Review: Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs (PS4/PS3/PSV/PSTV)

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Formats:

  • Playstation 4
  • Playstation 3
  • Playstation Vita

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4, PS3, PS TV
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
  • Cross-Buy No
  • Cross-Save No
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
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Title: Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (PS4 3.82 GB) (PS3 3.1 GB) (PSV 1.56 GB)
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Arc System Works / Toybox Inc.
Original MSRP: $49.99 (PS4), $39.99 (PS3), $39.99 (PSV)
ESRB Rating: T
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs follows a new transfer student, Ryusuke Touma, as he is invited to join the Gate Keepers to investigate and battle ghosts.

Gameplay:
As far as plot goes, the game is your typical anime-style storyline: you’re a transfer student who shows up just at the right time and becomes the star of the game. You’re allowed to customize your character’s name, birthday, eyesight, and other parameters. It’s not quite clear what the parameters affect, but you can modify them if you so choose.

This is a visual novel style game, where the majority of it is text with occasional player input. The second portion of the game is the actual ghost hunting, where it’s more of a strategy game that plays out on a static two dimensional grid.

As far as story goes, the game is pretty interesting – if you’re interested in the paranormal. There’s a main storyline where you’re introduced to the characters as well as the leader of the Gate Keepers paranormal investigation organization. Once you complete the first mission, you’re recruited into Gate Keepers and the rest of the game takes place in the Gate Keepers’ home base.

The home base acts like a hub and is portrayed as a static screen where you move the cursor around to choose what you want to do next. You can take the car to the store or to the R&D shop where you can craft new items and weapons.

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The locker is used to equip your team members with weapons, equipment, and items. Along the way, you are able to find, purchase, and craft new weapons, so this it is from this screen where you equip them.

Before you go on the main missions, you have a couple of ways you can improve your team members to make the battles a bit easier. The first way to improve your stats is to take on extra missions which are accessed via the PC in the home base.

… earn more money and gain experience points …
When you first access the PC, you can look at the Gate Keepers web site and also access an online shop where you can spend special Shell Points that you earn by taking missions. The items on the online shop seem to be better than the ones you can get at the convenience store, but are tougher to obtain since you don’t get very many Shell Points after each battle.

To access the special requests via the PC, you need to press both trigger buttons. Once there, you’re presented with a special website that shows the current requests, as well as achievements, feedback from your previous clients, a list of ghosts you’ve encountered, and a glossary.

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Each request has a difficulty level, the location, and the amount of money you’ll get as a reward. It’s through these requests that you’ll be able to earn more money and gain experience points for your team.

The second way you can upgrade your team is via training. As you complete requests, you’ll gain Training Points that can be spent to increase the stats of your team members.

… the bait and barrier items are the most useful …
There is no real gameplay as part of the training. You just go to the whiteboard, select a team member you want to train with, and confirm the selection. After this, you’ll get a short animation of the character and their stat increases will be displayed. The training also allows your team to learn new skills to use in battle, so it’s worth taking the time to train everyone.

The battles in the request missions work the same way as the battles in the main storyline. When you take a request, it will have a location and some basic information about the request. Once the request is accepted, you’ll get a floor plan, which is depicted as a grid over a blueprint of the battle area. There are icons located all over the area, and you’re also allowed to place traps around the grid before you begin the battle.

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The ghosts are depicted as red X marks, so you’ll want to use your items to try to keep them localized to a manageable area. The items you use are grouped by type, which include items to restrict ghost movement, apply damage to a ghost, locate a ghost, or give them different ailments.

I’ve found that the bait and barrier items are the most useful. You can set down items to attract the ghosts to a single point and put up barriers to prevent them from moving around too much.

… plot your moves carefully …
Using items incurs an overhead cost on the mission and you’re limited to a specific number of items. Each item is weighted, so you’re able to place more of the less powerful items than the more powerful ones. At the end of the battle, your budget will be subtracted from your rewards and you’ll find out if you’ve made a profit or not.

When you start the battle, you’ll need to move your team members around the board to where the ghosts are. The battle itself is a turn-based type strategy game, where you can move each member of your team for a limited number of moves. When you turn them ninety degrees, this also consumes an Action Point, so you’ll need to plot your moves carefully.

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Not all ghosts are clearly visible when the battle begins, so you’ll need to go to the general area where the ghosts are supposed to be, and once you get close enough to detect them, they’ll appear on the board. You can equip your team members with electromagnetic frequency detectors to increase your detection range, which helps locate the ghosts faster.

Once you’ve located the ghost, you’ll need to try to take the main target ghost down as fast as possible since the battles are timed. Each turn takes up a minute from the total allotted for the battle. If you run out of time before you defeat the ghost, you’ll lose the battle.

… the lack of tutorial …
Fighting an enemy is fairly simple. All you need to do is select your next attack and get a ghost within your area of attack, then you’ll automatically attack it when the movement portion of the turn is over.

The ghost usually gets to move first, so you’ll need to anticipate where it’s going to land and use your team members’ area of attack to cover as much of the ghosts’ movement area as possible.

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If the ghost moves out of your area of attack, you’ll pretty much waste a turn. If a ghost moves next to any of your team members, they’ll be attacked and won’t be able to counterattack.

There were a couple of issues I had with the game that are worth mentioning. First, and probably the biggest, is the lack of tutorial, in-game explanation, or manual for how the dialog interaction works.

… I inadvertently told my player to try to kiss the NPC …
At certain times during the story portion of the game, an NPC will ask you a question or make some sort of statement that prompts an interaction from the player. In some of these interactions, you’re presented with two choice wheels which are referred to as the Sensory Input system.

There is absolutely no indication as to what the icons on the wheels mean, or what they do. You’ll only see the icons on the Sensory Input wheel without even a text popup or anything to tell you what they mean.

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You’re prompted with the Sensory Input very early in the game, and I was completely dumbfounded when I saw the wheel pop up. I chose what I thought would be saying something friendly, but it turned out that I inadvertently told my player to try to kiss the NPC, and she was not very happy about it – and neither was I, as it were.

I figured that perhaps later on in the game, I’d finally get an explanation as to what the options on the wheel meant, but nope, I never did. I searched all of the settings screens, as well as the glossary, and there’s no information at all on how to use the choice options effectively.

… it’s very vague and still doesn’t fully explain the actions …
There’s also no digital manual in the PS4 version of the game. The PS3 and PS Vita versions of the game do have a digital manual, but still the Sensory Input system is not documented there.

The closest thing I could find as to an explanation for the Sensory Input options is on the game’s official website, but it’s very vague and still doesn’t fully explain the actions your character takes when you choose certain options.

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs_20161010105324Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs_20161010105333

You always seem to end up doing something completely opposite of what you’re trying to do, and for me it was very frustrating. After a couple of times, I did kind of get the hang of it, but I still feel like I’m missing out because I can’t accurately use the Sensory Input system.

The other issue I have is probably more of an issue with my own personal preference for this type of game. Although I found the story very interesting, overall the game seemed pretty repetitive and I got a bit bored with reading all of the dialog.

… backgrounds and locations are quite detailed …
I think it would have helped if there was a way to have the game auto-advance the dialog so you could watch it more like a movie, instead of constantly having to press the button to proceed after each sentence.

Visuals:
As far as visuals go, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs does a pretty good job of using the artwork to portray a dark and mysterious world. I really like the animations of the 2D characters, and I enjoy the facial features and character artwork. The backgrounds and locations are quite detailed and very well drawn as well.

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While I mostly played the PS4 version of the game, I did check out the PS3 and PS Vita versions. For the most part, the other two are identical to the PS4 version, except the visuals look just a bit fuzzier. The PS4 version just seems to pop a bit more. I did notice though, that the menu system on the Vita seemed a bit more sluggish than the other two platforms.

… voice acting is all in Japanese with no English option …
Audio:
The soundtrack is pretty good and it’s pretty much what I expect for this type of game. There are only a handful of different locations and each place has its own signature song. You do have the option of selecting different music tracks when you go on missions, and more tracks unlock as you progress.

The voice acting is all in Japanese with no English option included. Although some lines do have voice acting, the majority of the story is delivered via text subtitles.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
As a whole, I think Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs is a pretty good game. I’m not very skilled at and don’t tend to play many strategy RPGs, so I found some of the battles in the game to be frustrating, but managed to pull through.

The story and plot seemed pretty interesting and despite the unexplained Sensory Input system, it makes for an overall good experience if you’re into visual novel type games. The battle system seems to be unique for this type of game, and there are a few other features that weren’t covered in this review.

Since there is no Cross-Save functionality, I would recommend the Vita version if you have any intention of playing this on the go. It helps that the Vita version actually has a digital manual which explains most of the controls except the Sensory Input system.

Overall, I would recommend this to people who are fine with slower-paced games that are heavy on story. There seems to be quite a bit of content to make it worth the asking price.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature and the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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