Ghostwire: Tokyo

As we get close to the end of yet another year, it is time to take stock of the video games that were played during the course of 2022, only to weed out the chaff from the wheat, so to speak. Considering how few games I played that actually came out this year, 2022 is actually a lot easier than previous years to isolate the highs of, because I only bought games that I was excited for, and, for the most part, none of them failed to deliver.

Ghostwire: Tokyo is a bit of an odd duck. This is a Bethesda Softworks-published game from developer Tango Gameworks that has a presumably time-limited PlayStation exclusivity — perhaps the last of its kind since Microsoft gobbled Bethesda up. But Ghostwire: Tokyo was also one of the best games I played this year.

At its core, Ghostwire: Tokyo is merely a competent, repetitive, and at times grinding par-for-the-course open-world game. It traffics heavily in the Ubisoft model, where you’ll unlock portions of the map via mini tower challenges, and it only offers about a dozen different enemy types throughout its entire 20ish-hour campaign. The dialogue and mission structures are familiar, and the bizarre story isn’t quite bizarre enough to really stand out — this isn’t a Swery game, after all.

Ghostwire: Tokyo

But there is something incredibly addictive about its collectathon grind, which found me running around, vacuuming up ghosts in hopes of collecting the game’s thousands of souls for no real reason other than as an excuse to spend more time in this world. Too many other games fall victim to their artificial bloat via mindless side content, so it’s refreshing to get lost in this type of game experience again. But a good part of it is perhaps due to the incredibly detailed and well-realized rendition of a rain-soaked, ghoul-infested Tokyo. This is perhaps the most interesting and striking game world I have had the pleasure of exploring in quite some time.

And even though the combat is quite shallow — it never really evolves all that much throughout the campaign — it is easy to grasp and challenging enough to have some fun with. And that’s to say nothing of the dopamine rush that comes from the visual effects alone, with its magical snaps and pops general cool feeling. It speaks volumes that even a simplistic combat system can feel satisfying without getting tiresome or boring, even after the grind to find all of the upgrades and trinkets that let you deal more damage or up your defense or earn you all sorts of other perks.

Ghostwire: Tokyo

Even now, I still think back to my time spent with KK, wrecking house while trying to save my sister and, by proxy, the world. I even keep my eye out for a solid sale so I can pick up another copy of Ghostwire: Tokyo for my Steam Deck so I can experience it all over again from the cradle of my crotch.

So yeah, Ghostwire: Tokyo is one of the best games I played in 2022.

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