Review: Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (Playstation 3)

Review: Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (Playstation 3)
Review Score:

Ghost hunting has been engrained in our society by a rising interest in the supernatural, mostly fueled by popular paranormal shows such as Ghost Adventures (Travel Channel) and Ghost Hunters (SYFY). It should come as no surprise then that a video game based on the premise would finally surface on a current generation console system. Developed by Toybox, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is a hybrid visual novel with SRPG elements.

The game starts with the main protagonist attending Kurenai Academy for the first time. You quickly befriend the school president, Miss Mifune, and computer geek, Masamune Shiga, shortly before investigating a suicide on the fourth floor of the school.

As it turns out, a woman by the name of Chizuru Fukrai is very interested in your ability to ‘sense’ things (i.e. think psychic abilities) and offers you a job with the Gate Keepers; a paranormal magazine that doubles as a ghost hunting group for hire. To your surprise, Masamune Shiga is already under the employ of the Gate Keepers, and he is ready to deal with the disturbances on the fourth floor. (Miss Mifune initially flees the 4th floor after witnessing the spirit of a dead girl, but she eventually joins the ranks of the Gate Keepers.)

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters

The gameplay is based on short combat sequences that are seen through a digital Ouija Pad device. The play field is represented by a 2D graph that uses icons to represent environmental objects (i.e. school desks, doorways, etc.). The player and his party are shown as different colored arrows. To move a party member, you must highlight the character in question with the cursor, press the X button, and then move the cursor with the left analog stick to the desired location.

You can finalize the move by pressing the X button. Character movement is restricted by AP (Action Points) that deplete during every move. Once these points are exhausted, the turn in question must end. Depending on the placement of your characters, you will need at least one AP point to attack an enemy. Otherwise, you are left defenseless until your next turn.

As the battle unfolds, Shiga gives a battle forecast between each turn. These forecasts will explain whether your enemies have ‘locked on’ (i.e. targeted you) or have moved from their current position. You must be standing next to an enemy to attack it. As you attack, the 2D play field will transition to a 3D environment where the enemy can be seen. While brief, these 3D excursions provide full-color, 3D enemies that animate rather well. The developer could have easily left these sequences out; but instead, they felt they were needed to break up the story-driven, graph-laden content found throughout.

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters

Defeating ghosts may sound like a simple task, but in actuality it isn’t. Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters expects the player to ‘predict’ their enemy’s next move, which can be difficult when the game doesn’t provide any hints. This can lead to cat and mouse encounters with your ghostly adversaries, as you chase them from one side of the room to the other. Even more frustrating is when a teammate ‘bumps’ into a ghost, which cancels any moves that were already selected. To make matters worse, the ghost is given a free turn to attack your party members, if they are close by.

To be fair, the game does provide ways to help predict where your enemies will move, but it requires the purchase of ‘salts’ and other items from the local grocery store. These items can be strategically placed in a haunted location prior to sending in your team, but like the ghosts themselves — it really boils down to good guesswork and the strategic placement of said items.

The Gate Keepers’ office is another area that you will see often. From there, you can save your in-game progress, view previous chapters in the ‘Photo Album’, and equip newly acquired items by using the ‘Locker’. But more importantly, you can use the Whiteboard to train the main protagonist and his party members. Shown as a ‘schedule’, the protagonist and his party members are listed from top to bottom. To train the protagonist, you must select an ally from the list and then press the Start button to continue. This process allows your team to learn skills that will help them during combat. Training Points (TP) are needed to train; these are obtained by successfully completing an exorcism (i.e. combat).

tokyo_twilight_ghost_hunters_new_screenshot_06

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is a competent visual novel that does a good job of entertaining the reader. It fills in a genre gap that still hasn’t been fully explored by developers, and it does a fairly good job of it in the process. But the combat system – while certainly unique in its design – would have benefited greatly from more substance and less guess work.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: Arc System Works / Toybox Inc.
Publisher: Aksys Games
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $39.99

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters’ Official Website

Review Score
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Gorgeous Anime-style art and realistic backgrounds.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Professional voice acting and eerie music during combat sequences.
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The combat system suffers from too much randomization.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is a competent visual novel that does a good job of entertaining the reader.
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