Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters: Daybreak Special Gigs Review

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Game Title: Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak Special Gigs
Developer: Toybox, Aksys Games (Publisher)
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 1.5 GB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

Enhanced editions of games are something that are popular in some genres. The Hunting RPG genre, for example, is a very common place to see this. You could list the number of games just on the PS Vita that are like this: God Eater 2: Rage Burst, Ragnarok Odyssey Ace, Soul Sacrifice Delta, and the list goes on.

Visual novels, however, was not a genre I ever expected to see an “enhanced edition” for. Yet, Aksys Games has brought such a game to the West. The PS Vita, PS3, and PS4 got an enhanced edition of a visual novel game that hit western shores last year.

So, here we go. This is my review of Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak Special Gigs!

Story

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The plotline begins as you start your first day at a new school, meeting classmates and having a local journalist trying to bring you in on her latest news article. As the events of the first day unfold, though, you find yourself wrapped up in the paranormal history around the school and recruited by an organization of Ghost Hunters, giving you a part-time job of, as the name suggests, a Ghost Hunter.

The storyline of Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is unique because there really aren’t many visual novels in the gaming world about ghosts and the paranormal? I found this to be very refreshing, not only as a visual novel, but also as a paranormal title. Every ghost has some sort of backstory around it, and it’s quite interesting if you’re a fan of horror and the paranormal.

Gameplay

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Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is a mix between a turn-based strategy game and a visual novel. While most of your time will be in VN cutscenes, a fair portion also takes place in turn-based combat rich in strategy elements.

First and foremost, this is an “Enhanced Edition” of 2015’s Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters. As such, everything from the original game is here along with extras. Added content includes new characters in the storyline, new story chapters to take the story further, and a few gameplay changes, most notably a re-worked combat system when the strategy elements are in play.

As you progress through the game, you’re basically going between story events with class life and hunting ghosts. Going through story scenes takes the most time out of the game, but near the end of each chapter, you’ll get to a point where you have to fight off and either capture or defeat a ghost.

While the meat of the game is in combat, there is a system to the cutscenes outside of typical VN scene progression with story dialogue and dialogue choices. In this game, you have a Sense Wheel pop up whenever you have dialogue choices and you use those senses to interact with other characters. You can change your attitude as well as what sense you use, like touching the person, hearing something elsewhere, looking at them, and this can be used for a variety of reactions, both serious for character relationships and some that are just funny.

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The main issue here is the game doesn’t really explain to you what this is and how it works. You just see some random dial on your screen in the middle of a story scene with no idea what you’re supposed to do. Once you use it a few times, you get what it’s supposed to do, but the main issue here is the fact that combat is pretty well-explained and this isn’t explained at all.

When you get into combat, things get really different. Combat changes the visual novel style to a grid-based combat system that looks like a board game. Here, you have turn-based battles where you and enemies move across the board in the hopes of finding and defeating one another. While doing this, you can run into enemies, but also obstacles that can be removed for better mobility.

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The main idea here is to find and defeat enemies before they find and defeat you. You move at the same time, though, so you have to predict where the enemy might move to be able to corner them. You move to where the enemy was for an attack and they move on their turn, and you just wasted your turn. There are some traps you can use for this, but a lot of it relies on luck and how well you can predict what the CPU will do.

This all comes together pretty balanced, though the game is mostly Visual Novel. You have a lot more story than combat, which is what most VN fans look for in games, considering Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is classified as a visual novel, rather than a strategy game.

As far as length is concerned, the new content doesn’t add a ton of new length, but you can still get about 30 hours of fun out of it. For newcomers, this is a pretty good bang for your buck. However, if you’ve already played the original game, you’ll want to gauge if you want to pay $40 for the same experience with a little extra thrown in.

Controls

The touch screen can be used for a lot of things here, from proceeding story scenarios to using the “Sense Wheel” during some cutscenes. This doesn’t keep the game from being compatible with the PlayStation TV, though. All touch controls do have button alternatives, so there’s no risk of it running awkwardly when on the micro-console.

Controls are a little different than what most VN fans are used to. First, the touch screen can be used for progressing dialogue. With buttons, though, the R trigger is used here. In scenes, you can use R to move dialogue and R and Square to skip a scene. Across this and Select being used to pull up the text log, that’s all there is in this area. There is no stop, auto, cancel, or any of the other normal text progress controls.

When in combat, a lot of the other buttons are use. The D-Pad is used for navigating the grid on-screen and most of the interaction, from setting traps, opening the menu, and engaging actions are done with the face buttons. However, this is mostly where you’ll be using these buttons, other than the sense/emotion interactions in scenes.

Presentation

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Visually, the game looks very crisp and clean. All of the visuals look hand-drawn, but there are a lot of 3D effects going on. In each cutscene, the 2D renders move and have effects. Imagine it like how character models move in Hyperdimension Neptunia cutscenes, but to a deeper extent. Some character introductions, for example, will show a camera panning out of a moving background and show the character’s hair flowing in the wind as they show up on screen.

There’s not a whole lot else to say about the presentation. Since this is a 2D game, performance never really is an issue here. Load times are short, and the 2D combat never has any issues.

Summary

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak Special Gigs is unique as a paranormal game and an enhanced visual novel, albeit a confusing one. While there is new content, whether a few extra hours of gameplay is worth the $40 to veterans of the original is something else entirely.

8/10

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