Friday, 28 February 2014

Review : Toukiden Age of demons

Toukiden is the new hunting game of Tecmo Koei. Toukiden is trying to fill the enormous gap left by Monster hunter. The reception of the game can be described as success since it was met with critical and audience acclaim with strong numbers to back it up.For over a millennium the slayers have battled oni from the shadows of history. Since the awakening eight years ago, however the Oni appeared in such high numbers they almost captured every corner of the world. Thanks to the slayers who fought hard they achieved to push back the Oni. However, the price they had to pay was enormous. The only lands free of Oni are the midlands. Furthermore, The Oni are in great numbers and the slayers have a hard time giving the Oni resistance. However, there is hope since a new slayer has arisen. You and the other slayers are the only one who can keep the Oni at bay and prevent them from consuming the world.
Toukiden beginning was straightforward as I like it. When I booted up the game I was dropped right into action. A giant monster emerged from the flames, or as they are referred in the game and in Japanese folklore – Oni. The giant beast had no problem with me and punched me so hard I flew like a ragdoll through the air.  When you play this game for the first time you think the weapon movements are a tad basic but the more I played the game the more I understand the combat is so much deeper. The first thought I had after discovering this was; you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The game starts with you choosing a character, after this you are given the choice of seven weapons; a long sword, dual swords, spear , gauntlets, chain and sickle or a bow.  They each have their own special attack but on the beginning it feels limited. However, when you start training with the head of the slayers you will be given enough tips to expand your weapon movements. Each weapon has a rapid attack, heavy or basic attack.
Like monster hunter you can harvest materials by hunting Oni. If you have invested enough in hunting you can buy better versions or create better weapons or armor. I recommend you to hunt a lot since you can only get the best equipment by gathering materials. The thing i liked about the forging of another weapons and armor in this game that it isn't as hard as i expected. You do have to invest time in it but it's no grinding hours and hours to get that special equipment.
The first thing you notice when you boot up the game it’s a very pretty game. I can assure you this is one of the prettiest vita games I have ever seen. I can be called in the same breath as killzone mercenary, Muramasa rebirth and tear away. The environments look very varied with typical Japanese village’s and wildlife. This game is pretty and I noticed myself just running around to observe the beauty a little longer. You will travel the same way as you do in Monster Hunter from area to area searching for you to devour the Oni before they devour you.

The best part has yet to come.  Here is where the game starts to be more interesting than it looks. Again don’t judge a book by its cover. Mitama are ancient warrior souls who were consumed by the Oni after being slayed by them. The Mitama are being released when you defeat the Oni that consumed them. This past ancient warrior souls will come to your aid in your quest to defeat the Oni and cleanse them from this world. This Mitama will help you by increasing stats. You do this by letting the Mitama posses your weapons. The thrill is that the Mitama will be a reason to invest many hours in the game to collect them all. There are around 200 Mitama's in the game. 
Buttonmashing isn’t recommended. The lower class Oni isn’t difficult to surpass but the higher class Oni will give you a hard time. When you buttonmash I can assure you will not survive for long. To defeat higher class Oni you have to observe their movement. In the demo I fought the manhunter Oni. The manhunter Oni is a large spider with a head of a lion. At first he thought he wasn’t that strong but then he unleashed its sickle-shaped claws and nearly killed me. Luckily, I dodged at the right time. In the battle I noticed I could cut of its body parts.  This is the best way to defeat the Oni since it can’t use that body part anymore. However,  the slayer has to perform the rite of purification without doing this the miasma still exists and the Oni can simply regrow his limbs. This really positively surprised me because I didn’t knew what hit me when the Oni regrown his limb.
The game offers a same mechanic as Soul sacrifice with the ability of the eye of thruth. With the eye of truth the slayers can check the health of the Oni and its remaining limbs (If you haven’t cut them off by then)The thing I was most exicted about is Utakata Village. In the village you have your own home where you can change  your equipment. The village offers us a blacksmith who can create armors, a merchant who buys your items you horded in  your missions , a secret altar with an Oni begging for haku which you will be rewarded … and it is been said there is a hot spring. Why am I so excited by this? Because I noticed I got fatigued by Soul sacrifice because there wasn’t a moment to do something else then hunting monsters. Finally, the multiplayer is fun! I have played this game a couple of time online and i can say it all works fine. However, the are some negatives. It baffles me that there wasn't a way to invite a friend in a lobby. The thing you can do is to use the search function. However, even after using this function i couldn't find my friends lobby.  

This game is another gem for the Playstation vita. The game has an interesting story which isn't common with hunting games. It's refreshing to see a variety in the weapons department. Every weapon feels different and will keep things fresh. Furthermore, the game is a real eye catcher the environments are beautiful to look at and the characters are very detailed. This game can be called in the same sentence as killzone and Muramasa rebirth. The limb cutting and the introduction of Mitama are refreshing and will keep you stay playing this game.   My opinion is that every hunting fan should get this game because this game is the closest thing you will get on the Playstation vita. 


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