Ghostwire: Tokyo (PS5) Review: A “Jujutsu” Sorcerer in Beautiful, Dystopian Tokyo
March 22, 2022 Andrew Cheng

When Ghostwire: Tokyo was first unveiled, I was immediately entranced by the combat system of the game. Performing spells with hand signs in the game seem very…Jujutsu Kaisen-like, or even like Doctor Strange-like, if you will.

But as I explore the world of Ghostwire, it is so much more than casting fancy spells to ward off supernatural beings. This dystopian, but still very beautiful Tokyo is awe-inspiring, and the game makes very good use of the PS5’s DualSense controller, so the gameplay is that much more immersive.

If you want to live your dream as a “jujutsu” sorcerer in an open world setting set in Tokyo, Ghostwire is just the game for you.

What It Is

Available on both PS5 and PC, Ghostwire: Tokyo is a first-person game developed by Tango Gameworks. It follows a seemingly normal human named Akito, the protagonist, who gained mysterious new powers when he was possessed by a spirit who calls himself KK.

A “massive paranormal event” then wiped out 99% of Tokyo’s population, and spirits from Japanese folklore started roaming the streets. Some of them can be quite…eerie, and it is up to Akito and KK to unravel the mystery of the paranormal event.

As mentioned, Ghostwire is offered on both PS5 and PC. The PS5 version is priced at RM249 for the Standard Edition, while the Deluxe Edition is priced at RM339. You can even play the game three days early (on 22 March) with this edition.

If you want to get Ghostwire on PC instead, you can buy it at a lower price: it goes for RM179.99 and RM239.99 for the Standard and Deluxe Editions respectively. Of course, you can purchase the PC version on both Steam and the Epic Games Store.

The Good Stuff

I love a game with a good story to tell, so I really enjoyed the storyline of Ghostwire: Tokyo. There’s good character development – even if the side characters aren’t explored much – the plot is decent, and I was excited to progress through the main story. It’s just unfortunate that it is a tad too brief; I completed the story in about 15 hours.

Thankfully, there are a ton of side missions scattered throughout Tokyo in Ghostwire, and some of them can be quite riveting. Many of these side missions are inspired by stories that were told to the developers at Tango Gameworks, and it’s evident that some of them feel quite personal.

Speaking of which, the open world of Ghostwire is quite fun to explore as well. I find myself engrossed in traversing every nook and cranny of Tokyo, finding collectables and collecting spirits to further develop my skill tree. I really enjoyed gliding from one rooftop to another too – Akito certainly feels very mobile.

Of course, Ghostwire’s combat system is done quite well too; I especially like the fancy hand signs that Akito does. There are three main “ethereal weaves” or spells in the game: wind, fire, and water. Wind focuses on quick attacks, fire does more damage (with less ammo available), and water performs wide, short-ranged attacks.

At times, combat in Ghostwire can feel quite chaotic and disconnected, but once I got the hang of it – with upgraded spells – it can be quite fun. It’s a little annoying that getting a perfect block doesn’t always perform a counterattack (it depends on the attack itself), but when it does, it is satisfying.

Graphically, the city of Tokyo in Ghostwire is rendered beautifully on the PS5. It gives off just the right amount of eeriness, especially when I’m in a dilapidated building filled with spirits from Japanese folklore. Trust me, some of them can really make your skin crawl, which shows just how well-designed the enemies are.

As with any PS5 game, I’m excited to see how the DualSense controller’s refined haptic feedback and adaptive triggers are used in Ghostwire. Well, I’m happy to report that Tango took advantage of these hardware very well. Remember the different spells I talked about? Depending on which element you use, the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback change accordingly.

When I’m using quick wind attacks, for example, there are less resistance on the adaptive triggers. But if I switch to the more powerful fire spells, the triggers feel heavier with more pronounced haptic feedback. All in all, Tango Gameworks made very good use the DualSense’s features.

The Bad Stuff

While Ghostwire: Tokyo’s graphics look great, there are still room for improvement on the PS5. I play the game almost exclusively in Performance Mode to set the framerate at 60fps, but unfortunately enough, there are a few instances where the framerate noticeably drops.

Granted, this doesn’t happen too frequently; it mostly happens when I’m high up on the rooftops of Tokyo as the game tries to render the surrounding area. It doesn’t happen during fast-paced combat situations, so that’s good.

What’s not good are the selection of weapons in Ghostwire. Aside from the three ethereal weaves I’ve mentioned, you only get a bow and arrow (which is very unwieldy to use) and some talismans that can either stun enemies or distract them.

This lack of weapon variety makes the combat system feel not as fleshed out as it should be. Don’t get me wrong, I like the combat of Ghostwire; I just wish there was another layer of complexity to it for a more “complete” experience.

My last qualm with Ghostwire is the English voice-over. Personally, I prefer the Japanese audio – this is actually the default option – but I decided to give the English option a try for the sake of the review. It’s not bad, per se, but it is distracting that the lip-syncing, which is catered to the Japanese voice-over, doesn’t match.

Is It Worth It?

Even though Ghostwire: Tokyo suffers from some performance issues on the PS5 with not much weapon variety, it is still an easy game to recommend. It has a robust combat system, an engrossing storyline, and most of all, it’s a gorgeous game set in a beautifully rendered dystopian Tokyo – with some frightening Japanese folklore spirits to boot.

In retrospect, while I wish the combat system is a bit more sophisticated, it is refreshing that Ghostwire doesn’t demand too much from players. The skill tree is straightforward, there are no long-winded cutscenes with a convoluted plot, and it’s a game that I can just pick up and jump straight in without much thought.

Is Ghostwire a must-play title? Not necessarily, but it’s definitely a game that I thoroughly enjoyed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have side missions to complete in Tokyo…as a “jujutsu” sorcerer.

Ghostwire: Tokyo launches on PS5 and PC on 25 March.