Tokyo Dark Review – Where Western and Japanese Games Don’t Make A Good Game
There was a good idea here, it’s gone now though. Another example of a great idea with poor execution.
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: September 7th, 2017
Platforms: PC, Mac (TBA)
Platform Reviewed on: PC, purchased myself.
Tokyo Dark is a psychological horror, point and click game on PC, Mac TBA. You play Detective Ito looking for her lost, partner in all meanings, law enforcement and romantic. As I find some issue with the writing and direct plot points, there will be spoilers. Also if you would like the avoid pedophilic and/or sexual abuse mentions and actions (it’s not shown), there are several moments that the game gives you no warning for, so please be warned for that.
Keep in mind, I only played one ending and started to play to another ending, but have decided against playing anymore of the endings, due to the monotony of the game, even if you can save in New Game+ mode, there’s nothing else that could change my mind.
Tokyo Dark has to be the most non-horror, horror game I’ve played. Sure there’s scary moments for about two hours total but when they are broken up by most of your time mulling around Tokyo doing errands for, bartenders, hostesses, high school girls, the yakuza and so on, it really ruins the tone. There was only about three moments that felt really meta, and it just pulled the same trick repeatedly. The only other meta situation is the two spooky old men talking at the end letting you know, that they know about the multiple endings. Don’t worry though, because your main character also acknowledges that there are multiple ending and you unlock save slots, throwing out the idea that everything is final.
The writing is just generic and nothing profound or interesting. There’s also two chapters of pure filler, that honestly just adds more loose ties than solves them, of the three Kickstarter chapters, only the suicide forest was okay, because the idea of a death cult in Aokigahara, is really edgy but I’ll take it. When they need a male to be a villain they make him sexually abuse a female on top of what he’s already done, and when they want a female to be a villain she’s just abused to their breaking point and tell her she chose to do what she’s done. When treat mental illness, they treat it like it makes you interesting if you do nothing bad, but if you do bad things you are irredeemable and should die, at least in females. For males apparently, they would rather die because they feel a duty to look after the woman they’re dating. I’m not sure if you can tell, but this game is written by non-Japanese men, while there’s nothing wrong about that, however, the writers just feels like they don’t have an actual understanding women and girls, and that trauma is the only way to make a female evil.
They bring up Izanami and Izanagi and Yomi to allude to their otherworld and story. However, the other/underworld is not what it’s hyped to be with the Yomi comparison. Yomi is the dark land of death, Tokyo Dark stops at dark. It’s just dark, nothing else.
I went through seven hours just to get literally nothing, but black and gray. I just had more hope for their underworld to look interesting, considering the rest of the world looks filled out and lush.
There’s very few puzzles in the whole game, maybe two or three. One of them is a blinking light puzzle that I think you either have to watch how many times it blinks or what order, I’m honestly not sure, however something that is good, is that if you’re not sure, the game will tell you what order. However, what is annoying is that the lights are not all on one screen, and pacing gives you a negative neurosis rating. The rest of the gameplay is just fetch quests, that NPCs give you, to get info from other NPCs and becomes very stale and ruins the tone of the game, considering the NPCs at times can be whimsical and silly.
I don’t think Tokyo Dark is a bad game, I just feel like they didn’t know what tone to set, and are trying to do a dark and serious games, while having self insert characters. I cannot say it’s not exactly what was advertised, but it did let me down. When three plus hours of my time was doing quests for uninteresting NPCs with a confusing half explained cult, it’s not charming. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the ability to make the bad choices I’m known for, but the writing just fails when it takes three plus hours to highlight random NPCs without probably explaining the major part of the plot in one ending.
- Well animated anime cutscenes
- The soundtrack
- The inconsistent theming and writing
- Ending system
- Repetitive gameplay