Where anime games struggle is finding a balance between including a lot of content and being satisfying. This is why very few of them are considered must play but even the worst game has value to the community. Be it One Piece or some of the more niche series, these games are generally made with fans in mind, which is why it’s great to see less popular series get some recognition. Given the increasing popularity of Tokyo Ghoul, it was only really a matter of time before it would see a western adaption. Given Tokyo Ghoul: re Call to Exist attempts to cover the series for fans and newcomers alike, it seems like the perfect first step. Given all the things working in its favor, is it a must-play or is it a similar outcome to the start of Ken’s story?
Tokyo Ghoul:re Call to Exist tries to summarize the series in an as succinct way as possible. In some ways it achieves this, as you get the main plot points that bring the whole series together, it takes a fair investment to truly get what is going on. Thankfully, there is a story section that has its own additional details that try to highlight key points. It’s enough to get a newcomer interested and up to give them an idea of what the series is about but fails in the ever so common emotional payoff.
Given how quickly things progress and details come at you, it lacks the same narrative power the original series had. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t play Tokyo Ghoul:re Call to Exist as a newcomer or even as a fan, as much as it might take away from some of the best plot points or the overall threat of the terrifying ghouls.
Like a lot of these games, it turns some of the biggest obstacles into a joke. Regardless of which mode or character you play as, most enemies are lifeless creatures that mindlessly attack and have as much bite as a Dynasty Warriors peon, without the numbers to back it up. The average mission will involve killing them from various points and eventually fighting a more threatening enemy.
Bigger threats require a little more planning, though a good number of them can be overcome with enough force. Since every character has their own unique perks, part of the fun is figuring the best way to overcome a threat. Sometimes you’ll want to counter, other times doing enough damage will stun them for an easy hit but most times it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme. That being said, it’s nice how many options you have.
In addition to having the main attack and two unique attacks, characters are given some kind of rangeability. Sometimes it’s as simple as guns and grenades or as complicated as short-ranged things you create. Using these correctly will determine how much of threat enemies actually pose, though most times it highlights how hollow it is.
Where licensed games tend to fall short is finding a way to bring everything together in a satisfying way. Given the controls are far from the most fluid and at times feel painfully similar to what you’d expect from a budget game like EDF, most fights are just trading blows until someone dies. Prior to knowing the controls and how to play, I managed to die a couple of times during a mission. Despite this, I still scored S+, leaving me to question how badly do you legitimately have to screw up to receive a poor score. When there is no real punishment for doing poorly or reason to maximize your abilities, it creates a situation where you might as well mindlessly push forward to see where this adventure leads.
Unfortunately, Tokyo Ghoul:re Call to Exist trades a robust story for additional modes. So, instead of a really elaborate story, it’s told mostly through static images and dialogue. To make up for it you can play team deathmatch, there are a customer character creator and co-op/hoard mode. Even if this comes off as disproving, they’re not awful, just hinges on a community that might not last and even at the time of posting is rather lacking, and lacks the tight controls needed to really build a model. For some this is fine, just don’t purchase it just to experience that side of things.
TOKYO GHOUL:re CALL to EXIST Verdict
Like most licensed games, enjoyment comes down to how much you like the source material. With an underwhelming story and lackluster combat, it can be a struggle for newcomers and fans alike to get into it. However, for those who really want to experience Tokyo Ghoul:re Call to Exist’s story, it will have a small bit of charm. Add in a number of empty locations and bland design and it is a game that struggles to be more than an experience lifted by the source material. For some this is fine but for anyone looking for more, you’ll be disappointed.
[Editor’s Note: Tokyo Ghoul:re Call to Exist was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]