New and improved oni slaying.
In the recent years, I have became a pretty big fan of Monster Hunter style games. The rewarding feeling when I take down a giant beast with a few friends was something that I strived for that few games really offered except for the staple franchise. A few years ago, I was asked to review Toukiden Kiwami, a game I honestly had never heard of let alone knew it was an expansion of the first Toukiden. Both of these games were Monster Hunter-esque with some differences in there that differentiate themselves from the MH games. Toukiden felt more fast, a bit more action-y, and just different enough to feel fresh. Now, with much anticipation, Toukiden 2 hits and I have to say, this is the best non-Monster Hunter Monster Hunter game I have played to date.
Players take on the role of a slayer, a powerful hunter that takes on oni/demons that have invaded the world and left it in fear and turmoil. The player character sees when it all began, when the demons first invaded the world and started their takeover. While fighting a large oni, the player character is sent through a portal which is actually a rift in time. Being found by a pushy professor and her little robot assistant, the player character now finds themselves 10 years in the future with no real memories of what has happened or what really happened before the time travel. Now, as the player character is still blinking in and out of the current time period, they must form bonds with the people of this era in order to stay bound to the time while still trying to figure out what happened and how to possibly get back to their own time, hopefully, to a time before the demons took over.
Platforms: PS4, Vita
MSRP: $59.99 (PS4) $39.99 (Vita)
Price I’d pay: $59.99/$39.99
Much like in Kiwami, Toukiden 2 is a much more story driven game for the genre. There are tons of cutscenes and dialog that move the story along, most of which was interesting enough to keep players going. Of course, some can get a bit long winded, but it is at least an interesting story full of magic, technology, and demons.
The big difference now is that Toukiden 2 has gone open world. In the single player story mode, players are free to roam around the world fighting random oni both big and small. Scattered throughout the world, there are side quests players can take on that usually revolve around gathering certain things or killing boss oni. While it is nothing to scoff at, I could have used a bit more variety when it came to the side quests. While the world is rather expansive, it does feel a bit emptier than I would have hoped. It seemed like I ran into the same three enemy types for the first five or six hours of the story, and it only really changes up when progressing by a large amount.
The combat is where Toukiden 2 shines. Much like Monster Hunter, the combat revolves around what weapon is being used. Each weapon has its own play style of usage and players will have to experiment to figure out which one works for them. There is some pretty good variety to choose from that can be either complex or rather simple, and Toukiden 2 adds two new weapons to use: chain whip and sword and shield, both of which play vastly different from the others.
Like any other game in the genre, it all revolves around doing hunts in order to gather materials to craft better armor and weapons. The best way to do this is by defeating oni – not only defeating them, but cutting, bashing, and ripping off their limbs and appendages. Each oni has multiple spots on their bodies that can be removed. Doing so will yield more materials to use for crafting. Of course, players must purify the body part first by holding down a button around the part and slowly purifying it to add to the inventory.
But the biggest improvement to the combat and even to traversal is the demon hand. This device allows slayers to aim, grab, and either pull themselves towards a part of the environment or an oni. This allows for some high flying attacks and really nice dodging when taking on the giant beasts. Players can even trip the oni when they are charging with a well timed demon hand grab. When the unity bar is full, they can even use the demon hand to target a body part, rip it off, and instantly purify it. It comes in handy with traversal as well. Allowing players to grab and pull up towards trees and ledges will have them reach higher spots in the open world that they couldn’t reach by auto jumping.
Now, growing stronger via equipment isn’t the only way to improve. Mitama is back from the first iteration, and has some new features as well. Mitama are the souls of fallen historical figures that players can equip to boost their stats, along with allowing them to use special abilities desgined for the type of Mitama. So if a player is using a Strength Mitama, they can expect to have abilities revolving around boosting their critical hit chance, attack power, and others. Players using a Control Mitama can expect to use abilities that allow them to control the battlefield using decoys and debilitating attacks that can trap and hinder the oni. There are tons of these in the game, and a good variety of types that allow players to not only decide what style weapon they want to use, but also what kind of abilities via Mitama they want. It’s like another, deeper level of customization and it makes it feel like every character can feel different.
Now, players can equip three Mitamas. One for their abilities, and two for defensive and activated passive abilities. It all depends on the Mitama, but this adds up to a lot to figure out when it comes to maximizing their character’s efficiency. Along with that, Mitama will level up and gain new passive abilities that can be mixed and matched to the player’s liking.
While I spent most of my time locked onto a boss oni, the camera still has some issues either getting far too close to the action, or looking at absolutely nothing on screen while my slayer is getting pummeled off screen in a corner somewhere. Locking the camera is the best way to go, but it’s still not flawless.
Much like Monster Hunter, Toukiden’s player base will most likely be playing a lot of the online multiplayer. Here, up to four players can take on a series of hunts that begin simple and turn into a test of skill and teamwork with the later missions. Here, the monsters are harder to kill due to the game suggesting they have other players with them. It’s easy enough to get into a game – players can open up a lobby for anyone to come in, or have their friends join in. Even if there are only two players, the host can simply put AI controlled party members in that actually do a pretty great job of dealing damage and purifying body parts on their own. This is where the real game begins. Taking on giant onis with a group of four players while coordinating their efforts is some fun and satisfying gameplay, and with the stable online play, it makes it that much better. Throughout my time with the online play after launch, I had maybe one room that had some lag issues. Other than that, it ran perfectly fine.
While the visuals aren’t going to knock anyone’s socks off, the character models and the new armors equipped are decently detailed and seeing the next set was as addicting as seeing my stats go up.
Monster Hunter fans should check this game out. It has a lot of depth to it while still being an accessible hunting game without all the preparation needed. It feels a bit more action-based, while still feeling familiar. At the same time, action RPG players will find a lot of fun here with Toukiden 2, and people always wanting to get into the Monster Hunter genre can find an easy time here. I highly suggest this game to action fans as well as fans of the RPG genre, and yes, I know how a lot of Monster Hunter purists are, but they should really try this one out as well. It may not be as deep in some aspects but it does have its merits. I can easily see myself playing this game for the next few months, and if you let it hook its demon hand into you, you will too.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.