Tokyo 42 is a new game from developers SMAC Games which released on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. The game is a top down isometric action stealth open world type affair where your character has been framed and must enter the seedy world of assassins to try and solve the mystery of who, why and what. The story is pretty straight forwards and from the offset players can freely explore the vast city of Tokyo. However, there’s much to do when one wants to clear one’s name.
Tokyo 42 visually is impressive using simple blocks, bold colours and tiny stick like characters to provide a grand sense of scale. It’s great to look at and with the shoulder buttons allowing you to rotate the camera 90 degrees in either direction, you mostly can have a decent view of your character. You’re tasked with performing hits on various people, causing trouble and dabbling in a bit of free-form approaches. Death comes swift here, but because everyone is hooked on a new drug means nobody dies if killed…Kinda.
So, let’s talk about that camera first. It’s good having the rotational control, but on the other hand sometimes you really can’t see where you’re heading no matter how many rotations you employ. Also, there’s issue with stairs, if you run too fast you’ll bounce and potentially fall to your doom which is not good if you’re trying to look all cool like. Another major issue with the camera is how far away you are from the action and if your nose isn’t pressed up against your display it can be hard to feel involved in what’s happening. There’s an option to zoom in but at max zoom setting this still feels a bit too far away. That said, it’s understandable why the camera is so far removed (so you get a better view of your surroundings) but in terms of gameplay is a double edged sword in balancing between practicality and visual effect.
As mentioned, players can freely wander the city, unlocking teleport points on the map and hunting down secrets by whipping out binoculars and seeing people in their homes. The main meat of the game rests on the missions of which you’ll need to earn reputation points to progress the story. You’ll meet various shady characters along the way who offer up more opportunities. Here you’ll either be tasked with specific actions or can tackle objectives as you see fit. Stealth is a viable option with a silent katana, ducking down and timing runs to swipe foes from behind before moving on to the next. It’s a cool feature and almost puzzle like in its execution but a lot more satisfying than potentially being gunned down time and time again by overpowered AI forces. Talking of which, the AI is a mixed bag offering great grenade aim to flush you out of cover, or showering you with a hail of bullets which are hard to avoid. Sadly, it’s too easy to sit behind cover on a corner and let them come to you taking them out one by one as they move around the corner.
It’s not all stealth though and with a variety of weapons purchasable from vendors alongside jackets, colours and cats there’s options to kick ass if you’re good at dodging bullets. Another niggle is the aiming which comes in two forms. On one hand up-close poses no problems but when sniping at range for example or tossing grenades, the interface is problematic and relies on the camera angle being right more than the marker itself which is just too much hard work for something that should be quite simple.
Tokyo 42 is a nice game but needs a bit of touching up to make some of its problems less pronounced. There’s some neat ideas here such as racing around on motorbikes, but due to the artistic style and distance of the character it’s hard to feel a part of what’s happening. If you’re after a puzzle-like game that offers a bit of freedom to explore then this is worth checking out if you can handle a not so friendly camera and aiming system. If you prefer more automated action gaming then this might prove to be too frustrating.
Score – 7/10