If you're starting playing Ghostwire: Tokyo after it came to Game Pass this week, I have a hot tip for you: prioritise upgrading movement abilities. The freedom to glide from rooftop to rooftop over haunted Tokyo will bring you so much more joy than any incremental damage upgrade. That's the most important thing I have to say, that it makes for good virtuatourism.
Oh, and I suppose a free content arrived this week too, adding new side-missions, handy new combat abilities, and a new "rogue-lite" mode. The update, uh, apparently also added Denuvo, over a year after the game launched? Cool, cool.
First, for newcomers: yes, do focus on upgrading the abilities extending glide time. I know the damage abilities are tempting because help you do ghostmurder. I know the utility abilities sound useful. I also know that the best part of Ghostwire is exploring the big spooky haunted house that Tokyo has become. It's a joy to walk the streets, and I really enjoyed the transgressive thrill of clambering and gliding over rooftops to see mundane sights from new angles, like a secret criminal form of tourism. It's nice to see how this virtuacity fits together, too, figure out the connective tissue between landmarks.
In our Ghostwire: Tokyo review, Matthew Castle was especially fond of mundane areas. He said, "it's actually when the game leaves the more iconic landmarks that it got under my skin, pushing into suburbs and forgotten social projects, far from the tourist traps.
"Yes, it helps that everyone has vanished, but even so, the fringes of the map carry more of a supernatural throb to them - especially the disquieting, looming apartment complexes built to accommodate the post-war urban boom. Here, in these uniform blocks, marked with stark lettering and soundtracked with the cawing of birds, the game finally finds the chilling effect that can't quite take root in busier areas. It's a side of Tokyo I've not seen in much pop culture and feels like something that only a team fully embedded in the city's history would tap into."
So you want the gliding upgrades to help with that. It's quite magical to leap from one apartment complex and land on their neighbours' roof. It's an upgrade which just makes the game feel better, more free, more joyous. And it's useful too. Oh, but the ability which lets you summon tengu (aka grappling hook anchors) in places where there is none? While it is undeniably helpful, it does ruin the fun a bit by removing the pathfinding from platforming. Get it if you need it, but don't be surprised if it feels hollow.
Oh, and after gliding, get the upgrades which speed up absorbing spirits into Katashiro, which is a colossal waste of time until upgraded. That's it. That's all I have to suggest. Go forth and bust ghosts.
I guess you might want to hear about the new stuff too? The main feature of the Spider's Thread Update is a new mode named, well, The Spider's Thread. It is a "rogue-lite" gauntlet mode sending you through all sorts of challenges, buying upgrades and gaining perks along a run. The update also brings new monster types for variety (I'm not a huge fan of 'em?), a few new items, and some new side-missions, but the most exciting part of the whole update for me is new combat tricks.
Four new unlockable abilities have arrived. A welcome dodge lets you zip out the way of attacks by hitting shift. The Ground Pound is, you know, a ground pound. The Perfect Block Counter unleashes an AoE shockwave if you nail block timing. And my favourite is the Aerial Quick Purge, letting you grapple over to an unaware enemy beneath you and take them down straight away. You can even chain purges if you get an upgrade, and another upgrade offers 10 seconds silent footsteps after the move, for a sneaky murder spree. These are nice moves. The dodge, perfect counter, and aerial purge feel like they should've been in the game all along, plugging holes in your combat capabilities.
One big addition not in the patch notes, and certainly not expected or wanted, was Bethesda seemingly adding Denuvo Anti-Tamper to the game. DSOGaming and players are reporting that the controversial and unpopular software is now jammed into Ghostwire's guts.
Denuvo is anti-piracy technology which many big-budget games use at launch to deter pirates in the initial launch period, then typically remove either after Denuvo is cracked for that game or simply when piracy is less of a concern. It's been found to cause performance problems in some games and cause bugginess for some users, and has even made games impossible to play at times. Its presence does nothing good for people playing the game.
It is extremely weird to see Denuvo seemingly added to a game 13 months after launch. We can only hope it is soon purged like so many unwanted ghosties.