Title: GhostWire: Tokyo A Spider's Thread
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Release Date: April 12, 2023
Reviewed On: Xbox Series X
Genre: FPS RPG
I’ll be the one to say it, GhostWire: Tokyo didn’t receive enough love when it launched last year. However, now that the exclusivity deal is over with PC and PlayStation, the gloves come off for the free update, A Spider’s Thread. More than just a new game mode, Tango Gameworks created more reasons to jump back into this nightmarish Tokyo to experience an expanded narrative, new area, and roguelike-inspired gauntlet.
GhostWire: Tokyo A Spider’s Thread does expand on a few crucial story scenes that I feel attempt to clear up any confusion players may have had with the narrative. While the answers to some of these new scenes could have been found in optional quests or text, this puts it front and center. Returning players may question whether they’ve seen these scenes, but I noticed the new interactions, which enhance a first or even second playthrough of the adventure.
Another reason to return is the school, which acts more like a haunted house, as the game does a lot to scare you throughout the halls. The interactions between Akito and KK during these new missions are pretty great. I mean, I felt attached to their symbiotic friendship before, but these added exchanges go a long way in delivering a great gameplay experience.
Further, new abilities can be found, which take some getting used to. Given that the action already required you to use nearly every button on the controller to perform combos with magic, talismans, and a bow, the added melee options to add elements to your attack give you a reason to get in close. These end up helping higher-difficulty runs, given the low ammunition count and high HP of enemies.
These added skills just give you more options for approaching combat, greatly benefiting those playing for the first time. Access to these new systems provides an entirely new gaming experience than I remember on the PS5. The added quality-of-life features made returning even more fun, as the controls have become more refined since the initial launch.
GhostWire: Tokyo A Spider’s Thread also adds a new game mode that unlocks after completing Chapter 2. A Spirde’s Thread is accessed from the Title Screen and takes Akito and KK to an alternate universe full of ghostly trials and cats. Here, players are tasked with making their way through 30 levels of trials. The levels are not procedurally generated and are crafted to test the player’s skills. Yes, things can get challenging, but there are a few systems in place that make it easier.
Upon death, players will be sent back to Level 1 with most of their money lost. However, skills, levels, and some equipment are held onto. This allows players to be a little stronger each run to get further, hopefully, but you’re also at the mercy of your skills.
Abilities have been pretty much reset in this mode, and players will need to unlock them using money found in the trials. The layout of trials is random, but I did notice the later levels are much more difficult. Once you enter a level, a mission is provided, which asks various things, such as get to the end of the level, save some souls, or even answer a question. Then, every few floors, you’ll fight a boss and gain access to The Cat’s Paw, a store run by cats to purchase Talisman and earn rewards.
After a few runs, you’ll be equipped to reach the lower levels, but this mode is relentless. Each level tells you how much money or items is in, and you’re given the choice of risk versus reward. Do you just go to the next level or fight a group of enemies for some much-needed Spirit Thread used for items? It’s a question that I asked myself constantly and one that killed me many times.
Restarting isn’t completely frustrating after a few upgrades. These early levels become more accessible and manageable as you understand their quirks and strategic ways of getting through unharmed. However, there are some challenging encounters, as all the most formidable enemies from the base game are found here.
There’s a story to this mode that unlocks as you progress. Its primary purpose is to make your being in this universe make sense, but its staying power may differ from player to player. There were moments when my eagerness to get to the next level caused me to disconnect from the narrative as I had to keep my heart rate up for the battles ahead.
As a returning player, I had a great time replaying this adventure. I urge those who venture into the yokai-infested streets of Tokyo to play until the end because the story and overall lore of this experience shouldn’t be glossed over or left in your backlog. Some issues return in terms of control when judging distances or general navigation, but it becomes easier over time.
GhostWire: Tokyo A Spider’s Thread enhances the base experience, adding a new mode and refined systems. It gives players a reason to return to the adventure to finish for the first time or play through again with new missions and added story context. A Spider’s Thread mode also tests player skills through creative challenges and adorable interactions with cats.
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