This is definitely one of the most underrated gems of last year, and one of the most unique first person shooters I've ever played. Because in what other FPS your primary means of attack, i.e. shooting stuff, is represented not as a traditional firearm but instead it's some crazy form of martial arts hand gestures that result in your character shooting projectile magic balls from his fingers, which you use to open up holes in hostile ghostly apparitions so that you could rip out their glowing hearts as a finishing move?
It's a visually stunning game and not because of the texture quality or the lighting effects - those are pretty okay for today's standards. It's more about the art style and the visual design, especially when it comes to the enemies which represent some of the most original character designs that I've seen in a long time. The environments are also incredibly detailed and exploring every nook and cranny is a real feast for the eyes. I'm generally a sucker for the dense and high-tech architecture of modern Japan so having another game that puts so much emphasis on environmental detail and faithful representation of real-life locations which, as a bonus, are shrouded in this visual eye-candy brought on by supernatural events that unfold throughout the story, is just the kind of thing I need to get my nipples fully erect.
If there's one thing that I'd have to complain in this game, then it's the repetitive nature of its campaign. It's not that big of a deal, because exploring all those beautifully rendered locations and fighting ghosts is still fun, but after cleansing like the 20th shrine in a row it does start to feel a bit shallow which I think is detrimental to the overall experience. Still, as it's typical to most games of this kind, you're free to just skip all that stuff. The game doesn't suffocate you with these optional collect-a-thons anyway. Definitely not to the degree that most of the modern open world games are doing. This game's levels tend to be much smaller in scale and more dense in details so I honestly didn't get that overwhelming sense of resignation whenever I opened up the world map.
Like, for comparison, whenever I open the world map in any given Ubisoft game, I suddely feel all sense of joy and wonder literally draining out of me, as if someone just sucked out the air out of my chest. It's the same kind of feeling I get whenever I come back to work after 2 weeks of holidays only to be greeted with 600 unread emails. All Ubisoft games literally give me this soul-crushing feeling when I try to play them these days and it's the reason why I don't even bother with them anymore. Games are supposed to provide a respite from the crushing realities of boring life, not choke you to death with more work.
Anyway, sorry for that tangent - the point is, Ghostwire Tokyo is NOT a game that gave me the kind of feeling as any Ubisoft game usually does. It was more like playing one of those early open world games, where side missions were just a fun distraction, and the game was still fun to explore because it was densely packed with interesting detail and the combat loop alone was enough to get you by. The free-roaming stuff is serviceable and optional, and should you wish to, you can just skip it and focus on the main meat of the game, which are the primary story missions.