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Developed as a “companion” to the Spirit Hunter: Death Mark game by Experience, this adventure/horror combines loveable characters, quick decision making, and terrifying events to create an absolutely gripping story.
Experience has already shown that they can scare the absolute shit out of us with the horrors produced for Death Mark, but in that title things got hairy rather quickly. That isn’t the case with Spirit Hunter: NG which instead takes the time to introduce the various characters and explore their connection and shared past. This adds an extra ingredient which makes us care for a wider party as the danger intensifies, and not solely on the protagonists well being.
Taking the role of Akira Kijima puts you in the shoes of a quiet loner, living alone after the death of his parents, and adopted by his Aunt. Akira doesn’t even own a TV, seeing it as a waste of time and a distraction, but he does however release the built up rage inside of him in quick and violent bursts when fighting in an underground competitive racket, and encouraged by his Yakuza-to-be best friend Seiji Anamone.
Having lost her husband in the past year, Akira’s Aunt tries to keep busy by running the sleepy little bar he had owned and loved before dying. In order to help out, you occasionally look after your cousin/now-sister Ami after school hours. It’s obvious early in our adventure that she adores Akira, but you get to decide just how enthusiastic you act when faced with her bubbly energy and many questions.
One night, after taking Ami back to your appartment, Akira discovers a strange black postcard left at the door, the first indication of the dark events about to unfold. Dun dun Daaaaa.
School break has begun, and Ami tries to spend more time with her adopted older brother, and convinces Akira to take her to pick flowers to leave at the site of a tragic hit and run in which her close friend had been killed. Things get out of hand shortly after when Ami suddenly disappears, and a spirit taunts Akira forcing him to play a game in order to get his sister back.
From what I understand, Spirit Hunter: NG isn’t a direct sequel or prequel in relation to Death Mark, instead it’s a story of it’s own within the same realm. There are actually occasional glimpses of re-used artwork in certain scenes.
Up until this point in Spirit Hunter: NG there isn’t as much as jump-scare equivalent with a reaction to a sudden sneeze. There is plenty of room to squeeze something in, but mostly the first hour or so of the game go by with dense dialogue and character set-ups, and nothing in between.
However, from the moment you head out to investigate the urban legend of The Urushima Pregnant Woman things start to get horrific.
It’s also around this time that Akira discovers he has the power of “Bloodmetry” which allows him to touch a blood stain and envision the events that took place when it was caused.
Using this strong, paranormal investigative tool, and aided be an occult idol and freaky shit knowledge bank, he must unravel this mystery and recover his sister-cousin Ami.
Your navigation through the story is done through the classic menu, with various responses, either verbal or via your body language. There are also puzzles to solve, and “Crisis Choice” moments where you will need to select the correct action before the timer runs out, make the wrong choice and it’s on to some gory death for you.
It could be something as simple as some ghost hands, slamming down on your notepad while you read. Or, something more spine-tingling like the ominous daemon voices that come out of nowhere. Whatever the case may be, the developer has filled Spirit Hunter: NG to the brim with spooky shit.
If you are into visual novels, dripping with cheeky innuendo and more twists than a pair of headphones discarded in your bedside drawer, Spirit Hunter: NG is worth the play.