Unlike some of the more fanatical Playstation Vita Owners I haven’t imported Toukiden, nor have I created a Japanese Playstation Network account just to buy it. I have however waited for its release with baited breath. I’m a shameless fan of Monster Hunter and its ilk and I’m not so caught up in worrying about whether or not something is a clone or not. So when the demo was released I downloaded it and gave it a spin.
If you’ve played a Monster Hunter or Phantasy Star before (or one of their clones) you’ll know why I put this first. For those who haven’t played the sub-genre before a weapon in these games is basically your class, whilst you aren’t locked into anyone of these weapons for the entirety of the game they each provide a unique experience, or at least they should.
Luckily Toukiden managed to get that much right; each weapon definitely feels different from the others. It’s easy to tell that not only did they want to give each weapon a unique move set and combo list, they also wanted to set them apart from Monster Hunter’s weapons. The weapons included are the long sword, twin blades, spear, gauntlets, chain sickle and the bow.
Although with that said they still have the basic similarities there for half of the weapons, the other half are very different from anything Monster Hunter can offer. I gave each of them a healthy trial and enjoyed each of them. I found the dual blades to be the most interesting although I didn’t really get the chance to fully test out its capabilities (aerial combos) since they only gave me two bosses to cut my teeth on and there isn’t much point in jumping when you’re fighting lowly minions.
If I’m going to talk about Toukiden’s unique features I can’t go past its leveling system through the use of what the game calls “Mitama”. The Mitama are player augments which can be added to weapons, the amount you can use is limited to your weapon’s slots. According to the koei wiki you can eventually hold up to three Mitama at a time. The Mitama are split up into eight categories: attack, defence, speed, healing, spirit, deceit, space and luck. Although I only got to try out three of those (attack, defence, spirit) and they all seemed pretty rudimentary. However I could only get them to low levels using just the content in the DLC (level 2) so I can’t judge them on that alone.
Last but not least Toukiden has a spin on a Monster Hunter signature feature: breakable parts on bosses. Like Soul Sacrifice you can use a temporary vision to check the health and location of each breakable part, but unique to Toukiden is the requirement for “purifying”. This requires you or your party member to stand still and cast a spell whilst you break down the limb or carapace. If you’re successful in purifying the body part you will be rewarded in the way of a crafting item (these are integral to acquisition of new weapons and armour). If you fail to purify by waiting too long the body part will grow back and you’ll have to break it again.
Whilst it isn’t necessarily an oddity in these games Toukiden includes a lock on feature and a way to tell how much health the enemies have left, which is another way to tell it apart from Monster Hunter.
Toukiden also features a far more in depth party system than Monster Hunter, putting it more on par with Soul Sacrifice or even a JRPG in that you can use different party member to help you out on your missions, each party member has a unique combination of weapon/Mitama to set them apart from each other. They also have their own story and personality which you’ll quickly find out.
Speaking of story I don’t really have much to say on that particular aspect except that the back story is somewhat interesting but has honestly been done quite a few times (demons breaking out into the world). The main things that stood out here was the strong Japanese theme in the monsters, character design and world design. It definitely helps keep it all fresh and who knows the story may yet surprise me much like Soul Sacrifice did.
There was no English voice acting in this game, if reading during cutscenes bothers you then you may want to skip this game. Personally I find it refreshing as I normally play with Japanese voices on anyway and it seems to be a waste of money to pay English Voice actors in my opinion (or any voice actors for anything other than grunts for this type of game to be honest).
People who will like Toukiden
- People who enjoyed Monster Hunter and Soul Sacrifice should definitely give this one a buy (or at least a try from the demo)
- People who are prepared for some grinding (how much is required has yet to be seen).
- People who like the idea of free content pack DLC
- People who like online and local co-op
People who won’t like Toukiden
- Impatient gamers. I don’t mean this in a bad way but you really need to be patient with these games (battles can last for almost an hour) it can take a long time to get a hang of these games if it’s you first time playing one of its like.
- Casual gamers. Only enjoy turn based games like Pokémon or easy going games like animal crossing? You will not enjoy Toukiden at all.
- Those who thought Dark Souls was super hard and disliked it because of that. Because if it’s anything like Monster Hunter it will be a lot harder as you progress through the game.
- People with no memory card (this game requires one).