Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters
Developer: Toybox Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PS3 (Reviewed on), PSVITA
Genre: Visual Novel, Strategy Role Playing Game
From producer of Deadly Premonition comes Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters, a visual novel strategy role playing game released by Toybox Inc. for the PS3 and PSVITA.
In Tokyo Twilight you play as typical high school student who works part time at a Ghost Busters-like organization known as the Gate Keepers. One day, you arrive to your new school Kurenai Academy in Shinjuku. After a brief tour around campus with the class president, Sayuri Mifune, you spot what appears to be a ghost wearing a summer dress. As you investigate the area, you suddenly encounter an evil spirit that has been haunting the academy.
After battling the spirit alongside your classmate Masamune, a woman under the name of Chizuru Fukurai tells you about the Gate Keepers. She explains that she runs the company which takes on requests from citizens to exterminate ghosts like this one. After explaining that, she decides to offer you a place in the Gate Keepers. You of course, decide to accept her offer.
Without going into too much detail, this is essentially how the game is set. As you proceed throughout the chapters, you take on different clients with various different types of ghosts related problems. As you solve cases, new recruits eventually rock up to the organization, providing with them their own set of skills for combat and contribution to the story.
Gameplay is divided into two primary segments, Adventure Mode and Battle. In Adventure mode this is where the visual novel side of things comes into play. Presenting a relatively decent story with a nice mix of cast and characters: what really captivates me about this mode is how beautifully illustrated these character designs and animations are. Unlike other visual novels which may present single frame images, the game utilizes a neat animation engine that really does helps bring to life the characters on screen.
With the occasional dialogue option here and there, another interesting thing that the game introduces is the sensory input system that is used at certain points.
Combining both emotional input and senses, you can use this to present a variety of different reactions/actions on certain characters and items within the game. How this is presented is through a wheel, to which you select your actions based on the pictures shown on screen. For example, combining the emotion of Love and the sense of Touch, this would let you do things like hug characters, while Friendship and Touch may lead to a simple handshake.
Of course with given the opportunity, this can also lead to some weird behavior choices amongst your friends. If you decide to go the love route and touch everyone, you very much may come across as a creep amongst your friends.
If I was to point out a flaw with this, it would be probably the lack of tutorials explaining how this system works and just what exactly I was doing. First half hour of the game really was just experimentation, and with that I unfortunately annoyed a lot characters in the process of doing this.
But I suppose that my number one complaint to be had would be probably the lack of general exploration within it. In comparison to other visual novel adventure games such as Danganronpa and Ace Attorney, there were times in those games that players could easily explore locations and investigate things relevant to a case.
In this game mode though things are pretty linear, as there isn’t anything really for the players to do aside from skimming through dialogue and licking the occasional character. This honestly seems like a missed opportunity on the developers part, and it would’ve been nice to see some investigating somewhere to keep things more interesting in between combat sections.
Battle mode is where the action is, and follows a similar turn-based combat system in the likes of Fire Emblem. As you’re hunting ghosts, the main focus of this mode is to anticipate enemy movement and predict just whereabouts on the map they’ll appear next. Depending on your weapon of choice, this is where the difficulty lies in accurately pin-pointing where they’ll turn up on the map.
There is also a limit to the amount of turns players can make, so its especially important to locate and plan ahead how to tackle these spirits. Not being able to do so with the given amount of moves will result in the ghost escaping, leading to a game over. Alerting them is also a big risk, as it disadvantages the player through having them either being attacked or simply having the ghost run away.
As a whole, the battle system is pretty solid and the later bosses are especially tricky to defeat. Brute force isn’t always the most reliable tactic for them, so its important for players to utilize character skills and level up during the game chapter intervals.
Only fault to be had, is once again the lack of clarity in partaking in side missions. For the most part, I wasn’t aware there were even side missions for me to complete. Hell, it was until around chapter 9 that I was even able to figure that out. Having only really progressed the main story, this really did a number on my characters leveling up and took me a while before I could back on track with the main plot.
Whilst Adventure Mode may feel a little linear, the game holds itself up with a nice combat system and a visually pleasing design look. Enemy’s are well crafted, combat feels nice and strategic and later bosses certainly provide a nice level of challenge. If you’re into games like Danganronpa and Fire Emblem, be sure to check out Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters.