Ghostwire: Tokyo was an exceptionally good game when it came out for the PlayStation 5 and PCs back in March 2022. The developer Tango Gameworks has since been part of the merging of Bethesda and Microsoft. Exactly one year since the game came out, it has finally come to Xbox Series consoles, as well as some further improvements.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is an atmospheric, supernatural, open-world action game with an emphasis on the exploration of the city of Tokyo. The story combined elements of The X-Files, Yu Yu Hakusho, and a little bit of Tango’s own, The Evil Within. All of these elements were tied together with spiritual elemental combat, platforming, and one of the best realized and vertical takes of the famed Japanese metropolitan city.
It was good before, and now it’s even better. What has been added since 2022? How has Ghostwire: Tokyo changed? How does this former PlayStation 5 exclusive hold its own on an Xbox Series S?
When Ghostwire: Tokyo came out on PlayStation 5, it was impressive with its immense level of detail when realizing a dense haunted urban jungle. Asset recycling was kept to a minimum and was relied on tastefully and logically. While roaming the streets, there was never a sense of every place looking the same.
It always feels like it was either raining or the rain had just stopped. The always-soaked streets glisten and catch the colorful lights from the building signs and shimmering neon advertisements. A foreboding fog envelops the shrines and bamboo thickets giving the setting a mystical air.
There is no game with an atmosphere like Ghostwire: Tokyo. The tone and feelings that permeate the setting are what carry the experience and elevate the gameplay. The combat is functionally like most shooters, but the way it is dressed up with esoteric hand gestures and the creative sound design give the game a unique personality.
The enemies go a long way in distinguishing Ghostwire: Tokyo from other games. The visitors and various threatening yokai range from the comical karakasa-obake to the frightful unmasked kuchisake. Enemies have distinct types and each type had more powerful variants to up the ante when gamers grew powerful.
Rainwalkers came with umbrellas and were able to block attacks, as well as use telekinesis to hurl stray objects at the player. Paper dolls were support foes that stayed far away and relied on slow-moving projectiles which could be a protective barrier for their allies.
With the new Xbox Series conversion of Ghostwire: Tokyo, the boys at Tango have included a few new enemies to shake up gamers who think they know their way around Tokyo. Silent gaze is a new threat that resembles a fat man made of putty, has a lot of health, and can turn invisible. Retribution is a female snake-like phantom naga creature that swims through the streets.
As if having new enemies to battle wasn’t enough, some added cutscenes give more information about the story. Details like KK’s past and his relationship with the rest of the organization are fleshed out and some scenes are slightly rewritten to better explain how concepts like the ethereal weaving work.
There are also new sidequests and locations. The local middle school can be entered and it is fully realized with multiple floors and rooms too. With all this new content, Akito and KK are going to need new abilities. With this update, combat is more flexible and has more possibilities than ever.
Akito can perform side-stepping dodges, has alternate attacks for each of his elemental shots, and can chain multiple aerial takedowns. These new additions become necessary when playing in the new mode, “Spider’s Thread”.
This mode takes many of Ghostwire: Tokyo‘s elements and throws them together in a compelling and addictive rogue-lite mixture. Akito will start fresh at level one- sorry but his progress from the main game does not carry over and it is because his skill tree is completely redesigned in this mode. Thankfully, he won’t lose his level of progress or skills upon death.
Akito will spawn in a small partitioned area of Tokyo and will have a few objectives to complete and then will have to reach an exit portal. From there he will move on to another area and eventually a battle arena and will have to survive a few waves of enemies. After completing a block, Akito gets to visit the cat merchants where he can buy consumables or prayer beads which can augment his stats.
The cycle in Spider’s Thread is stimulating and is free of the more annoying aspects of rogue gameplay. All locations are small enough that they don’t drag. Totals for collectibles are shown on screen so there is never any question of anything got left behind.
A round of stages does not go on so long that fatigue or boredom can set in.
Spider’s Thread is a wonderful bonus that takes the core mechanics of Ghostwire: Tokyo and transforms it into something that is arcade-like and quickly digestible.
Ghostwire: Tokyo looks and runs on a humble Xbox Series S as well as it did on a PlayStation 5. This is a very faithful port that has very similar settings and specs. On Series S, it still targets 60 frames per second, and it’s very stable while exploring indoor locations.
The framerate gets a tad shaky while in the city and when battles begin and many enemies are charging at Akito. Thankfully, Ghostwire: Tokyo has very responsive and twitchy controls that input lag isn’t noticeable. Since it runs exceptionally on Series S, it is a guarantee it will look and run better on a Series X.
Anyone who slept on Ghostwire: Tokyo is in a great position to finally give it a chance. It was already a great game that has been made better and now Xbox Series X|S owners can give it a chance. For fans of the supernatural, the surreal and beautiful imagery peppered into a open-world action RPG should not miss Ghostwire: Tokyo.
Ghostwire: Tokyo was reviewed on Xbox Series S using a review code provided by Bethesda. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Ghostwire: Tokyo is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.