In combat the enemy assaults you mindlessly, which means you have to move quickly, with no thought for their safety. In the world of Tokyo 42, no one ever really dies thanks to futuristic nano-meds that keep anyone from falling into death's embrace for too long. This means the enemy's assaults fit thematically, but it's not much fun to play against. The amount of crowd control weapons you have access to is fairly limited, so every shot counts.
The second big issue is the Fez-like rotating cityscape. It's hard to be angry at the game when it seems largely to be a conceit to get you to look at the beautifully rendered skylines. When things are chill, you can rotate the city cleanly to look for different routes up to a target, leaping onto elevators or across fire escapes to avoid patrol routes. However, in combat it's a headache, as you need to spin around the world repeatedly to get clean shots on enemies or just see where you're going as you flee.
Bearing those significant problems in mind, though: Tokyo 42 is lovely in motion. The city is nothing more than a killing field, and the AI civilians populating the place don't do anything to disagree with that feeling, ignoring you entirely as you open up with gunfire in the middle of them. However, there's something that feels vaguely like Akira as you run around the city, and the thrill of traversing the city is the real deal.
After taking out a target holding a barbecue atop the Nakatomi Tower — yup — by sneaking through the grounds and gutting him with a katana, I tossed myself loose into the sky from the roof. There's no fall damage here, mercifully, and you're encouraged to leap around the city like a budget spiderman. When you're aloft, the game is majestic. The worries as far from your mind as the ant-like people clambering around below you.
The whole time you're playing, you're also treated to Tokyo 42's soundtrack, one of the best I've heard in recent memory. The calming tunes help tie the game's aesthetic together, and although Tokyo 42 is often an uneven package, I haven't stopped listening to the soundtrack. It's on Spotify; go have a listen.
The music and style of Tokyo 42 combined with the feeling of careening through the sky means my experiences with the game, despite the flaws, have largely been positive.
I was on the fence about recommending this, but I think it's probably worth playing. The combat has issues, the switching focus mechanic isn't for me, but there's a really interesting game here, and in a year full of polished AAA titles, it can't hurt to play one of the more interesting experiments, surely?