By Justin Guillou / April 1st, 2015
|Title||Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters|
|Release Date||March 10, 2015(US), March 13, 2015(EU)|
|Platform||PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Teen, PEGI – 12|
When there is something strange in the neighborhood, who you gonna call? Ghost Hunters! Yes? Anyone…? You know I am off to a good start when I make a joke and kill it within the first two lines of the review. If you had not already guessed what game I am here to bug you about today, it is the recently released Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters. This is a game that Aksys kind of just slipped out there hoping that people like me would come across it. After all, they published the excellent Zero Escape series, so how bad could this one be?
The game starts by asking some rather deep questions like “What happens when you die?” “Where do you go” or “How do you feel?” I have no idea what the answers to those questions are, and this game did not do much to help. Anyways, I noticed that you advance the text with the the R button instead of the X button. Meanwhile, dialogue choices are made with the X button. While you can also use the touch screen to advance text, I eventually got used to using the R button, despite the fact that it felt weird. The story involves you being a new student in a high school and meeting a mysterious, yet charming woman. Eventually, you encounter ghosts and she helps you defeat them. She then convinces you to join the Gatekeepers, an organization that is out to find and exorcise ghosts in Japan for money. So, you and your crew set off to investigate incidents involving spirits and figure out why they are appearing in the first place.
The game plays out like a season of a badass anime. There are 13 chapters, and each once starts out with an opening cutscene, usually foreshadowing the ghost you will encounter, then an opening song by Nobuo Uematsu of Final Fantasy fame. You then go through a few Visual Novel-style cutscenes and investigations. This all leads up to the main event: a fight with the ghost of the week followed by a credits scene complete with an ending song. Throughout the chapters, you will be interacting with a handful of incredibly well-drawn and animated characters. Seriously, the art style in this game is top notch and looks great on the Vita. Unfortunately, the characters only have a handful of animations and expressions, but they are so well done that it did not bother me too much, and I enjoyed watching them.
One of the first women you meet Sayuri Mifune, and she is such a tsundere it burns. Like every time you say something, she has to be mean to you, but then implies she has feelings for you. One guy, Moichi Sengen, was kind of cool since he wore what looked like a power glove. I will not go into too much detail with the characters because that would be entering the forbidden land known as spoilers, but know that there is a solid variety of characters. You have a magician girl, a shrine maiden, a member of the Yakuza, a guitarist and a policewoman, among quite a few others. You will get to know these characters better as the story plays on and you learn about their backstories, and why they can suddenly see ghosts.
There are two main ways to interact with a character during a chapter: the normal “pick a response” that you see in many RPGs and a wheel. This wheel sometimes appears and you can select from various icons located on the wheel. This is a mechanic that is, unfortunately, not explained in either the game or the manual, which is pretty bad considering that it has a HUMONGOUS effect on the game. To be honest, I still do not completely understand it, but I have an idea on how it works and will try my best to explain it. The first set of icons that appears corresponds to an emotion such as Love, Friendliness, Curiosity, Anger and Sadness. The next set corresponds to the five senses: Touch, Taste, Hearing, Smell and Sight.
So, if you select the heart(Love) and the Hand(Touch), it is supposed to imply that your character touched the person you are speaking to in a more “intimate” way. The problem with this is that it is not always clear what actions your character will actually do. Sometimes it’s your character expressing his feeling by hugging someone or him being a pervert and groping the other person. The characters all have responses for whatever action gets performed and based on the action will affect their affinity towards you. These decisions will also affect whether or not they join your party, whether or not you will see certain cutscenes and your ending. I should also mention these wheel segments are timed. In fact, I did not know that and was trying to decide which once to pick, then I ran out of time and the character got mad at me for ignoring them, which I somehow got a trophy for. I am sure many people who played this had a hard time at first, which is a real shame because it’s actually an interesting system. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have a page or two in the manual explaining this mechanic, though.
Before you encounter any ghosts, you are given a chance to hang out at the Ghost Hunting Headquarters. Here you can buy or make equipment for your characters, talk to your party members, level up their skills, play a card mini game or browse the Internet. While on the Internet if you Hold L+R buttons, you are brought to a forum where you can take on requests from random NPCs. These are sidequests that involve you exorcising a particular ghost. What is nice about these is that the game gives you extra experience so you can increase your character’s stats to make later levels easier. In addition to this, the client gives you feedback which you can see on the message boards.
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