Ghostwire: Tokyo gameplay shows it's more of a magical brawler than a horror game

Ghostwire: Tokyo
(Image credit: Tango Gameworks)

I have a very limited capacity for horror games, and so my first reaction to Ghostwire: Tokyo, the new project from Evil Within studio Tango Gameworks, was, "Eh, I don't need this stress." But the more I've seen of it, the more interested I've become.

A new 18-minute gameplay trailer posted today by IGN (watch it here) really cements that impression. It's definitely weird, but the player character is way too much of a heavy hitter for any real aspect of horror to enter into it. It's more of a supernatural stealth-brawler: Use your powers to find some bad guys, sneak up on them, and throw hands.

Of course, there's a lot more than just fistfights going on here. As Mollie put it in her recent preview, your primary weapon in Ghostwire: Tokyo is—and I quote—"cool dancey hand magic," known within the game's lexicon as Ethereal Weaving. Among other things, the power enables players to deliver a beatdown onto enemies and, when the time is right, to tear out their "core," a sort of quick-and-dirty exorcism of the demons that have turned all the people of Tokyo into spirits that are being sucked into the void, which is why the place is so damn empty. Like I said, it's weird.

A more specific example of that weirdness occurs during the early bit of the video, when the player hunts down something called a kappa with a cucumber. But as it turns out, it's contextually appropriate weirdness: A kappa, according to Wikpedia, is an amphibious spirit in Japanese folklore, and yes, they have a deep fondness for cucumbers. (They also apparently make a hobby of pulling the shirikodama out of their victims by way of their anus, and it'll be fun to see how that plays out in the game.)

The segment also served up one of my favorite bits of captioning in recent times:

(Image credit: Tango Gameworks)

Ghostwire: Tokyo is set to come out on March 25. A free visual novel that sets up the events in the game called Ghostwire: Tokyo – Prelude is now available on Steam.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.