Bandai Namco is one of the leading publishers for video games that are based on anime or manga adaptations. They have worked on a lot of big names including One Piece and Dragon Ball Z, but some of their lesser-known franchises don’t get the same care and treatment which can often result in a subpar product. This has been the case with most of the franchises that don’t have a long-lasting appeal including Black Clover and Tokyo Ghoul.
Tokyo Ghoul is a pretty interesting manga that deals with a fractured human society. It features ghouls that are extremely powerful creatures who are thirsty for human blood. While there are some full ghouls in this alternative reality, half-ghouls also exist that are either created artificially or are the offspring of a human-ghoul relationship. They are usually stronger than a full ghoul giving them an advantage over the other creatures.
This is the first time Tokyo Ghoul has been brought as a video game for the Western fans of the show or manga, but sadly there is not much of a reason to be ecstatic about this new game. It is pretty mediocre in terms of gameplay. The gameplay loop is repetitive and the combat system is serviceable at best. The good thing to say about this game is that it at least follows the manga storyline so players can experience their favorite moments and fights in the game itself.
The shallow presentation and lackluster combat make this one a hard recommendation even for those who are a fan of Tokyo Ghoul. The story retreads steps from the manga’s plot and there are no new cutscenes. The narrative is explained with text on still artwork taken from the show itself. It is not a good way to present some of the dramatic moments.
There are two different modes for the story, the main one being a recollection of the big events from the manga and featuring multiple characters. The second is an online-focused gameplay mode that features the same levels as the main story but changes the enemy placement and adds support for co-op multiplayer.
One of the positives to say about this game is that there are multiple characters with their own special moves. You don’t just play the story as a single ghoul but will take turns with characters that include a mix of humans, monsters, and other important casts that are taken from the manga. The main storyline centers on the life of Ken Kaneki who becomes a half-ghoul by accident. After his transformation, Ken Kaneki has to face many challenges and fight against both sides, humans, and ghouls, in order to survive. The story is a little confusing to digest if you know nothing about Tokyo Ghoul because it fails to properly set up important events leaving important little gaps in the plot.
The gameplay system feels dated as you repeat the same combos. There is a lack of variety in the combat and most of the fights can be won without a strategy. The difficulty of the game itself is not that hard once you figure out how to quickly land the special attacks on enemies. Most of the main story mode is divided into episodes where you fight in levels that are taken from the manga and feature regular enemies as well as boss fights.
The developers have tacked on some systems that don’t make much sense for this game. One is how a score is given at the end of every level. The lack of actual challenge means you are likely going to get S+ ranking for most of the missions making it pretty much useless. The enemy AI is pretty brain dead and doesn’t pose any real challenge and the controls are not fluid enough to make the combat enjoyable. This is not Devil May Cry where you try to perform stylish moves and avoid taking damage to get a higher ranking at the end of the mission.
There is nothing exciting about the level design. You go from point a to b, beating the enemies along the way and eventually getting to a miniboss that can lead to a boss fight. While the regular enemies are disappointingly easy and act braindead, the boss fights aren’t that better. Combat is a mix of close-range attacks and ranged-attacks. Once in a while, you can also perform special attacks that dish a large amount of damage. Sadly the camera is awkward and doesn’t always follow the action so in crowded levels, it can lead to frustration.
Tokyo Ghoul: re [CALL to EXIST] does look visually clean, at least on the PS4 Pro. The game has an animated look that closely resembles the anime but the sound design is serviceable. The environments are drab and repetitive lacking any semblance of originality in them. It doesn’ deserve its full budget price tag at $60 and honestly would have worked better as a budget-priced release.
Tokyo Ghoul: re [CALL to EXIST] Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Tokyo Ghoul: re Call to Exist is a survival action game developed by Three Rings and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Based on Tokyo Ghoul, it was released for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4.
Final Score - 6/10
Tokyo Ghoul: re [CALL to EXIST] is one of the weakest efforts to bring a manga adaptation to a video game. It suffers from repetitive gameplay and lackluster presentation.