Ghostwire: Tokyo was one of the most under-rated Game Pass additions of the year

Ghostwire: Tokyo was one of the most under-rated Game Pass additions of the year

This one’s a bit of a cheat for me because I actually did play Ghostwire: Tokyo when it released in 2022; I played lots of it, in fact, and absolutely did put it on my formally submitted, finger-on-the-pulse GOTY list last year. But nevertheless it’s been as much a 2023 game for me personally as it was a 2022 game, and so I couldn’t fairly do a round-up of my year in games without it.

Ghostwire: Tokyo is a massive beast. It’s the game that led me to the conclusion that everyone, no matter how averse to massive open worlds in general, has it in their hearts to love at least one Ubisoft-like overwhelming map, and Ghostwire is mine. There are dozens of little markers on that map, and I must have them all! I wouldn’t want to miss a single cool ghost, or friendly oni, or whatever else the haunted streets of Shibuya chooses to throw at me today.

There’s an undeniable element of guilt at play here, because a year ago I placed Ghostwire: Tokyo in only second place on my GOTY list, whereas my continued fascination with it throughout 2023 proves that it really should have been in the #1 slot all along. At the time it was a tough call between Ghostwire and another game, and I was maybe being a little bit tactical when I declared the latter my favourite of the year. And in fairness it had a solid claim to be, but to tell you the truth, it didn’t stick with me into 2023 the way I’d expected it to; I’ve certainly yet to be tempted into a replay. Whereas over the course of the same year, even around everything else I’ve had distracting me, I’ve enthusiastically put a couple dozen more hours into my attempt to 100% Ghostwire: Tokyo.

Image credit: Tango Gameworks / Bethesda Softworks

So yes, on a personal level this one’s a little bit of a mulligan. But there’s another reason why Ghostwire: Tokyo genuinely deserves some 2023 recognition, and it’s that Xbox Series X/S players actually got access to the game for the first time this spring. Ghostwire launched on PC and PlayStation 5 in 2022, but had a year of console exclusivity on the latter; and, even though I’m not in possession of a current-gen Xbox, for me its arrival on the system was nevertheless very exciting.

The Spider’s Thread update that rolled out across all systems when Ghostwire hit Xbox was my most-anticipated DLC release of the year (I can feel the side-eye from Phantom Liberty when I say that, but it’s true!) — and it did not disappoint. I’d’ve paid good money to spend a few extra hours spiritually cleansing that haunted middle school and its surrounding district if Tango had come out with it as a paid add-on, but — perhaps due to those interesting licensing shenanigans that caused PlayStation to briefly host their potentially-last-ever Bethesda exclusives — they gave it away for free instead. And the boon is even greater if you’re a Game Pass subscriber, since Ghostwire has been included on the service since its Xbox launch.

Petting the dog in Ghostwire: Tokyo
Image credit: Bethesda/Tango Gameworks

Obviously, Ghostwire: Tokyo has hardly been ignored by players this year: the game celebrated six million players back in September, undoubtedly helped along by Game Pass. But it’s had a weird trajectory as a game that launched on the back of Elden Ring to middling reviews, and much of the affection that seems to have built up towards it has been quietly accumulating in the background with little attention drawn to it. And if my experience is anything to go by, then Ghostwire: Tokyo is a game that deserves the time it takes to really grow on you.

What games did you finally get around to playing in 2023 only to find that they were among the highlights of your year? Let us know in the comments!

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