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In praise of Ghostwire: Tokyo's animals - especially the cats

I don't think ghosts are cat people, though

I have now received most (but not quite all) of my stuff after moving, so I have a TV and two (2) consoles to play games on. One thing I've been playing recently is Ghostwire: Tokyo, a ghost huntin' action game that's a bit less weird and a bit more "kind of like an Ubisoft game" than I was expecting. But I like Ubisoft games just fine, so I'm having a blast - plus there are still some clutch ghost fights to be hand when I run out of finger-ammo for my magic hands.

I am extra delighted by the animals, though. For whatever reason, they are unaffected by the evil fog that has swept through Tokyo and turned everyone into spirits, so there are a few dogs and cats just sitting around and (and this is the good bit) you can read their thoughts.

You can do this in Ghostwire: Tokyo by doing what I've been calling "the drippy thing", which is techically when you use your exorcist powers to see the supernatural. Like Batman's detective vision but for ghosts, and it makes a loud water drip noise whenever you do it. But as well as locating enemies, whose crystalised hearts you then rip out - right out of their chests, you rip them - the drippy thing allows you to talk to animals and it's great. Especially the cats.

Regular cats aren't the only cats in the game, in fairness. Sales staff disappeared in the spectral purge like everyone else, so shops for in-game items are staffed by yokai cats. They're floating spirit kitties who miaow, and have a kind of Cats-The-Musical vibe of low-grade horniness as they laugh and bounce in mid air. They also ask you to find collectibles and/or spend loads of money.

There are also tanuki, the little raccoon-dogs, who in this game seem to be, like, a crew of New York construction workers on holiday who got separated and lost. Finding all of them is a collectible sidequest, and I love them.

Talking to a collector nekomata vendor in Ghostwire: Tokyo.

But the regular cats are great! As far as I can tell from my four-ish hours in the game, they can't (or won't) do anything for you, but they will look at you, and if you do the drippy thing they think things like "cats just want a nice warm place to sleep" or "I'm in a bad mood." You can pet cats, and I petted the one in a bad mood and it purred and everything, and was still in a bad mood afterwards!

Dogs exist in Ghostwire: Tokyo as well, and if you give them dog food they will dig up a reward or lead you to a useful shrine. This is excellent understanding of dog:cat behaviour. Dogs are helpful and friendly; cats will accept services you do to them but most are purely decorative (for the record I love both dogs and cats).

This is extremely good animal realism in a game about bustin' ghosts. I would not be at all opposed if Tango Gameworks did a pet sim game like the ones you'd get on the DS in the 00s.

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Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

RPS's dep ed. Small person powered by tea and enthusiasm for video game romances. Send me interesting etymological facts and cool horror games.

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