Without any preconceived expectations, I dove into Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs blind and wound up both pleased and disappointed with my experience. Originally released last year in North America on the Playstation 3 and Vita, the game flew under my radar until word of the PC port got out.
Tokyo Twilight Hunters follows a third-year high school transfer student as he discovers the existence of ghosts and begins working at an organization known as Gate Keepers to fight them. Joining you in your ghost hunting escapades is the beautiful Sayuri Mifune and the cool Masamune Shiga. Although cold on the outside, Sayuri is quite the complex character due to her unfortunate past with ghosts. She’s also hands down the best girl. Shiga on the other hand is calm, cool and collected and possibly one of the only wheelchair-bound characters I’ve ever seen in a Japanese game. Did I mention he’s cool as hell too.
I’m not going to go too much detail, but all the side characters you interact with are both unique and fleshed out. Conversations are brought to life with the stunning use of the animation technology that was developed for the game that breathes personality into the environments and characters. This technology is code named ‘GHOSTS’ and stands for Graphic Horizontal Object Streaming. This allows each character to breathe in a lifelike manner and make natural looking movements in a 2D space. Honestly, the artstyle in this game is one of the best I’ve ever seen in a visual novel and more developers should invest in similar technologies.
Blending both visual novel elements with strategy combat, the game offers a nuanced gameplay experience that’s easy to pick up and play. You make your moves in a grid system that shows where your characters are positioned and the general area where ghosts can be found. The combat is turn based, but once an attack is initiated the game shifts into a first-person perspective to deal and receive damage. Without going too in-depth with the combat system, it’s a unique system that may not appeal to everybody.
When you’re outside of combat, you’ll be conversing with peers and clients who need ghost hunting services. Sometimes you’ll be given the option of responding in certain conversations and different decisions can lead to different events. Unique to Tokyo Twilight is the sensory input system that allows you to interact with people and environments with your senses.
Within this unique mechanic is where Tokyo Daybreak’s major flaws lie. The sensory input system’s mechanics aren’t explained to the player whatsoever. As I mentioned, sometimes when you interact with another character or the environment you’ll have the option of responding in the form of a symbol wheel. Sounds easy enough right? Not exactly. None of the icons are explained, which means you can end up groping someone when your intention was to shake their hand.Until I looked this up online, I was generally guessing what each symbol meant and would convey during each interaction. Not only is that system unexplained, but there’s an entire affinity system that’s hidden behind what responses you give with the sensory system. This leads to players unknowingly getting higher affection ratings with a character they don’t want to romance, but may end up getting their route in the end.
A lot of Tokyo Twilight Hunter’s problems could easily be solved if these mechanics weren’t so unconventional or at least explained with a tutorial. Not only are these mechanics poorly documented but the overall porting process was hastily done. If you play at a higher resolution than 1080p you’re essentially screwed right off the bat as the game doesn’t feature any resolution or graphics settings. This wouldn’t be that big of a problem if the entire combat system wasn’t displaced on higher resolutions.I play my games at a resolution of 2560×1440, which is my monitors native resolution. Tokyo Twilight’s combat system doesn’t scale past 1920×1080, which means a majority of the screen and icons are displaced and unless you change your monitor’s default resolution, this can’t be solved in-game. This means every time you play Tokyo Twilight, you’re going to have to go into your Nvidia panel or AMD equivalent and change you resolution just to play this game.
Honestly I feel that if I had played this on Playstation 3 or Vita I would have had a better experience. Needing to change my entire computer’s resolution every time I start the game is offputting and may turn away potential players. If PQube could solve these issues with a patch, I would happily change my review. But with the half-assed port we got, I can’t in good faith rate this game solely on how good the story and gameplay are. Without these port issues this game is a solid experience, but unless those problems are ironed out, I feel like you’re better off buying the version on Playstation 3 or Vita.