Game Title: Toukiden 2
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Download: 2.7 GB
Availability: Retail (US, EU), Digital Download (US, EU)
PSTV Support: Yes
The hunting genre has made quite a name for itself, on console and handheld alike. This past generation has had a lot of hunters. To name a few: God Eater: Resurrection/GE2: Rage Burst, Final Fantasy Explorers, Freedom Wars, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate/Generations, Toukiden: Age of Demons/Kiwami, and the list just keeps on climbing.
The good thing about this is that the hunters that have a large focus on story are expanding and becoming their own series with their own unique backstory and plot. God Eater did this last gen with the PSP and continues in this generation. Others are as well, particularly the most similar hunter to MH, Toukiden. Age of Demons and Kiwami had a lot of backstory and added a lot of character to its series, despite its design looking heavily inspired by Koei Tecmo’s “Warriors” series.
Toukiden is continuing on with a fully-fledged sequel with a new cast of characters. Finally in the West, here is my review of the open-world Hunting RPG, Toukiden 2!
The plot of 2 begins during the event called “The Awakening”, when the human civilization fell when giant monsters called Oni appear in the world and ravage everything around them. You are a Slayer in the very first battle of the Awakening when you are swallowed up by a portal. 10 years later (2 years after the events of Age of Demons and Kiwami), you awaken near a village of slayers with no memory of your past. Taken in by a local “Professor”, you begin fighting the Oni an exploring around the village for clues of your past.
The story of 2 is really good because of 2 reasons. Despite the fact that it has an almost all new cast, all of the characters are very likeable and it’s easy to really dive into their individual backstories. The other is the fact that we are given a lot more backstory about the Oni and how The Awakening happened in the first place. Over the course of the game, you will find out where the Oni came from, how they came into the human realm, and discovering a way to push them back from lands they’ve infected.
Toukiden 2 is an Open-World Hunting Action Game/ Hunting RPG. Across missions and story progression, you’re going to be exploring a large world that you have free roam to explore while fighting off small monsters as well as giant boss fights. It’s very similar to the first Toukiden, but with far less focus on enclosed missions and much more focus on exploration and story.
First off, past the open-world, what is new about this game? First off, only about half of the enemies in the game return from AoD and Kiwami. Most of the bosses you fight in the story are new with most returning bosses are saved for optional missions. There are also a handful of new weapon types, Mitama skills, and the new Demon Hand sub-weapon used in combat and story alike.
But first thing’s first. This is an open-world game, so what does that entail? When you leave your village, you walk freely out into the open world. You can run around and take side quests from NPCs, join multiplayer “Joint Operations” that are littered around some of the dungeon-like areas. But the biggest thing is that you can freely explore all of these giant open areas without taking on missions or doing story objectives. If you want to gather materials on your own, you can just form your party and just run around for the sake of running around, fighting whatever bosses or enemies you encounter and choose to fight.
The removal of time limits is countered with a survival element called Miasma, the dark energy the Oni pour into the human world. As you explore Oni-infested areas, you suffer from Miasma exposure (Like radiation in Fallout). If the gauge fills up, you die and get a Game Over, but if you watch the gauge and make sure you find shrines littered around the map that cure you of it, it’s easy to manage what you need to get done.
This also leads to an exploration-based story. Every time the story moves forward, you get a marker on your map to go to, leading the game away from enclosed missions and more focusing on exploration without time limits. Over the course of the game, you can complete the story by only doing 2 missions during a couple “Do a mission until some event happens to advance the story” phases of the game. Since you encounter Oni out in the field, there’s no risk of not getting materials you need for weapons and armor until post-game.
The biggest non-combat aspect returns in the form of Weapon/Armor Crafting and Mitama Management. Crafting is pretty simple. Bring the right materials, and you can create new weapons or armor, and again to enhance them so they get stronger. That’s pretty basic Hunting RPG stuff. Mitama management is a bit enhanced from the last game, though. You get Mitama to equip and they have skills, but they also have “Boosts” you can equip to further enhance your experience, like giving you bonuses when you collect body parts from bosses or using certain weapon types, which are further enhanced as you fight with them and the Mitama, themselves, level up.
Now onto actual combat. Outside of the new weapon types, combat hasn’t changed that much. You still take a party of up to 4 members out in the field and fight Oni. The Rifle still has various ammo types and the sword still swings as slow as it always has. The main enhancements are thanks to the Demon Hand sub-weapon. This allows you to grapple onto an enemy to do aerial attacks, but is also tied to the Unity Gauge.
In Kiwami, you could perform special “Ultimate Attacks” with your party when the Unity Gauge is filled up. In this game, it allows you to grab onto an Oni with the Demon Hand and then perform a large punch attack that has a high probability of sending them flying and ripping off body parts for you to collect. It’s the same basic idea, but a little easier to pull off since it’s like a long-range grappling hook.
Repetition I feel is not an issue in this game, like other hunters. Many past hunters are repetitive because you’re always doing enclosed missions and you’re constantly re-fighting the same bosses over and over again. In Toukiden 2, outside of the optional missions, I only repeated bosses a couple times across the entire game. It is far less repetitive than the first game was, thanks to both this and the open-world.
The difficulty this time around I put it around average. While the game is challenging, I found it to be a pretty easy-to-grasp experience outside of the post-game missions that unlock once you beat the story. To give an example, many of the final boss fights I thought were long, but I never had a problem dodging and fighting them with the Rifle (only to find out that the game’s shop actually had a rifle twice as powerful as the one I was using that I could’ve used instead). If you’re used to the genre, it shouldn’t be too hard, especially if you’ve played the first game and remember boss patterns for the returning enemies.
Length is kind of subjective. I’ll put it in 2 different perspectives. If you want to do no side quests. No needless exploration. No optional missions. You only want to do the story. If you do it like that and rush through the game, you can beat the story in about 17 hours. If you do it proper with upgrades and a few side quests and missions here and there, you’re looking more towards 25-30 hours. So, as long as you don’t try to race your way through the game, you’re getting quite a bit of time out of the game.
Controls are very important because of the differences between playing on the Vita and playing on the PlayStation TV. The PSTV control scheme is very different from the Vita one and actually plays much better. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
On the Vita, you use the Left Analog Stick to move and the Right Stick to move the camera. L is used to reset the camera behind you and R is for certain types of attacks (like firing bullets with the Rifle), or doing a normal dash. X is used for dodging, Circle for charge attacks, Triangle for a sub-action (reloading the rifle), and Square for melee attacks. And then the Demon Hand, High-Speed Dash, and Mitama Skills are all done on the touch screen.
On the PSTV, the touch screen controls are redirected to the extra buttons. L3 uses the high-speed dash, L2 is for Skills and R2 is used for the Demon Hand.
The Demon Hand is is where the problem lies. On the Vita, you hold the touch screen and aim towards the enemy, but for some reason, the registration of targets is incredibly off-balanced. When on the PSTV, you look straight at the enemy and the Demon Hand auto-recognizes it. On the Vita, you have to practically have the enemy off-screen before the target shows up. It’s a pretty large problem. Not if you’re a PSTV user, but yes if you’re a Vita user.
Visually, the game took a hit. The character models aren’t much different from the first game, but the environments took a huge hit. A lot of the environments are lacking much detail at all and the sky looks even worse. It’s one of those situations where you think “Alright, they downed the environment graphics for performance because this is an open world game on the Vita”.
When you hit performance, it doesn’t pan out. I would say the game has an average fps of 20-25 fps. Sometimes it’ll jump up to 30 in exploration or town and in some small instances, it’ll drop down below 20, but for the most part, it runs around 20-25 fps. Enough to be a hindrance to the game, but not to the point of making it unplayable. I didn’t have many problems playing it with the Rifle weapon. It was just annoying, especially on the PSTV where the frame rate is more noticeable.
Overall, Toukiden 2 is a big breath of fresh air over the entire hunting genre. The open-world exploration and less focus on mission really helps the experience feel fresh and void of repetition. Although there are some issues with the Vita’s Demon Hand tracking and the presentation, it’s still one of my favorite Hunting games on the Vita and fans of the original should definitely check it out.