Ghostwire: Tokyo is going to be a game that dips into two worlds. It is grounded in reality, set in Shibuya. However, yokai and ominous characters from Japanese folklore lurk around every corner. An ominous person named Hannya lets chaos loose on the city. Fog turns people into spirits. Gates open. An exorcist that could have helped deal with it all is killed, but bound to a young man. More importantly, a recent hands-off preview event offered enlightening details about how Ghostwire: Tokyo’s gameplay works.
Things began quite early in the game. It hasn’t been long since Hannya attacked the city. Akito fused with KK, an exorcist who described himself as “one of the country’s guard dogs who ran with a pack of strays.” This is represented visually as a sort of black fog over Akito’s right eye. (It also means that, in certain situations, you can leave certain actions to KK instead of handling it yourself.) Things began with the “duo” heading to Yugenzaka to start handling the city’s issues.
It’s here that a sort of gameplay loop begins to form for Ghostwire: Tokyo. As Akito explores Shibuya, he will come across shrines and Torii Gates. These gates will need to be cleansed. After he does, he’ll gain access to shrines. These can contain things like katashiro that can be used to save spirits or new abilities. For example, during the preview session Akito started with a wind-based attack, then gained a fire-based one from one shrine. Gaining access to the shrine will also open up areas on the map. Which means he’s growing in strength and helping to take back the city.
But what happens with a katashiro? These are paper dolls that can be used as talismans. In Ghostwire Tokyo, people might come across spirits of folks who encountered the fog. By using a katashiro, their spirits can be collected and preserved. (You can get them from shrines or your friendly neighborhood nekomata in a convenience store.) Once you have one, heading to a pay phone can provide an opportunity to send them “outside” the barrier around the city. KK’s associate Ed set up the system. The game even keeps track of how many folks you saved. For example, during the preview session about 200 had been collected of the 240,000.
While heading to shrines, collecting spirits, and fighting visitors along the way are one part of Ghostwire: Tokyo gameplay, exploring locations seems to be too. For example, during the session Akito headed back to KK’s former apartment. There he collected a bow KK had found before things went awry. However, while there another being with ill intent set up a barrier around the building. It could crush everyone inside, as well as alter reality within it. Akito needed to head around to find barrier stones. This meant exploring both the inside and outside of apartments there. When indoors, things would shift. Even some mild platforming was shown as a place’s dimensions would shift and furnishings like couches would be suspended in midair. Once the barrier was dealt with, Akito could use Spectral Vision to follow the shadow of the offender and attempt to track them.
While the Visitor enemies and Akito were definitely around, they weren’t the only residents of Shibuya shown during the session. Early on in the footage, a Shiba Inu appeared. It was barking at something unseen. It served as a warning that a Visitor lurked in an alleyway. When wandering the streets, tengu flew above. Akito could grapple onto them to reach a building’s roof. One side quest on the way to the Shiroyama Shrine involved the spirit of an old woman concerned about her zashiki-warashi. Akito could take on the quest to save zashiki warashi, exorcise the corrupted person holder her hostage, and then gain her power as a reward.
So for now, we know of a handful of the tasks Akito (and KK) will tackle as part of Ghostwire: Tokyo’s gameplay. Eliminating Visitors will be a regular occurrence. So will cleansing shrines and saving citizens’ spirits. There will also be occasions where you’ll investigate areas to take down barriers, as well as cleanse and purify corrupted areas or people. However, this is only a portion of things to come. More will likely come up as its 2022 draws nearer.
Ghostwire: Tokyo will come to the PS5 and PC on March 25, 2022.