PETER HOSKIN reviews Ghostwire

A fun ride infused with the spirit of a demonhunter: PETER HOSKIN reviews Ghostwire – Tokyo and Stranger Of Paradise – Final Fantasy Origin

Ghostwire: Tokyo (PlayStation, PC, £59.99)

Rating:

Verdict: Sightseeing by night 

I ain’t afraid of no ghost. At least not in Ghostwire: Tokyo. Despite this game being made by the studio behind the full-on horror series The Evil Within, and despite it taking place in a Tokyo overrun by leering, bendy-limbed ghouls, this is a fun ride rather than a fear factory.

It feels like other fun rides, too. As Akito, a dude infused with the spirit of a demonhunter, you’ll vault around the scenery and blast at baddies with your powers. 

You’ll complete side quests for people who, in this case, happen to be ghosts. You’ll clear out areas of an expansive map.

As Akito, a dude infused with the spirit of a demonhunter, you’ll vault around the scenery and blast at baddies with your powers

As Akito, a dude infused with the spirit of a demonhunter, you’ll vault around the scenery and blast at baddies with your powers

Think a mix of Call Of Duty and Assassin’s Creed — or just think Far Cry — and you’ll pretty much have it.

But that’s also selling Ghostwire: Tokyo short. Not only does it do these familiar things well, it also does some unfamiliar things. The more I played it, the more, well, possessed I became by its distinct charms.

For one, there’s its look. Ghostwire: Tokyo has plenty of visual imagination, in both its outdoor settings — a city shrouded by fog, punctuated by fluorescent lights, and littered with the clothes of departed spirits — and indoor ones. The first time someone’s apartment starts glitching and shifting is quite something.

Then there’s its loving interest in Japanese culture. Everything, from the ghosts to the restorative snacks, is rooted in tradition and explained in supplementary text. I spent a good while reading — and enjoying — those descriptions in the game’s menu.

A few games over the past year, like Forza Horizon 5, have stood in for tourism in the time of Covid. 

Now, unexpectedly, Ghostwire: Tokyo joins the list. Welcome to Japan. Just watch out for the phantoms.

For one, there’s its look. Ghostwire: Tokyo has plenty of visual imagination, in both its outdoor settings — a city shrouded by fog, punctuated by fluorescent lights, and littered with the clothes of departed spirits — and indoor ones

For one, there’s its look. Ghostwire: Tokyo has plenty of visual imagination, in both its outdoor settings — a city shrouded by fog, punctuated by fluorescent lights, and littered with the clothes of departed spirits — and indoor ones

Everything, from the ghosts to the restorative snacks, is rooted in tradition and explained in supplementary text. I spent a good while reading — and enjoying — those descriptions in the game’s menu

Everything, from the ghosts to the restorative snacks, is rooted in tradition and explained in supplementary text. I spent a good while reading — and enjoying — those descriptions in the game’s menu

Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £59.99)

Rating:

Verdict: Stranger and stranger 

The Final Fantasy series has had spin-offs before now — including the magisterial Final Fantasy Tactics games — but none have spun off quite as crazily as Stranger Of Paradise.

It goes down like a cocktail made from immiscible liquids. The story is borrowed, loosely, from 1987’s original Final Fantasy. The soundtrack features Frank Sinatra’s My Way. The hero, a sword-toting lump of muscle called Jack, is, I don’t know, the villain from a soap opera? He intones ‘I want to kill Chaos’ a lot.

But it’s the action, drafted in from the Dark Souls series, that’s particularly surprising – in a good way. Stranger of Paradise has you dodging and slashing in the precise, demanding manner of other Soulslike games, except it offers greater fluidity between different combat styles and a broader line-up of monsters than most of the other copycats.

Which just added to my bafflement. The moment-to-moment gameplay feels wonderful, but almost everything else is messy or just plain bad. Stranger really is the word. 

The Final Fantasy series has had spin-offs before now — including the magisterial Final Fantasy Tactics games — but none have spun off quite as crazily as Stranger Of Paradise

The Final Fantasy series has had spin-offs before now — including the magisterial Final Fantasy Tactics games — but none have spun off quite as crazily as Stranger Of Paradise

Stranger of Paradise has you dodging and slashing in the precise, demanding manner of other Soulslike games, except it offers greater fluidity between different combat styles and a broader line-up of monsters than most of the other copycats

Stranger of Paradise has you dodging and slashing in the precise, demanding manner of other Soulslike games, except it offers greater fluidity between different combat styles and a broader line-up of monsters than most of the other copycats

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