Ghostwire: Tokyo Prelude

Ghostwire: Tokyo is a game. This much I know.

It seems to be about a mysterious fog that engulfs Tokyo and reduces (just about) everyone there to a pile of clothes. From what I can gather, there are supernatural elements beyond just a spooky fog, involving demons and magic finger-tutting. But beyond that, things get a little hazy. As far as the granular, moment-to-moment gameplay, or really any other element outside of “spooky headless schoolgirls scare me,” I’m sort of lost in a fog of my own. 

Hell, considering the title of the game, Ghostwire: Tokyo, it isn’t even clear if this is intended to be the first Ghostwire of many — Ghostwire: Chicago, for example.

This vagueness is exciting from a certain point of view, as it’s nice to not have every element of a game spelled out before it launches. On the other hand, this comes with some hesitation, as it’s tough to purchase a game based solely on the hope that it might be interesting or worthwhile. Even after a lengthy walkthrough-style breakdown earlier in the year, I am still uncertain of what to expect, and very much on the fence.

Ghostwire: Tokyo Prelude

So with the release of a free prelude in the form of a visual novel, I was hoping for some more context, or perhaps a slightly more illuminating glimpse behind the curtain.

After playing said prelude, which took maybe an hour or so to get through… boy, am I still scratching my head. This prelude manages to introduce a few characters and even a little bit of gameplay of its own, but it isn’t exactly clear if any of this will even matter in the full game.

And truth be told, if the combat in Ghostwire: Tokyo requires similar onscreen symbol tracing as this prelude does, this could be the most telling revelation yet that I am not the target audience for this game. But again, it is not entirely clear how much of this visual novel will be indicative of the content of the full release.

Much of this prelude consists of reading the dialog and inner thoughts of KK (the spirit that possesses the player character in Ghostwire: Tokyo), the main character, and three companions that make up the rest of this paranormal investigative team. There is also a young boy who originally tasked the group with their current case: tracking down a missing boy that vanished into a manhole.

Every now and again, the player is presented with a choice of which team member you’d like to ask a specific question to, which can either result in rehashing info you already know, or maybe building a better rapport with Ed, as an example. Mostly all avenues seem to lead to the same intersection, so the choices feel pretty perfunctory.

The combat scenario I spoke of earlier is the only standout moment of real interaction. It is easy to manage, and at least it’s a welcome change to the pace.

Ghostwire: Tokyo Prelude

So here I am, back to where I was before I played this prelude, grasping for straws trying to figure out what the heck this game will even be. I mean, aside from the ghoulish enemies and magic spellcasting combat with light stealth mechanics, will there be downtime in this seemingly open-world game? Will I have a base to rest at and collect my thoughts? I mean, I’m sure at the end of the day this will just be another game in a long line of other games — nothing that’s going to be reinventing wheels — but there still isn’t enough data to be completely sure. 

Either way, Ghostwire: Tokyo releases on March 25, 2022. There is even a pre-order 10% discount going on now for PlayStation owners if you buy it digitally. I am tempted to do just that, but with very little idea of what to expect, I will probably hold off. If it seems up my alley after release? Well, I guess I’ll just pay full price. Discount Shmiscount.

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