So, to be clear, I’ve never played any of the “Disaster Report” titles. My understanding of the series is that it is a set of fairly bleak games where you found yourself smack dab in the middle of horrible things happening and need to scavenge for resources to survive while the world around you does its level best to kill you.
Honestly, that’s a little too hard-core for me.
On the other hand, if you take that basic idea, only the horrible thing that is happening is that Tokyo is inexplicably invaded by a whole host of giant monsters while mecha rampage through the streets… well, that is an ENTIRELY different story.
And that’s the gimmick behind Kyoei Toshi, aka “City Shrouded in Shadows”. It’s a survival game where your goals include “avoid being stepped on by Ultraman” and “don’t get eaten by the Legion insects from the Gamera movies” and “try not to get brutally crushed by a construction mecha”.
This is not a safe place to be.
In the meantime, you have a just-a-little-bit-mysterious girlfriend who you are trying to keep alive and drag along with you. It’s rather like Ico, I suppose, if Fumito Ueda had decided to drop Godzilla into that game to spice it up a bit.
There’s a plot beyond “survive”, of course, in that you are being chased by well-dressed agents of some nefarious organization who have decided that you are somehow responsible for the giant monsters. So when you’re not caught in the middle of a fight between Eva-01 and an angel, you may be running away while they try to ram you with a car, or being chased by them through an office building while it is being blown apart by yet another Toho Studios monster who I will not spoil in this article.
Seriously. Don’t throw “City Shrouded in Shadow” into Google Image Search, because half of the fun of the game is not knowing who is going to show up. The opening movie reveals that you will be meeting Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman, the aforementioned Eva-01 and Alphonse from Patlabor, and that should be enough for anyone of a certain age and inclination.
It is not a particularly polished game. Frankly, it looks like 90% of the budget for the game went into licensing the characters, and whatever was left had to be stretched across the entire development budget. There are lots of barren environments, recycled props and some absolutely dire textures, and the frame rate is questionable, at best. In addition, some of the game sequences are teeth-grindingly frustrating, with bottomless pits opening below you without warning and the like, and let’s not forget the occasional sequence where you need to navigate through hazards by staring at a mini-map because the camera is deliberately locked to an entirely useless angle. This is not a “AAA” game, and even “AA” is pushing it a little.
THESE THINGS ARE NOT IMPORTANT, but I mention them so it doesn’t look like I’m blindly raving about this game. It has flaws. So many flaws. They do not matter.
Oh, you probably need to know some Japanese. A fair bit of Japanese, if I’m honest. I’m sure there are translation guides on the Internet, though.
Also, while this is a low budget game, it’s also quite affordable. You can get it from the Japanese PSN for Y4104, if you have a Japanese account and can get your hands on a Japanese PSN points card. Physical copies are available on Amazon for about the price of a regular PS4 game.
Seriously, we are talking the pinnacle of interactive entertainment, the end result of decades of game developers honing their craft. Any price would be a small price to pay.