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What Ghostwire: Tokyo Taught Me About Open Worlds

What Ghostwire: Tokyo Taught Me About Open Worlds

I notoriously hate open-world games, and I detest that this is the case; many times I've missed the opportunity to enjoy phenomenal games because of my distaste. As such, I've made it my life mission to try and find ways to enjoy open-world games by playing every one that releases. Does that sound like extended torture because I dislike the genre? Yes. Am I going to stop? Not until I can enjoy The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt without quitting halfway.

On my quest, I've played many games: ELDEN RINGFallout 4Sherlock Holmes Chapter One, and I've even spent 69 (nice) hours on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim throughout the numerous versions. These games allowed me to try out their unique takes on open worlds. Some I liked, such as ELDEN RING and Sherlock Holmes Chapter One. Some I disliked, such as everything Bethesda apparently, but it wasn't something that made me look forward to the next open-world title; they still had something I wasn't very fond of. What that was, I couldn't say. It wasn't until I got my hands on Ghostwire: Tokyo that I began to realise exactly what that problem is.

Ghostwire: Tokyo frees you into the city of Tokyo immediately after the tutorial, but the world is closed; a deadly black fog marks a perimeter where you can walk safely. The black fog indicates where you need to go next throughout the opening part, and it serves as another tutorial teaching you how to traverse the world. To clear away some of the fog, you need to get to any of the shrines in the area of Tokyo you are currently in and cleanse them with some hand signs that make me feel like a ninja straight out of Konoha.

Ghostwire Tokyo Image 2

This system of presenting an open world that you can unlock felt very manageable; I wasn't walking around and knowing that I probably missed something beside me because the world is simply so large. In Skyrim, I would find my quest log so full that I started feeling analysis paralysis; I didn't know what to do because there was so much to do, so I opted to do nothing. It's a stupid reaction, but something I noticed happened to me time and time again, and it has been the dominant thing that stops me from being able to enjoy open-world games. My quest log would fill, I would start wanting to help the nice old lady, or the struggling merchant, or the father who just wants a relic back, or the young girl... and suddenly, it was too much. I would freeze, and it made the game overwhelming; even quitting and returning the next day would force me to spend several minutes reading my quest log figuring out what to do.

With Ghostwire: Tokyo, I found that opening the world slowly allowed me to explore everything with so much ease. Finding a fog wall didn't feel like a limit boundary that irritated me; instead, it alleviated the stress of wondering if I'd wandered off too much. In a sense, the restrictions set me free: I could complete a portion of Tokyo without worrying that I'd left something behind or I had missed something since the menu screen offered me that information freely. Through Ghostwire: Tokyo I learned exactly why I hated open-world titles: I couldn't be sure that I hadn't missed something, and the games simply gave me too much to do, which stopped me from completing them.

I'm used to linear storytelling; I'll follow a story through and through if I am given a precise goal to accomplish. With games like The Legend of Zelda or Mario, I'll play the game and complete it 100%, no matter how difficult or how many tasks are given to me. Knowing that I'd possibly left something behind because each area had clear rules (for example, there is a heart piece in every dungeon in Zelda games) allowed me to complete the game and feel accomplished. With Skyrim, no matter how much I tried, I didn't feel like I was doing anything to impact the world, and with Fallout 4, once I finished the main storyline, I felt like I hadn't done much at all despite 225 hours of playing. 

 Ghostwire Tokyo Image 1

Best of all is, Ghostwire: Tokyo's open world lets you explore it at your own pace. If you want to open up all of Tokyo and run rampant across the roofs, you can, but if you want to explore it slowly and ensure you've completed everything, you can do that too. Finishing everything and seeing a section of Tokyo be totally completed elated me: I didn't have too much to do, and I didn't have enough. And finally, I understood why people love open-world games; perhaps one day, I'll be able to too.

Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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