For gamers, their chance of finishing a game is cut in half if they don’t get engaged in the first 48
hours minutes. Well, maybe not exactly 48 minutes. Maybe 60, maybe 30, maybe 90. The fact is that the beginning of a game can make or break a game, especially in this day of Steam refunds. Today we look at Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters: Daybreak Special Gigs for the Playstation 4 (and PS3 and PS Vita).
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters: Daybreak Special Gigs is a visual novel slash tactical RPG from Toybox Inc. and published by Arc System Works and localized by Aksys Games. Special Gigs is an updated and expanded version of the original with new and reworked dialogue,and new “Daybreak” scenario and an updated battle system. I never got to play the original, so I will treat this as a it’s own, standalone game.
The game starts out on your first day as a transfer student at Kurenai Academy in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. You bump into a first year student and another female student rudely chastises you. Afterwards you are greeted by a woman who introduces herself as Chizuru Fukurai, the editor-in-chief of Gate Keepers, Inc. After a cutscene in your class, you meet a male classmate who is in a wheelchair named Masamune Shiga. He enlists the help of the class president Sayuri Mifune, the rude girl from earlier, to show you around the school. As part of her showing you around she takes you up to the roped off 4th floor. She explains that a month earlier, a student fell from the roof of the school. It was deemed a suicide by the police and school officials. Sayuri wants you to accompany her to investigate the 4th floor. As you are investigating, you see a mysterious girl in a sundress. She asks you to defeat the man in the red coat before disappearing into thin air. Eventually you run into Chizuru and Shiga. Sayuri gets spooked and runs, leaving you alone to help out. As it turns out, Chizuru and Shiga are ghost hunters tracking down an entity inside the school. After defeating the man in the red coat, you are invited to join Gate Keepers Inc.
So, being a visual novel, the main part of the game is the novel section. For those that have never played a visual novel, the novel section is where you read the story, set to location backdrop and character sprites. During the dialogue portion of the section, you are presented with two dialogue circles. The first circle deals with your emotion (love, sad, angry, friendly, and what I assume is curiosity) and the second deals with actions (smell, taste, touch, hearing, and looking). The actions differ based in the emotion you pick (friendly and touch is a handshake while angry and touch is a punch). The game gives you no indication on what to do or what each icon means. The lack of a manual doesn’t help either. It is up to you basically to figure out the combinations which might lead you to trying to inadvertently kiss Shiga.
The other part of the game is the tactics portion. Playing out as a tactical RPG, each character is given a certain amount of action points to use on their turn. Each move you make (travel, turning, walking backwards) uses a certain number of points. If you use up all your points while moving, you won’t be able to attack the ghosts. During your turns, surrounding each ghost is a shaded area of where the ghosts might move to. It is your job to try and guess where exactly the ghost will move. If your character lands on a space next to a ghost you can attack it. If you land on the same space as a ghost, you will do more damage. Each battle has a set (or multiple) of win or fail conditions. And that is about it.
So how are the first 48 (or so) minutes? The story is pretty interesting and the writing is pretty decent. The only problem I had was that the game doesn’t really explain on how to do anything. As I mentioned before, there is no manual so you really have to experiment on what everything does. I ended up restarting the opening story section about three or four time to try and figure out the dialogue circle and played the tutorial battle twice to kind of figure out what I was doing (also because I lost). Even though there was a bit of trial and error and a bit of a learning curve to the battle system, it never got to a point where I got so frustrated to the point where I said “forget this” and quit the game. I enjoyed the bit I had put into the game and look forward to where the story goes.