2022 was a great year for video game releases — so great, in fact, that a game like Ghostwire: Tokyo, an altogether good game brimming with character and compelling ideas, may have been relegated to many players’ backlogs. I know that was the case for me. However, I spent much of the 2022 holiday season exploring Tango Gameworks’ ghost-infested facsimile of Japan’s bustling metropolis, and I had a blast. And until Nov. 2, you can download the game for free on PC, provided you have an Amazon Prime subscription.
An open-world action-adventure, Ghostwire: Tokyo marked Tango’s first departure from its excellent The Evil Within series since its founding in 2010. However, the studio’s survival-horror roots are still on full display. Which isn’t a surprise, considering the studio was founded by Resident Evil director/producer Shinji Mikami.
You spend most of the game exploring the haunted alleyways, rooftops, and gardens of the titular city, which has been engulfed in a malignant fog that turns civilians into disembodied spirits. Ghostwire may be known for its hand-based magical combat, but it’s absolutely dripping with ethereal, macabre atmosphere at every turn.
In terms of scale, Ghostwire is infinitely more digestible than the gargantuan open worlds that defined the video games of the 2010s. It’s more akin to the recent Assassin’s Creed Mirage, which focuses on a single city, and thus, gets more mileage out of every square yard than, say, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. My favorite recurring quest-type in Ghostwire tasked me with parsing through the former lives of Tokyoites-turned-spirits. One needed me to find a keepsake that they had hidden in the recesses of their home, while others asked me to cleanse their house of a mischievous demon, the better to grant them peace. As opposed to the frantic nature of The Evil Within 2, Ghostwire is an aggressively languid game, and I loved scouring every inch of its version of Tokyo for the next somber short story.
Ghostwire has its frustrations. Its combat, while initially flashy, is basically a first-person shooter in disguise. Furthermore, its character upgrades don’t do much to alleviate the martial monotony; several of its perks merely decrease the time it takes to pick up certain items. But what it lacks in mechanical innovation, it more than makes up for in ghostly ambience and supernatural vibes. It’s the ideal game to play when you’re not in the mood for anything particularly demanding, and it’s also a great game to celebrate Halloween season. And, again, it’s free on PC for Prime subscribers — along with a handful of other games — until Nov. 2.