Ghostwire: Tokyo – Zero Punctuation

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People often say to me, “Yahtzee, you devilishly handsome sex god who certainly never recycles old gags that he’s pretty sure most people would have forgotten by now, are there any games coming in particular you are looking forward to? To which I say “Bitch, I have to play a new game every week. They all merge together. It’s like asking a drowning man if there are any particular breaths of fresh air he looks forward to once he surfaces. But as far as I’m looking forward to something, I was looking forward to Ghostwire Tokyo, because that was Shinji Mikami’s new studio IP. Who is Shinji Mikami, you ask? Oh nobody, just the guy who made Resident Evil. And Resident Evil 4 and God Hand and Vanquish and the Evil Within and yet don’t seem to have achieved the rockstar status of a Miyamoto or a Kojima. I mean, I don’t even know what he looks like at first glance. Maybe it’s because he focuses less on self-promotion and more on being really good at developing video games. So, I just want to say that I appreciate you, Shinji Mikami, for all your years as a positive force for innovation in this ever-stagnant industry. You are one of the good guys. Now, what is this new game about?

Well, it’s an open-world stealth action game with collectibles and – OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. I KNEW THEY HAD YOU TOO, YOU POD PERSON HACK. Yahtzee wait! I didn’t say DIY! There’s no tinkering there! Oh, well, get the band going. The usual instrument of my torture has had its anal distention function deactivated. Halle-fucking-lujah. Well, that’s unfair. Ghostwire Tokyo feels different from today’s pervasive Jiminy Cockthroat culture. It feels older in its sensibility, like a game that might have come out ten years ago. A specific, in fact: it reminds me of ZombiU. You remember ? About how it’s a first-person survival horror with a slightly claustrophobic worldview and may have been funded by a specific city’s tourist board. Not that a contemporary Japanese game needs an excuse to spend all its time pushing Japanese culture as much as it can, as I’ve observed in reviews of Yakuza and Persona games. I always wonder what the Japanese public thinks of it when reading item descriptions. “A Yukata is a traditional form of kimono commonly worn at summer festivals in Japan-“Yeah, we know, game, we all live here.

Anyway, in Ghostwire Tokyo we play as Akito, a young man who gets caught in a car accident, then the ghost of a dead asshole tries to steal his body, and then everyone in Tokyo gets abducted except him in an apocalyptic supernatural event, then the evil necromancer who made him kidnaps his comatose sister. Fucking hell. What do the Japanese use for good luck? Maneki Nekos, thank you menu item description. Apparently Akito needed to buy about five hundred fuckers. Luckily, it turns out that the dead asshole trying to possess him is a dead asshole paranormal detective, and so combining his magical exorcism powers with Akito’s powers of being alive and physically there, the pair set off to fight the legions of evil spirits that now infest Tokyo, thwart the villain and rescue Princess Peach. Now, one word that, in retrospect, doesn’t quite fit this survival horror game is “horror.” There’s no gore and it’s not scary. Yes, there are spooky ghost designs like the umbrella-wielding wage earners that look like Slenderman’s tough dad, but it’s hard to feel intimidated by them when you regularly sneak up on them and obliterate them with atomic wedgies. It’s more of a supernatural detective thriller with first-person shooter combat.

In fact, come to think of it, there isn’t much “survival” in survival horror either. You attack by crafting magic finger guns that fire a variety of elemental projectiles, and the game throws enough magic ammo at you to fill a public bullet pit with incredibly poor health and safety compliance. The landscape is infested with flickering, flickering magic ammo-dispensing furniture and the monsters all keep emergency ammo refills in their eminently wedgie-able panties. And there’s no shortage of healing items either, which here take the form of popular Japanese snacks, because of course they are. Quite a variety of them too, and I’m afraid any benefit gained from including every conceivable flavor of an individually wrapped triangular rice ball was lost on me because I was just mashing the button Quick healing whenever I needed it and Akito would scarf down the closest food item to hand without even glancing at the package. We could have survived exclusively on dishwasher tablets as far as I know. The combat itself has its issues – the combination of dark, dark environments with flickering neon-colored snot on your fingertips right next to your face makes it hard to follow the action at times.

And your projectiles lack a satisfying sense of impact. Water-based magic attacks, in particular, are as damaging as throwing a bucket of dishwater at an invading enemy. But overall, Ghostface Wartybum has a not atypical open-world problem in that the core experience isn’t so much “survival” as it is “concierge”. Once you unlock the whole map if we don’t do critical path missions we just jump from one copy pasted icon to the next sucking up groups of enemies and random lost souls for experience and picking up collectible Japanese trash in return for cash payouts that have next to no use unless you really want to kit yourself out with a cosmetic pair of traditional Japanese high top shoes that no one will ever see because it’s a single-player first-person game, numbs. If you insist on completing checklists 100 percent and you have weird blocks resulting from when the teacher gave you a gold star for having the tidiest desk in the whole class and that was the only time you experienced Self-Esteem, so maybe you’ll find some appeal here, everyone else might find the gameplay a bit forgettable.

But there is something to be said for the atmosphere of Ghostwire. There’s a strong sense of place in its densely detailed realization of Tokyo’s claustrophobic sprawl, and there’s something captivating about exploring it in spooky abandoned form, a familiar realism coated with a sprinkle of supernatural plot, littered with ubiquitous piles of self-shedding clothing. Create the implication that once you rescue everyone from the Spirit World, there will be a lot of confusing nudity on the streets of Tokyo, which might be an appealing enough image to keep you motivated. It is, in a word, immersive. Until you realize you can just climb rooftops and cruise around sliding from building to building like you’re playing extreme, the floor is lava, but that’s fun on its own . So in the end, I’d describe Worst Gore Pinocchio as a pretty decent six-hour action adventure with some great visuals if generic gameplay and a large, flaccid open world that clings to it is arguably necessary unless you’re in virtual tourism. I mean Google Street View is all well and good but how can one experience a real world city after it’s been abandoned but for chaotic crowds of pale, hostile, perversions of humanity? Other than being in Coventry city center at three in the morning.