Bandai Namco has become a well-known publisher of anime and manga games. Some of their games are hit and miss for me and just seem to take the, “it worked for this one” approach to their games. Tokyo Ghoul: re Call to Exist is the newest title in their publisher library. Instead of being a fighter based game or action based game with a hub area, this game falls into an action genre, but closer to a brawler type. It was not the most fun time, which I will explain. This is our Tokyo Ghoul: re Call to Exist review.
The copy I reviewed was for PS4 but the game can also be played on PC and Xbox. If you choose to partake just know the gameplay can feel very repetitive as it is a brawler, though that is not the only reason why. Frankly, it’s mostly because of the way things are in the game itself.
Tokyo Ghoul: re Call to Exist has a main single-player mode called Recollections. This is the main story from the anime and manga retold through little vignettes of the important story parts. You don’t play any one single character solely. Each level switches characters so it gives you a chance to experience the different playstyles for when you decide to take on multiplayer (optional) campaign mode, survival mode, and/or battle mode. In multiplayer modes, you can create your own character too. I’ll get more into this later.
The gameplay is simple. Let’s take a look at a typical level. You start with a cutscene or intro. As you play through a level, enemies are thrown at you. These enemies are very generic and have no real set difference between them besides clothing. Even the so-called “Strong Enemies” are very generic unless they are a character from the series. As you progress through some areas, there are different objectives. The objectives run the gamut from beating a certain number of enemies or a specific enemy or collecting things or destroying objects or even surviving for a set amount of time. This is not all that bad.
The main issue I have with the game levels is that every time you move forward there is a little cutscene to show enemies appearing or pointing out an objective. After the first few levels, it is very disruptive to gameplay. I would rather have liked to run around with enemies simply being there without all the not-so-subtle hints. It became annoying to be moving through a level, beating an objective and then taking just a small step forward and it happens…again. This would also happen at times when a strong enemy appeared. Frustrating is the best word to describe how each and every level felt.
At first, the controls felt really clunky for the game play. They still are but I got used to them. I expected there to be a jump button for me to leap over obstacles or to avoid attacks, but there isn’t. There is a button for climbing, however. For characters with supernatural abilities to not be able to jump feels odd.
The attacks do sometimes flow together in a nice combo but not always. I found when using the two different unique actions some weapons were easier to flow between than with other weapons. It could be for weapon style that there is that difference but for me it made me prefer using the weapons where I could attack smoother than the others where I couldn’t.
I’ve read the manga and watched the anime and can say the story of Tokyo Ghoul is great and really interesting. You don’t get a lot of that from the game. I would say that you don’t need to have watched or read Tokyo Ghoul prior to playing the game, but it definitely seems to be made for fans of the show. Little detail is provided for a lot of things and characters so someone unfamiliar with the series may feel a bit lost.
The main solo story is just vignettes of major parts of the story. You don’t get any of the good background stuff the good story brings. Then again this game is not made for the story but I think that is where it will lose some of the connection to its namesake. All the repetitive elements in gameplay makes it lack replayability for me.
In the multiplayer modes you can create your own character for all three of the factions; Ghouls, Investigators, and Quinx. The creator is not as robust as it is in many of their other published games but it is a plus that it has a character creator at all. I know there are many Tokyo Ghoul fans that come up with an OC (Original Character) for the series and this gives us a chance to make it on a limited scale. It’s worth noting that not everything is unlocked from the start. You have to acquire certain achievements to unlock more customization pieces for the hair, mask, outfit and weapon options.
The meat of the game is in the multiplayer. You don’t only make your character, you build them in a sense. The items you get after completing a level are materials used for improving your weapon skills. You have the option to build your character to be a damage dealer by unlocking and equipping all attack damage+ skills to your weapon. This is where the replayability does come into play. If you really want to build character to your perfection and unlock skills, weapons and costume pieces you are going to replay as much as needed to unlock everything.
In the campaign mode, you are just completing stages with three other players or NPCs. In most cases, this can be pretty fun playing with friends and seeing other players’ customization. Survival is as it sounds, surviving a horde of enemies for a certain amount of time. Battle mode has two different modes to select from, Team deathmatch and Point match. For both campaign and survival modes, the stage dictates which of class of character you will play.
Overall Tokyo Ghoul: re Call to Exist is an okay game. I could not play it for its long after realizing the gameplay loop and experiencing the annoying camera pans it does when entering a new space. The multiplayer is as fun as I expected it to be. Playing with other people is really pretty fun. I wish the character creator was a bit more robust and that it really allowed me to make my character. With friends and other people, it is fun, but alone it gets old quick. If you want to give it a try you can pick it up for PS4 and PC. If you have played it, what are your thoughts on it?