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Home Features Ghostwire Tokyo’s Slenderman meets The Evil Within fever dream

Ghostwire Tokyo’s Slenderman meets The Evil Within fever dream

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Ghostwire Tokyo’s Slenderman meets The Evil Within fever dream

Has The Evil Within 2’s lesser-known first-person update inspired Tango Gameworks’ latest venture?

Ghostwire: Tokyo
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Ghostwire: Tokyo is my next obsession. Granted, I’m basing this sweeping forecast mostly on last week’s PS5 PlayStation Showcase gameplay demo, all one minute and 50-odd seconds of it, but the bursts of combat, telekinesis, twisted ghost baddies, and Yoshimitsu-meets-Jigsaw narrator-antagonist had me sold on the spot.    

I will admit it’s early days. Ghostwire: Tokyo was recently delayed to an as yet unconfirmed date in 2022, but it looks like developer Tango Gameworks is on the cusp of delivering something I hoped it would for a while now. Ever since the studio dropped a free and fairly innocuous update for its previous game, The Evil Within 2, over three years ago.

Survival evolved

“At this point, mainstream first-person horror was hardly new, but what surprised me was how well Tango’s narrative, pacing, weaponry, and enemy ensemble suited a more action-heavy approach.”

As a long-standing survival horror fan, I had a bit of a watershed moment while replaying Tango’s previous outing, when, on Valentines Day, 2018, the studio launched a free update which introduced first-person to its story mode. I planned to return and reacquaint myself with Union, but instead was forced to relearn everything I thought I’d mastered. Suddenly, every set-piece required rethinking, every zombie takedown required a new approach, and every boss fight demanded new strategy, as the fresh perspective turned the dynamics of the game on its head. 

At this point, mainstream first-person horror was hardly new – Resident Evil 7, the Outlast series, and even, P.T. had blazed that trail long before The Evil Within 2’s slant on it – but what surprised me was how well Tango’s narrative, pacing, weaponry, and enemy ensemble suited a more action-heavy approach. 

The Evil Within 2’s gameworld even seemed prettier when viewed through the eyes of protagonist Sabastian Castellanos – something I first noticed when breaking cover in the first boss fight against Obscura. When, beyond the ear-piercing screams, the contorted limbs, and the razor-sharp dorsal spines the beast before me yielded while slouching towards me with death in their eyes, I just couldn’t help admiring how gorgeous it and everything around us was. At that moment, I imagined what a fully-blown Tango Gameworks first-person action game might look like – and that’s exactly what Ghostwire: Tokyo appears to be.

I must admit, I’ve unashamedly loved Tango’s previous games, The Evil Within and its sequel The Evil Within 2, warts and all. That frantic battle with the chainsaw-wielding Sadist boss that turned so many people away from the first game in its early stages? Loved it. The brutal button-mashing run-ins with its gigantic Amalgam Alpha sub-bosses that feature later? Loved ’em. The woolly B-movie narrative that’s weaved throughout both games? Big fan.

Deadly premonitions 

I might be inclined to overlook some of Ghostwire’s shortcomings whenever it arrives, then, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s ticking every box for me at this point. I’m intrigued to learn more about the abyss-like leprosy that seems to consume the protagonist. I want to know what that vaporising mist is all about, and where it’s coming from. Who are these Slenderman-like baddies, what’s the deal with the hanging dolls, and are those oversized scissors designed to cut the lassie in the hat’s fringe so it’s no longer covering her face? Questions, questions, questions. 

Then there’s Ghostwire’s otherworldly elements – a theme The Evil Within has always nailed for me – and the superpowers the protagonist yields and, wow, I’m just in. Before departing Tango Gameworks, creative director Ikumi Nakamura billed Ghostwire: Tokyo as an action game which retains the spookiness of the dev’s previous horror ventures, and that’s as good a sell as you can get.

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