Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs review (Vita)

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs isn’t just a mouthful, it’s also an enhanced version of the original PS3/Vita game.

For those not familiar with the original release, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters combines the visual novel type of gameplay we’ve seen quite a bit on the Vita recently with a tactical turn-based RPG. Thematically, as the title suggests, it’s revolves around ghost hunting – which makes it somewhat of a Japanese version of Ghostbusters. It certainly was enough to capture my attention, as it’s not your typical subject matter for either visual novels or RPGs.

Having played a decent amount of visual novels in the recent past, I’ve come to enjoy their intricate storytelling ways – the branching story arcs and the writing quality. But central to all of that is the ability to take meaningful decisions that you feel in control of – and that is a feature that is somewhat lacking in Tokyo Twilight Hunters. What’s great is that there is actually more choice here than there is in the average visual novel, but what’s not so great is that there’s a disconnect between choice and consequence.

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Picking your desired course of action doesn’t always result in the outcome you were going for, and this can get frustrating to the point of picking the “safest” option available just to make sure things don’t go “wrong”. As a visual novel, there are unfortunately better alternatives than Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters. However, the game also has an RPG portion to enjoy, even though that is also not without faults of its own.

At the end of the day, after a lengthy play section, the battle system is actually pretty decent and highly original – fitting well with the theme at hand. You can trap ghosts, corner them using materials like salt, and find clever ways of eliminating random elements from their behavior to defeat them. Having said that… that is not how the game feels initially.

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is severely plagued by the lack of a good tutorial that explains these dynamics to you properly – leaving you to your devices to work out how to enjoy the game. A lot of information is tucked away in the manual, but I stopped reading those when they went digital. That’ll teach me for relying on tutorials.

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Daybreak: Special Gigs is an updated version of the original game, although it doesn’t address too many of the issues the original game had. The game now advises you on your loadout before a battle, which is welcome, but most of the other additions have to do with content. There are more story arcs to discover, with new characters and missions – and they’re all delivered with an excellent audiovisual presentation.

Thematically speaking, this game is a success, and it’s what kept me interested throughout the campaign despite the so-so writing and initially frustrating battle sections. It’s a shame that some of the faults of the original weren’t addressed better, leaving too many rough edges to really consider the game a solid recommendation. Probably best enjoyed by those who are intrigued by the game’s ghost hunting setting and implementation – visual novel fans and RPG aficionados have better options on the Vita.

Score: 6.4/10

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