What do you do if you’re framed for murder in a world where no one can die? Well, you do the reasonable, you escape and kill your way to the truth. At least that’s how they do it in Tokyo 42.
Genre(s): Sandbox | Action
Developer: SMAC Games
Release Date: April 2017
Played Main Story
Purchase At: Steam
Tokyo 42 puts you in a future where the Nanomed corporation joins every other company in the world in offering a subscription for a service—as of right now I’m paying for more monthly subscriptions than I thought possible years ago—only their product is much more kickass: immortality. By taking your nanomed pills, you’re ensured a hassle-free body and resuscitation if your bite the dust.
Except for one poor bastard who gets his ass perma-killed, and you, who they frame for it. Imagine how terrifying the concept of death could be in a world where in most cases it’s no longer a concern. So, of course, the entire city goes ballistic and you’re suspect number one. But thankfully your buddy Tycho rescues you and helps you find your way into the Tokyo 42 underworld. Now, armed with random skins to change your appearance wherever you go, it’s time to make a reputation for yourself and get the attention of the big dogs.
And how do you do this? By becoming a hitman. People may not die permanently anymore, but death is still an inconvenience and nothing teaches a lesson more than getting sniped or chopped to pieces. You’re making it back, of course, but it’s not gonna be pretty.
But there lies my vital issue with Tokyo 42. There is no variety in missions and the only thing you’ll do for the most part is kill things. The circumstances change of course and some contracts are harder than others, with one of my favourites happening early on and involving an infiltration into the Nakatomi Plaza. As a child of the 80s, that touched my Yippee ki-yay heart. That one has you infiltrating the place with just stealth and a katana, riding the top of the elevators until you reach your target. Sure, the Katanas are extra, rule-of-cool kind of thing, but I approve.
In my time playing, I did perhaps a couple of missions that didn’t involve killing, but the depth of them was nowhere near the assassination missions and the most creative was some time trialled platforming. As much as I love jumping around buildings in Tokyo 42, with the freedom of exploring every corner of the map—if you can survive the fortresses in some places—without the fear of damage or death on falling, I wanted more variety in the contracts and side-stories.
What I do love is that there is no frustration whatsoever in Tokyo 42 even if you’re constantly failing—like me. You die or fail and at the press of a button you’re back to the last checkpoint, no need to go through the mission again, no hassle in going through conversations. Nah, just pop back up and get to the mayhem, and trust me, there’s some delicious mayhem to be had.
Missions rewards you cash, of course, and reputation, which unlocks further assignments and side-stories. If you can find the gun-boat—kinda like the Chinese food flying boat from Fifth Element—you can get your hands on some sweet new gear, though you’ll have to go to another store for the skins.
This wouldn’t be an assassination game if there weren’t disguises, though in Tokyo 42, for some baffling reason, the costumes consume energy. This of course creates some tension when walking into enemy territory, but it feels a bit gimmicky, particularly when at the end of each “corridor” is a charging station for your internal battery reserves, a necessity with how fast the charge drains.
I would have preferred a slower discharge and recharge points spread further apart, promoting stealth and careful use of the skins and not running full pelt in a straight line while power supply lasts.
The story itself is paint by numbers, and I saw every twist a mile away, particularly because I’ve seen this story before, including the evil Mega Corp. Characters don’t do much to alleviate the situation as they’re all one-dimensional and frankly unappealing. Though to be honest, save for a few cutscenes, you don’t spend enough time with them to care for them or even know them. They’re quest givers, that’s it.
I love the isometric perspective, love how the switch in camera angle can make things seem closer than they are. I don’t know for certain, but I could have sworn that some of my jumps were successful only because I had shifted the perspective to bring them closer. If that’s the case, I applaud it for its creativity and cleverness.
The city itself is amazing, with anything from a market to a nudist colony. There are darkened fortresses with men in black patrolling, yoga classes in a chill environment, people moving about in malls and taxi stations. There’s even a giant head monument in some place and a giant pill that marks the place property of the Nanomed corporation. It feels like Blade Runner on LSD, a surreal dystopian sci-fi world. I dig it so much. I would love an RPG in this city.
Music though is a bit strange. It’s electronic as I expected but where I hoped for upbeat tracks to match the vibrant colourfulness and bustle of the city, the melodies are decidedly calm, relaxing and soothing to be honest. Simple notes make up most of them, but they’re slower than I expected. It’s not a
Tokyo 42 is a really fun game, simple in its controls and mechanics but very entertaining. If it had just a little more variety, I would be much happier with it though, ‘cause there’s only so much killing I can do before it becomes stale.
3.5/5 – Good!