This is not surprising, as Tango Gameworks have already proven their ability to create fun baddies in The Evil Within 1 and 2.
Now we get to the really interesting part. Ghostwire: Tokyo isn’t just solid in the gameplay and story departments, it’s also somewhat of a technical showcase. While characters, objects, and textures aren’t the most detailed in the world, and the landscape isn’t overly diverse, the game has incredible lighting. Shibuya at night and with rain is just begging for good lighting, and Ghostwire: Tokyo delivers.
The same can be said for ray tracing. While games with a bright setting don’t really need ray tracing, something set in a dark and rain-drenched city full of neon signs is definitely a good place for the technology. And Ghostwire: Tokyo does not disappoint. We would even go as far as to say this is the best application of ray tracing yet. The way things reflect in the endless pools of water and off various surfaces is simply amazing. Despite having so much ray tracing, the game runs very well on PC thanks to excellent use of NVIDIA DLSS, which is what we chose. But you can also go with AMD FSR or Epic Unreal Engine TSR to help upscale the resolution and thus free up GPU resources for all that beautiful ray tracing.
On PS5, Ghostwire: Tokyo still looks great but of course not as high end as on a powerful PC. The ray tracing effect is somewhat muted, but definitely impressive. We recommend playing the game on PC, if possible.
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