Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs (PS3, PS4, Vita)

TOKYO_BOXWe all have guilty pleasures, whether we like to admit them or not.  One of my guilty pleasures is watching ghost shows on TV.  You know, the ones where people go to haunted places and try to investigate ghosts, or recount their own spooky happenstances.  You can usually watch them on cable channels like Discovery or the History Channel (more like Used to be About History Channel).  Anyway, I know most of the stuff on those ghost shows are probably exaggerated and not real, but they’re still entertaining to watch anyway and who doesn’t like a good ghost story every now and then, especially at this time of year.  I also find video games about ghosts rather interesting, heck, the first game I ever played, Pac-Man, had ghosts in it!  So that’s why I decided to review Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs.  It’s a game about ghost hunting and is a weird mix of a virtual novel and strategy RPG.  It’s available for all of Sony’s current systems, but reviewed on PS3 here.

So in the game you play as a transfer student to a Japanese high school. After entering in all sorts of useless information like your height, weight, blood type, eyesight, etc., you are introduced to your classmates and soon learn that the high school is actually haunted!  Luckily the high school also has a secret club of paranormal investigators, which you soon join and have all sorts of spooky adventures with.  As a visual novel, you’ll do lots and lots of reading.  And I mean it.

When you’re not reading text, you can hang out at the paranormal investigator headquarters and do lots of things.  You can check out your locker and view and buy equipment.  You can talk to your fellow co-workers and get to know them better.  You can also play a confusing ghost-themed board game with them to pass the time.  And of course, you can save your progress here, too.  When you are ready, you can view your mission briefing and this is where the strategy RPG style battles come into play.

When you start a mission, you view the location in an overhead grid map.  You’ll fight ghosts in places like a classroom or an apartment building, among other locations.  It kind of reminds me of the board game Clue.  Before you start, you can place traps on the grid to help you out, like salt which prevents ghosts from passing it, or electronic equipment that can detect a ghost’s movements.  It’s pretty cool because it’s all tools that ghost investigators use on the dumb ghost shows I like to watch on TV.  Once you’re all set, you drive to the haunted location to fight the spirits.  You have a certain number of turns labeled as minutes to complete the mission, or you’ll fail it (you’ll also fail if you run out of HP).  You and your team also have AP points to spend at each turn to move and attack.  Use teamwork and your traps to try and corner the ghosts and defeat them as fast as possible to finish the mission, gain experience and items, and progress the story.  This game actually came out last year, but the added Daybreak: Special Gigs in the title means that it supposedly has enhanced battle features and other options.  I don’t know what those would be, though, since I’ve never played the original game.

While I think the idea of this game is interesting, it didn’t really pull me in that much.  I didn’t care much for the battles, as it just showed everyone on the grid as arrows and symbols, and wasn’t very immersive or scary.  Plus, it was hard for me to get into the story, mainly because I’m twice the age of a high schooler.  Maybe if I were still in high school, I might’ve enjoyed the game a bit more.  I also wish you could’ve saved in the middle of text, like you can in other visual novel style games like Phoenix Wright.  I also think the game could’ve had better instructions.  The in-game manual explains the battles pretty well, but not so much as you’re playing.  When you are reading text, you also sometimes have the opportunity to react by selecting symbols like two hands shaking, a heart, a fist, tears, and then you can select other symbols like nose, ear, hand, eye, and tongue sticking out.  But I had no idea what any of these symbols meant and the instructions didn’t tell you anything about them, so I don’t know how important that is to the game.  Anyway, like I said, I guess this isn’t a bad game, it just didn’t draw me into it like I thought it would.


Kid Factor:

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Violence, Blood, Suggestive Themes, Partial Nudity, Alcohol Reference, Language, and Use of Tobacco.  Most of these references are just in the text only, but they do show still scenes of death and other horrific events like teenage suicide, so I’d really only be comfortable with older teens and adults playing this.  Plus, you need to enjoy reading a lot. 

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