By Tyler Wood (Zelus_Craft), SF Correspondent and Tech Wizard
Fans of the Monster Hunter series and similar titles, pay attention: Toukiden: Kiwami is coming to the West, and it’s getting a console release in NA and EU before Japan.
At a recent press preview event in San Francisco I had some hands-on time with the Playstation 4 version of Toukiden: Kiwami. For a quick run down, it’s both a port and enhancement of the original Toukiden with updated graphics, three new playable characters, three new weapon types, a higher frame rate, 100+% more Mitamas (spirits/souls that bind to weapons and grant abilities), a character creation option, bonus 4-player co-op only missions, team combos, and six more story chapters to play through.
For the uninitiated, the original Toukiden: Age of Demons released on the PSP and PS Vita in Japan in 2013, featuring Monster Hunter-esque gameplay and fantasy style mixed with medieval Japanese themes. Players, in teams of up to four, go out into the field to slay the Oni (demons) terrorizing the land.
The game feels, for the most part, like Monster Hunter with its arenas, basic crafting system, long battles, and looting mechanics. Unlike Monster Hunter however, there’s an insane amount of skills and abilities separate from the typical myriad of weapons. Each weapon is equipped with a Mitama, which is like a spirit who possesses and enhances weapons. Each Mitama has its own set of abilities, like active health recovery or passive buffs, which can be used by the player. Toukiden: Kiwami’s producer, Takashi Morinaka, informed us that there are “over 300 different Mitama and each has it’s own skill and level up tree.”’
With the translation assistance of Naka “Hide” Tsukasa, Takashi Morinaka guided us through the finer points of play like rifle ammunition types (which are new to the series), team combination attacks (also new), and Oni limb dismemberment tactics. It turns out that utilizing these techniques is pretty much required to beat any of the larger Oni. Many of the fights with Oni can take a while, and each have their own specific weak points that can only be detected with the ‘Eye of Truth.’ Using the ‘Eye of Truth’ drains stamina, and it’s the only way to see an Oni’s health bar, too. That said, there’s quite a bit of depth behind Mitama skills, combat movement, and positioning which will keep players engaged for extended periods of time.
Rule of thumb for ports and enhanced re-releases: More of the same, but better. Toukiden: Kiwami aims to deliver on this by the addition of new content everywhere and giving players a higher frame rate to enjoy.
Though Toukiden: Kiwami has already been released in Japan on the PS Vita, there’s a lack of a console counterpart there. Oddly enough, NA and EU players will have access to the game on the PlayStation 4 ahead of Japan, perhaps exclusively forever.
Players of the original Toukiden will be pleased to hear that their original gamesave on the PS Vita will be transferable to a Toukiden: Kiwami on either the PS Vita or Western console version after an upcoming patch.
Both the PS Vita and Playstation 4 versions of Toukiden: Kiwami will be released in North America and Europe on March 31st, 2015 for $39.99 and $59.99 respectively.