Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (PlayStation 3) Review

By André Eriksson 30.04.2015 4

Review for Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters on PlayStation 3

The recently-released visual novel/strategic RPG hybrid title Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters follows a group of highly unlikely ghost hunters on their quest to exorcise the ghosts haunting Tokyo, while writing for the occult magazine they run to help fund and cover their ghost hunter business. With new and unique visual novel and strategic RPG mechanics, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is an interesting title, but is it any good? Read on for the answer.

In a big city like Tokyo, there will always be a lot of regretful souls haunting the place, and in Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters the story follows a group of unlikely ghost hunters that are all that stands between some of the more dangerous ghosts and the living.

The story has a lot of potential, and in true visual novel format, there is a high possibility to dig deeper into the subject of the occult and the more emotional aspects of why a ghost haunts the place to begin with. However, this was missed almost entirely and the story is instead very weak, which is a big flaw in any visual novel title. Most characters are only touched upon briefly and are mostly just living stereotypes, which makes them mostly one-dimensional and sometimes completely lacking personality besides their stereotypical depiction.

Screenshot for Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters on PlayStation 3

The way the story is told is good and creative, though. A special system was created specifically to interact with the world; first allowing for emotion to be chosen, and then a "sense" to use that emotion in. This creates an open and personal way to explore and interact with the characters around the avatar. Will the character be a flirty Casanova towards all the girls, or someone with anger issues? There is freedom to decide how the character will react to most situations and which emotions to show, which has an impact on the story.

The story is split into "episodes" more in the sense of an anime series that goes by a typical shōnen Saturday morning cartoon style, with heavy focus on episodic storytelling, trying its best to keep a specific structure. This is both good and bad. The good thing is that it creates a nice flow that will feel natural to even newer people to the visual novel genre. On the other hand, the episodic approach plays a part in what makes the story and the character development weak, as each episode focuses on a new character, so there is seldom time to dig deeper into each one. This makes for a mixed visual novel experience that has a creative approach of the genre, but fails at the story material. There are some strong emotional moments, but they are far in between, sadly.

Screenshot for Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters on PlayStation 3

The strategic RPG elements in Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters, on the other hand, are extremely well-developed and equally as creative as the visual novel elements. The gameplay is based on a form of hide-and-seek in which the hunters shall track and attack the ghosts by predicting where they will move. It's fun and demands a lot of planning, even by strategic RPG standards.

One issue, though, is that in its complexity, the tutorial is somewhat lacking, and trial and error will be necessary to learn its ins and outs, possibly turning off those not into strategic RPGs quickly due to the difficulty of understanding. Once mastered, though, there is the other end of the spectra when masterful use of the rules might even make battles against enemies 20 levels higher into a cakewalk, as the real difficulty is never increased throughout the game. Once past the initial difficulty spike, the game never gets any harder and a flat difficulty is delivered. This could have turned into a problem, but the fact that it can be beaten between 20 to 40 hours, depending on how much grinding is put in, makes this an excusable oversight.

Screenshot for Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters on PlayStation 3

There is, besides the main combat mode, a "mini-game" that is a main attraction of this experience, called "Hypernatural." Hypernatural is an in-game ghost-hunting board game in which the controlled character and three AIs try to hunt down a ghost controlled by the AI in a similar fashion to the ghost hunting found in the main game mode. However, instead of strict movements or attacks, these values are instead determined by cards drawn from a randomised deck, which forces planning in how to use the cards properly. A lot of strategic thinking is needed to master this and one of the most creative and fun combat experiences found in any game in the genre in its simple to learn, yet hard to master design.

While the story is lacking in depth and complexity, the creativity found in the mechanics of the interaction with the world and the battle systems make Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters a great RPG. As stated, though, as a visual novel it is lacking in story, and if looking for a deeper experience in the genre there are better options out there. The strategic RPG aspects shine extremely bright, though, and the mechanics for the storytelling are fun and very creative, making this well worth a go.

Screenshot for Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

While the story elements are weak for a visual novel, the mechanics and combat system of Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters make up for this. The latter is highly enjoyable and gives two of the most fun and creative battle systems found in the genre, with great focus of the hide-and-seek aspects expected in a game about ghost busting. Also, the way in which the avatar interacts with the surroundings with the emotion/senses mechanics creates a great tool that make the story more personal. However, more depth and dimension to the characters and events could easily have been added, and the fact that most of the story is mostly composed of a number of unrelated encounters is unfortunate. It would have been nice if all the story battles could have had a meaning in the bigger picture, yet few besides a couple of them have, and that is sad when it means main story boss fights feel like no more than glorified side missions. Overall, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is a great game if looking for a creative strategic RPG, a very light visual novel or a new kind of RPG.

Developer

Toybox

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

This game sounds pretty interesting!

I play games... sometimes.

It is truly an interesting title. The combat system is pretty creative and feels very unique. Smilie

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

Wow... I hated this game.  The only thing I found fun was hypernatural, I think this was a very bad story, visual novel and strategy game all rolled into one.

The story is not the games selling point exactly... It could've been so much better. Yet, it is at least at the same level as most Saturday morning anime, so it is very meh, but not horrible. But it is the weak point of the experience indeed.

Personally I loved the strategy game aspects of the game. Some of the most unique and engaging I have encountered in a while, and that mixed with Hypernatural saved this title big time for me. The interaction menu is also a very nice addition to the game. These things helped to to a certain degree circumvent the shallow story for me. While my inner VN fan felt "meh" so was my inner SRPG fan and especially my inner board gamer on fire about this title and its combat. Smilie

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

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