SMAC Games’ futuristic Tokyo appears to be a fascinating and diversified model, full with structures that we want to look at from every angle. Unfortunately, when we begin to explore the diorama, difficulties that are impossible to ignore emerge.
People do not die in Tokyo 42, at least not for long – because to nanites, they are soon resurrected in a new body. The future metropolis is a bright and seemingly welcoming area, but as we begin to unravel the story and listen to the words of passers-by, we will realize that underneath the attractive surface is a harsh, cyberpunk reality. We begin the game with a bang: someone has falsely accused us of murder, and the cops are right around the corner. The only thing that separates us from the position of the hunted to the start of our career as a killer is escaping in a hail of gunfire, assistance from a stranger, and a brief exchange of words. Of course, our aim is to discover the culprits of all the mayhem, and the quickest way to do so is to kill them. We have a lot of missions to fulfill in order to enhance our reputation and acquire dollars to grow our armament or refill ammo. Apart from your reputation rising with each mission, there are no progression mechanics here – each sort of weapon is accessible from the start, and for the earned cash, we can only buy versions that differ in the spread, volume, and speed of the bullets.
Death has been tamed by the people of the future city, thus dying doesn’t cost us anything – we don’t even lose bullets or grenades during a task if we die before completing it. Everything returns to its previous state, allowing us to freely explore new techniques and approaches to more challenging tasks without fear of running out of lead. Playing an assassin frequently evolves into a massive gunfight in which attackers flee in all directions and bullets flood every available place. Dodging gunshots, hiding behind buildings, and deploying explosives become virtually required, and the level of difficulty necessitates many attempts at almost every task. The developers allow you considerable leeway in deleting targets. Although certain jobs need the use of particular weapons or the ability to approach the target covertly, most of the time we have the option of shooting everything that moves or stalking our opponents. The problem is that pretending to be a ghost is not fulfilling in any way, especially when attackers may see us from beyond the screen at times, and there are far too many instances where a sniper rifle fire mysteriously misses.
Tokyo 42’s challenge is reminiscent of the old Syndicate and Syndicate Wars games, in which we combat gangs and corporate officials in a bustling metropolis full of people. In practice, however, the previously indicated viewpoint is the most formidable foe. There are a few issues with the camera. Filters that blur background objects make it impossible to view targets at certain angles, and the crosshair cursor has difficulty traveling between planes. As a result, when shooting at foes standing on the balcony, we frequently shoot over their heads or in another direction. It’s also impossible to see if the approaching bullets have any chance of hitting the hero at all. The engine, on which we conduct various activities, is the most annoying aspect of the game. The car lurches ahead with the least push of a button, plunging between obstacles, causing us to continually swivel the camera to keep track of it. Tokyo 42 becomes a horrible experience when we discover that we must destroy multiple groups of adversaries without getting off the unicycle. The visual aspect is equally unimpressive. The representations of the characters populating Tokyo are pretty basic, yet accurate enough that we can see if they are facing us or holding weapons. The city itself seems best from a distance, but close-ups reveal the uneven textures and low quality of the embellishments embellishing the board.
Even the variety of structures does not help, since they frequently include treasures and riddles that enable access to mysteries. The fact that the path to the building’s roof is only visible after properly positioning the camera or needs blind wandering causes you to rapidly abandon your search for weapon skins or new attire for your clones. Another unusual move is the use of pixel art images during chats. Despite their neatness, these two-dimensional inserts do not fit into the game environment at all. The superb soundtrack by Beat Vince, on the other hand, provides some relief. It brilliantly captures the cyberpunk atmosphere and makes it impossible to leave the quest, even when it becomes irritating.
Many people were drawn to Tokyo 42 even before its premiere since it appeared to be an exceptionally fascinating and unconventional production. However, an intriguing idea was buried under a slew of problems and an uninteresting storyline, making it tough to recommend this game.