Title: Tokyo Ghoul:re Call to Exist
Developer: Three Rings Inc.
Release Date: November 15, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco
I’m sure that most anime fans had heard about the Tokyo Ghoul series before, which received an anime based on its manga. I found an appreciation for the series and characters, which is why I was interested when I heard about the video game adaptation, Tokyo Ghoul:re Call to Exist. Interestingly, witnessing the development of Ken Kaneki as he copes with suddenly becoming a half-ghoul is a great arc to follow for this story. The themes of this game revolve around the idea of “eat or be eaten,” which is not an easy decision if you want to stay sane while surviving.
Tokyo Ghoul:re Call to Exist opens with Ken Kaneki as he is on a date with a girl he met at a library named Rize. If you thought that this is too good to be true, well, then you’re right. It turns out that Rize is a human eating ghoul who takes the form of a normal-looking human. During the fight for his life against Rize, Ken ends up being saved by some falling rods that pierced through him and his attacker. Luckily, he survives, but Rize doesn’t share the same fate. It turns out that the doctors have used her organs to save Ken’s life, turning him into a half-ghoul. After these events, he has nowhere to go and starts to work at a cafe called “Anteiku,” where a group of ghouls resides who are willing to help him cope with his new identity.
The story takes place after the events of the first season of the anime. Players can play through a single-player mode that contains the main story along with side stories focusing around Ken Kaneki. Sadly, the story felt rushed, which made the entire experience too short. The game is played across several chapters but doesn’t come close to the amount of detail need to understand this ghoulish world.
For players jumping into the series for the first time, the game does offer a short recap of the events from the first season. However, I’d recommend watching the anime or reading the manga to catch you up as this game seems to be more focused on already established fans. The story campaign is completed in only a few hours and doesn’t focus too much time on the world-building. Strangely, you aren’t able to save while in the middle of a chapter to start from a checkpoint as the game only saves after a section is completed.
That said, where the story falls short, the gameplay picks up the slake. The gameplay is action-focused as players run around and fight against inspectors, ghouls, or Quinx until you reach the end boss of the area. During a mission, you’ll be given an objective where you’ll encounter some pretty tough enemies. There are health packs and other helpfull items littered around the level, but the game can become challenging during some sections. If you die, you’re able to revive yourself three times until you’re forced to restart the level.
The directions throughout each mission are clear, and the gameplay is kept reasonably linear. This worked for me because I never felt lost. Sometimes during a mission, it’s possible to skip mobs or powerful enemies, which makes things move quickly, but defeating enemies is needed when health is low because you can eat them to recover. Each character also has a special move, but the animation is always the same, and normal attacks do end up falling more on the repetitive side.
Thankfully, every mode outside of the story mode can be played with a friend, but it was rare to play with someone that wasn’t a friend. During my time with the game, there weren’t a lot of people playing in multiplayer. So I focused on gathering together with friends who were playing, which added to the enjoyment.
During multiplayer modes, players can play through survival, campaign, and PvP modes. For the survival mode, you only have to stay alive for a certain amount of time while fighting off a large group of mobs that keep respawning. The campaign mode borrows areas from the story mode, to allow players to play through them and fight a final boss together. It was difficult for me to play a PvP match because I couldn’t find enough people to play.
Outside of the Story Mode, players also have some customizable options with cosmetics they unlock during gameplay. To unlock these, players have to complete a specific task, reach a certain level, or kill a particular character. The graphics in the game aren’t anything too spectacular, but the animations are well done, which benefited the action gameplay loop.
Tokyo Ghoul:re Call to Exist may not be a game I can recommend solely for its story mode, but I found a lot of joy in its gameplay and multiplayer modes. Finding random people to play with online isn’t always easy, but it was still fun beating up different groups of enemies together as a team.
There is a nice layer of challenging gameplay here, and the lack of combos in the game was made up by just how cool it felt taking out groups of enemies. Newcomers to the series might feel lost at times as the story starts in the middle of the series, which makes it hard to relate to Ken Kaneki’s situation based on the game’s story offerings alone. However, like me, fans of this series will enjoy this dark adventure for what it is.
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