Toukiden. . . Legend of the Demon Slayers.
Some have said “Hurr durr it’s a Monster Hunter cloooooone! It’s a rip off!” and sure, it utilizes a similar gameplay style, in you slay huge Demons instead of monsters. You also kill minor, weaker demons, though, it’s not just one battle, or a few small packs or something. It’s a more open world, and it’s wonderful. You know what sells Toukiden for me more than Monster Hunter, though? It has a story. It has drama, comedy, excitement! You’re in a village renown for killing demons and making the world safe, but you’re transplanted far from home in mysterious circumstances. Truthfully, it feels like a Dynasty Warriors + Monster Hunter hybrid to me. That’s great for me, though, that’s not a check in the negative column. Monster Hunter is one of the biggest, if not the biggest franchise in Japan right now. It started over on the Sony consoles but moved over to the Nintendo, where it will probably stay for the immediate future. If it’s not on the Switch, I’m going to be shocked. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about! Monster Hunter style giant monster killing games [Dauntless, Toukiden, et cetera] depends on, is teamwork. You have to be good, and your teammates have to be even better.
What makes it a bit more forgiving, and a lot more fun for me, you can recruit a team of NPCs to run with you, who can use cool weapons and attacks and are fundamentally more reliable than most other players I could get to run with me. Now I don’t have to stress about scheduling time with my Monster Hunting friends, I can just get down anytime I want! That’s what I love about it. Capcom? Take notes. Some have said that having these NPCs make the game “too easy”, and I can see that argument, but I don’t think this is supposed to be an impossibly challenging game. The purification system is also fantastic. Once a demon has been defeated, you can hold R1 to create a circle that purifies the demons, and acquire parts for creating new gear/upgrading old gear. If you wait too long they disappear, so you have to beat down as many at once as you possibly can. This is where it feels more like a Dynasty Warriors game. You don’t use items, you use traits/abilities to heal, or deal damage. You use a combo system like the Musou franchise, tapping square and triangle rapidly to beat damage onto your foes, and use the circle special whenever you care to. You can also tap the screen to wield an ethereal green claw, that you can tag enemies with. It’ll send you leaping towards them, from a pretty damn far distance, and is a great way to set up combos. However you will likely find yourself mashing, mashing away, even on the hardest fights.
As long as you’re playing the single-player campaign [which they really push more than the multiplayer; multiplayer seems to be pushed far into the background], the world is open. You can just leave town and wander into the world, look for people that are in need of your help, and destroy demons. It has a ton of awesome weapons, Including the new Sword and Shield, and Sword-Whip [think Ivy from Soul Caliber], but my personally, I tend to go with dual swords, becoming a whirlwind of pain and violence. You can create your own gear, or upgrade gear, or simply buy stuff from merchants. That’s where you’re going to have to farm, but thankfully, it hasn’t felt like much of a chore. Sure, you have to wait for drops/purify tons of Demons, but I haven’t felt like it was annoying, at least not in the early going. That’s one of the good things about a simple formula like Toukiden, you won’t feel like it’s impossibly difficult to get out there, kill some demons for a bit, set the Vita or controller down, and come back later. Besides a focus on a vast open world and having teammates on call, the other thing that really makes it stand apart from its genre is the Mitama system. You can equip these Mitama, which are basically the souls of past warriors. There will be some familiar names to people who enjoy the Japanese games/history, and they offer useful powers to you, whether it’s more speed, attack speed, damage, summoning monsters, making clones of yourself. . . They’re so great.
What the World Needs Now: 4/5
The last Monster Hunter we received was. . . mid last year? Monster Hunter XX just came out in Japan, so we probably won’t see it for a long time to come. This is the Hunter game for people that love the style, but dislike trying to put a team together. You can play this alone, and hell, it’s better alone. You lose a lot of the open world stuff with real people, so I’d really just rather explore this game on my own, at my own pace, in my own way. Visually, it’s a little disappointing, but I think that’s because it’s also on the PS3. Any game that’s on the PS3 in addition to 4, will be visually a bit of a letdown these days. I mean, it is the Vita, and it has limitations, but it is still pretty. It’s a bit redundant, though, and some of the quests and scenery might feel redundant if you spend long hours playing at once. The quests kind of run together too, but I enjoy simply running around and obliterating demons too, so I can overlook that. The major thing, is I have to ask myself what it brings to the table. That’s the power to play it anytime, without having to put together a squad of friends, anytime I want to just get on and kill stuff, I can! The story is enjoyable, the world is fun, and I like the cast. The only thing I think I could really ask for is more variety.