So I decided I’d take a closer look at Toukiden – mainly because, while I’ve been quietly excited about this game, it hasn’t garnered much interest from most of the western games press. That bothers me, so I figured I should put things right by giving it a little love on Rice Digital – editorial speaking… though I’m not sure what other kind of love I could give it… >_<
Given that not much has been written about it, I guess I should start from the beginning. Toukiden is being developed by Omega Force. You probably know them best as one of the main driving forces behind the Dynasty Warriors series. While Dynasty Warriors is very much about the button mash – almost mindlessly so – Toukiden takes its cues from one of my favourite game series ever – Monster Hunter.
In fact, it’s probably best described as a darker, more demonic, more fleshy Monster Hunter. While the slower, more considered, weight combat of Capcom’s series is definitely in effect here, Toukiden adds in another very interesting layer into the combat system, where the part of the monster you’re attacking has increased significance.
The demons in the game for example, will initially be highly resistant to physical attacks. And so you have to specifically target weak spots in order to make them more vulnerable. Once you’ve identified the weaker areas – some of which are better attacked with specific weapons (so team work is key) – you can concentrate your attacks to break those areas off. Damage these areas enough and the demon will become much more vulnerable to physical attacks – allowing you to finish it off.
The core structure of the game will be very familiar to anyone who has played Monster Hunter – just one look at the screenshots with it’s eerily similar UI and fragmented Map – will surely confuse anyone at first glance!
Play is divided into two main areas – you have your main hub – the village of Utakata – and it’s here you’ll be getting down to the main business of armour and weapon loadout (in your home) the crafting and upgrading of weapons (at the blacksmith) as well as visiting a shrine where you can developer your abilities by enchanting them into your weapons. As always in hunter-style games there’s also a reception style area where you can pick up any quests.
The demo for Toukiden gives you an insight into your early foray into the world. As you’d expect – there’s a reasonable character creation system in the game, allowing you to tweak your gender, face haircolour etc via the usual kind of presets. The main difference in Toukiden is that of weapon choice – which essentially dictates your play-style.
There are six weapon classes in the Toukiden. Katana is your all rounder – with a good balance of power and speed. Gloves are the close-quarters heavy hitters – and though they are slower than the Katana, they also have an interesting system where damage stacks – getting progressively more powerful with each hit in a combo.
Chain, Spear and Bow are the mid to long range choices respectively. The chain is especially interesting as it allows you to grapple onto enemies to get to hard to reach weak spots – while the bow – the ranged choice, can be charged for more powerful shots. The spear is the ranged melee option – and allows you to charge up each strike in a combo – for a slower, more considered, but very powerful attacking option.
Lastly, comes the dual wield style – and the fastest-but-weakest weapon choice for those who like your combat a little more rushdown. Dual Swords also allow you to use jumping attacks to get to those hard to reach weak spots – similar to the Chain.
So far then, Toukiden offers plenty to look forward to. From what we’ve seen so far, while it’s so obviously a clone of Capcom’s classic series – this is really no bad thing. With Monster Hunter now firmly rooted on Nintendo consoles, Toukiden will undoubtedly offer Vita fans a decent alternative.
Can it offer the same depth and quality long-term? Only time will tell. I’m considering importing this next week as long as I’ve finished Atelier Totori which I think will be my next review… 🙂 If I do, I’ll do a more detailed follow up.
There is a demo for Toukiden on the Japanese Playstation Store.
Toukiden releases in Japan on the 27th of June! ^_^
ILJG runs the I Love Japanese Games Facebook Page.
His views are not necessarily those held by Rice Digital or it’s partners
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