I have played Tokyo 42 for at least an hour every day for two weeks now. This game. I love it. I’m sure many other reviews will cite SMAC Games, the developers, references to their influences being GTA2 and Syndicate. Although I can see why they’d say that in an effort help new players understand, I do feel that Tokyo 42 falls confidently into a realm all of it’s own devising. Tokyo 42’s opening moments hold your hand just enough to show you the basics then back off and let you dig into the sandbox with all toys immediately available to you.
I don’t think any game has married incredibly satisfying gun-play with puzzle-focused exploration in this way before. With nearly every mission provided to you being a “play it your way, but do this thing” the replay-ability here is practically endless. And with side-missions often coming with the extra challenge for completing them un-noticed (Ninja), killing everyone (Ronin) and both in the same one-go (Roninja). The later is often incredibly hard, but oh so rewarding if you can nail it.
There is also an array of themed side missions to help you recoup some cash after buying some of the many tools available. Tools such as a high-powered laser beam cannon, cluster grenades that use ALL of your grenades recursively and a high-frequency shotgun-minigun hybrid. These side missions come by way of meeting people through the story such as a contact that will offer you cash for clearing out a batch of random gang members all armed with miniguns. Or a contact that will provide you with a number of deathmatch missions to prepare you for the online multiplayer deathmatches. Or a contact that will offer you a race against a gang of bikers on a track that is otherwise not resting on the city like it does for this mode. These side missions aren’t just ways to add to the replay value here, they’re also tools for you to practice in new and interesting ways. Practice for what?
Practice for the Cop Drop! A unofficial mode that one of Tokyo 42’s publishers, Paul Kilduff-Taylor of Mode7 Games, has been challenging himself to daily on YouTube is the Cop Drop. This consists of gaining a wanted level, the one way everyone knows how, in a location of your choosing and waiting for the police to rappel down from their hover-transport. When they hit the ground the game is on. Working through the waves of police enforcers and spider-tanks, known as Logic’s, with nothing but your understanding of the environment and your infinitely-loaded pistol to get you through it. And yes, there is an achievement for reaching the max wanted level.
I should be clear, I’ve yet to complete the main story-arc, but I am on the last mission. I’ve been playing for over 18 hours now and I still also have quite a few side missions to complete, more than half according to the stats screen and in many I’m yet to achieve the Roninja status. I’m also still missing a just a handful of the listed hidden secrets. One in each category, which is a little bit like torture to me.
Editor’s Note: Multiplayer wasn’t tested due to difficulties in finding matches in a game prior to release. There is currently a customisable deathmatch mode on offer but the developers have stated more multiplayer modes will be coming in the future.
As of writing this, Tokyo 42 is my game of the year. Sure it has its small quirks but there’s nothing here that hasn’t stopped me from loving every hour playing and exploring this world. My very frequent deaths while trying to fight the waves of the final boss aren’t arduous or disheartening, but rather energised by the immediate reloads and desire to get to the bottom of the plot. I personally cannot wait to see where SMAC Games takes Tokyo 42 and where they go next.
A pre-release Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes