Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Review: Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (Ps3)

Developed by Toybox Inc., who put out the 3DS Harvest Moon style Hometown Story & the fantastic Deadly Premonition: Directors Cut, comes this latest foray into the Visual Novel genre, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters.

This title now published by Europe's niche saviour's NIS this title hopes to introduce the VN genre to a whole new crowd while also pleasing the current fanbase by making a name for it's self and standing out in an over crowded genre. 

Does this game recreate that feel good sensation of "Busting" or is it another case of Casper related spin off rubbish? 

[Version reviewed - Playstation 3, Review code supplied by NIS Europe]

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters, or going forth TTHG, is your standard anime/manga cliched opening in that you are a transfer student going to a new school which within minuets oozes creepy and would send most students running home, not you though! you're tough and going to stay, interact with the students and fumble through your first day. 

The characters you'll be interacting with are also mostly archetypes from any anime/manga, you have the cold Class President who you just know has a dark past, overly intelligent and well equipped wheelchair student, "Oblivious" teacher & overly forceful CEO of a company you have never heard of and is naturally the front for more "interested" extracurricular activities. Naturally as the game progresses you'll meet more of the team and supporting cast which does infact include and overly enthusiastic merchant who may of seen far too many Kung Fu films.

I will be the first to admit, I don't really "Get" the genre, I'v played enough to say that I've given it a good shot, 999, Virtues Last Reward, Phoenix Wright (All of them), Danganrompa. I enjoyed the titles mentioned but never really understood the appeal or felt the urge to dive into the genre, the same applies here, I am compelled to play more to see where the story is taking the cast but my major worry is that for some the cast originally far too cookie cutter. Another issue I found is that none of the cast are actually THAT interesting, the Ghost Hunting story of this VN is much more interesting and better written than the main cast which is a shame but I'd rather the main focus be on the narrative & not the social aspect of the game.

I do feel I have to point out the clunky interaction system this game has got going on, it gives you several choices during alot of the game of what you want to focus on/do while being spoken to, unfortunately the game doesn't actually talk you through this so I spent my first couple of times fumbling around it until I took a trip to the digital manual. I'd advise reading how to use this system as alot of the finer points and character interactions are hid behind this feature and misusing it really can affect your overall enjoyment.  

The main draw of this game is the Ghost Hunting & I'm glad to say it's done in an interesting and nearly plausible way!. There is a lot of science jargon but for the most part it is explained, some stuff does seem a little out of place at first for example you fight Ghosts with Steel Pipes, Why I hear you ask? it's explained not soon after and it's a satisfying explanation. It's good to see that alot of research has gone into the main narrative & you do find yourself immersed into what can only be described as Japan's answer to Ghostbusters.

What happens when you finally trap the ghost? well then you have to fight it of course!. Like any good Ghostbuster you have the ability to equip yourself with all kinds of tools to help you battle the undead and tip things in your favour. The good part about this is you actually have a direct input of how the battle will go, bad point is it's quite a complicated and clumsy affair at times.

Before you go into battle you'll be given a map of the "arena", a magazine and the background of what's going on. It's up to you to make sure you buy the right stuff I.E Salt to block routes and in the most cost effective manor, Once the set up is done it's now down the nitty gritty part, the battle!, the problem is as you can see by the screen shot, it's not exactly a visual treat.

Here you have to use meters, thought and overall luck to guess where the ghost is within the time limit and defeat it. It's a turn based affair where you have energy, health and time to consider, it's a nice extra for a VN but for me it just wasn't as functional as I liked. I constantly felt like I had to battle the controls and despite using what the game had given me I didn't really ever feel like I fully got to grasps with guessing where the ghosts would go. It didn't help that there is a fair bit going on with the screen but it just being very bland.

It's worth noting there are few mini games to break up the scenes but these are quite frequent and over quite quickly, There is a rather fun card game you can play any time at the headquarters but as with alot of the extra stuff it does seem a little too added on which is a shame.

Overall the VN sections of the game are quite a treat to look at, the music is fairly generic and certainly isn't something i'd even think Nobuo Uematsu had much if any involvement in. The battle system is certainly interesting on paper it just lacks the smooth execution to pull off.  The main story is an interesting affair and should see you through the game at least once, for a person who isn't a fan of VNs I was entertained for the most part but there is the odd section where it gets a little long winded.


Who Should Buy This?

  • Visual Novel Fans 
  • If you want something a little more "spectral" 
  • Ideally if you are a VITA owner, the game seems more designed for shorter bursts 

Who Should Avoid?

  • If you totally hate the idea of walls of text 
  • Buying just on the strength of it having a battle system 
  • Because of the "legendary" composer, trust me on this one! 

1 comment:

  1. I was initially interested in this title, but with my current backlog of Vita games, I'm starting to get more picky of what games to pick up. I'll probably pick it up down the road, but only when it goes on sale.