Toukiden 2 Review – Open World Demon Hunting

Today we’re taking a look at Toukiden 2 which released on consoles and PC. Omega Force under the watchful gaze of publisher Tecmo Koei released its Monster Hunter style offering on the PS Vita with versions making their way to the PS4 and then PC entitled Toukiden Kiwami. That was back in 2015 and now in 2017 the demon hunting returns with Toukiden 2 which released on PS3 (in Japan), PS Vita, PS4 and PC. With a revised game is it worth jumping in for more hack and slash gaming.

First things first right out of the gate, the game’s visuals aren’t great and what might have been passable a few years back isn’t cutting it in 2017 especially when you have a concurrent PC, PS4 Pro release to be mindful of. The biggest issue here is inclusion and so releasing the game on last gen hardware (the PS3 and to a lesser extent on the PS Vita) and not offering suitable visual upgrade for more modern systems is a poor move. Toukiden 2 simply looks dated. Players are going to have to get over that however at 1080p 60 frames per second on PC you can still have fun.

The biggest change to the game which largely remains identical to its predecessor is the option to free-roam the lands without running into segmented areas separated by loading screens. This is a welcome addition which gives the player a little more freedom to just head out into the wilds and see what happens or undertake side quests from various NPCs. Players can also hook up with NPCs battling demons here which gives the game an MMO flavour. There’s a story here as well which takes precedence this time round and is a much more integrated offering as players assume the role of the fully customizable “Slayer” character. At the game’s start you’re able to select either a male or female fighter with some quite in-depth tools (ahem, looking at you Mass Effect Andromeda) to tinker with to get the look you’re after. Your slayer enters the fray with amnesia and after travelling through time ten years earlier lands right into the heart of new battles against the Oni, or Demons.

Players can still also embark on set missions by choosing a party of up to three AI team mates and then entering a boxed in zone to battle specific enemies. This is a more concise offering which removes the hunting aspect of the previous game and just allows you to fight.

The game’s combat is still rather simplified with one or two attack buttons and few specials, although there’s an all new demon hand option which allows you to grab on to demons and pull yourself towards them for extra tactical attack. You’re also able to use it to evade and navigate hard to reach areas. It’s a neat addition to the game and allows for some body part pulling antics as well with coordinated attacks. You’ve also got some excellent choice of weapons to choose from such as swords, guns, bows and arrows, dual knives and so on. there’s something for everyone considering each weapon has its own play style. You’re free to pick and choose at any time to find what style works best for you. Visiting the armorer in the village allows you to craft more gear and upgrade weapons and armor making good use of all the parts and items you collect in the field – which can appear a bit overwhelming at first.

The underlying Mitamas return – that’s spirits of past fallen warriors – who aid you in battle providing unique buffs and even special attacks. Players can build up a healthy collection of these and equip them. In all there’s a fair bit to sink one’s teeth into but the underlying theme is fighting the large Oni and grabbing their parts for use with creating better gear.

In terms of visuals, as mentioned this is the weakest aspect of the game. It’s simply not good and could be so much better with specific updated textures and details for the PS4/PC versions. The PC game does offer some limited options to tinker with such as Anti-Aliasing, shadows and Reflections, but even these are hampered with a max resolution of 1080p.

Audio is pleasant with some atmospheric music played throughout although the voice over audio is set to Japanese with English subtitles. There’s quite a bit of dialogue to wade through during the story and in some instances the voice overs give way to just text and the text gives way to just Japanese voices with no way for English players to understand what’s being said. So, again another negative here that could easily have been fixed.

Players can sink quite a number of hours into the single player portion of the game and keep on battling through all the missions and even a tower. However there’s option to head online and play co-op with other gamers. This is quite limited in terms of available players so in reality if you’ve got friends then this is the best way to play. That said, it’s quite easy to jump in and out of co-op at the village hub area where you can create your own room or join others should you feel the need. Alternatively, the AI team mates are pretty good where it seems the Oni health have become less spongy and easier to take down so unless you’re into voice chat and tactics, the single player experience is pretty much the same as online plus you get the bonus of being able to free wander the lands which you can’t do online.

Toukiden Kiwami was and still is an excellent game and one of Omega Force’s finest games. However, with Toukiden 2 – it’s a chance to improve the series further – but just feels like a lazy port of a handheld game which doesn’t take into consideration the strengths of current hardware. In this regard the game is a let down despite offering very similar gameplay features to its predecessor which for all intents and purposes remains fun, albeit repetitive hack and slashing. The freedom to move around and just do what you like, the demon hands and new story is welcome, but it’s hard to be as excited as the previous release considering it’s essentially the same game with few improvements to core features. If you’re a fan of the series then sure this is a welcome and somewhat familiar experience to behold and certainly worth checking out. It’s also a more concise game for newcomers to sink their teeth into, but the caveats are here to be taken as sound advice. If you expect something more pretty on PS4/PC then avoid, if you’re after more depth then you won’t find it here. If you like mindless running about and engaging but repetitive demon fights then this is your game which will entertain for hours.

Score – 8/10

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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