Toukiden 2 Review: A Fierce Monster Hunting Game with Lots of Style
Toukiden 2 is the follow up to 2015's Toukiden: The Age of Demons for the PlayStation Vita. Now available on the PlayStation 4, this sequel is certainly a step up above its predecessor.
Developed by Omega Force, this title is an action RPG where you hunt demons. If you've played titles like Monster Hunter, then a lot of what Toukiden 2 offers will seem familiar. But what sets the game apart and makes it really fun is its own unique aesthetic.
Let's look at the story for starters. In my experience, monster hunting titles tend to have a very weak narrative -- one that often just serves as your forgettable backdrop to hunting and gathering.
However, Toukiden 2 packs in a pretty intricate story that fuels your actions. You're a 20-something slayer (female or male), a defender of the people, and government sanctioned warrior. You start the game in the middle of battle with the leader of Oni, and then you're spirited away to begin your journey.
Eventually, you find yourself in a village, under the employ of a genius professor. Things get rather complex as you solve various mysteries. Why have demons shown up in the world? Why does your character have abilities that no one has ever seen before? You have to uncover the answer to those questions.
Things get even more complicated when it comes to the civil unease among the people. Then there's several other intriguing stories surrounding your comrades. So there's a lot going on in terms of plot. That kind of focus on narrative is appreciated, and I can't praise the game enough for breaking the genre norm in that regard.
Slaying with the best
Aside from the excellent story, the best part of Toukiden 2 is its gameplay. While you can choose to just hack and slash your way through like you would in a standard monster hunting game, this sequel offers you a considerable amount of offensive options.
You have a multitude of weapons at your disposal to suit any playstyle during your missions. Shoot your foe from a safe distance with a firearm, or plunge into the thick of battle with a single long sword.
The game also allows you to arm yourself with heroes from ages past. So you can equip various characters to give you additional benefits. For example, you can boost your offensive capabilities when airborne or provide yourself life draining powers as you hack away at your foe.
Then there's the matter of your mobility in the midst of battle. Its a thrill to move in this game. You can run and dodge as one would expect, but you also have the special ability to run extremely fast -- which helps you avoid meaningless or unnecessary battles when you want to. It also helps you traverse large amounts of land in a very timely fashion. So all in all, it's a great addition.
The Demon Hand is perhaps the most enjoyable part of this game. This ability serves as both an offensive and defensive mechanism. You can use your ghastly limb to grab, pull, and counter your foes. And if a monster is weak enough, you can literally rip off its claws, wings, horns, etc.
The Demon Hand helps turns the tide of battle and can render a giant foe's attack useless. You can also use the ghost hand at the right time as a counter move. This will knock down any beast and render them unconscious for a short amount of time.
The demon hand also grants you some pretty fancy maneuvers. In battle or outside of battle you can use it to grab and pull yourself towards demons/obstacles. Or you can use it to cross distances. You can execute some impressive flips and so forth, & that is where Toukiden 2 really starts to show off its unique flair.
With things like its engaging story and the Demon Hand ability, Toukiden 2 has a distinct style that's deeply rooted in its battles, but permeates every aspect of the game. There's a sort of flair that follows you everywhere you go.
Even when you're working with your team, you can make things flashy. The more everyone attacks and works together, the better. You'll unleash devastating combos on your foes, and they'll never know what hit 'em. This sort of style makes even the most boring missions a bit more fun.
Easy on the eyes
Speaking of style, the visuals for this game are very pleasing to take in. You'll often find yourself stopping to appreciate the landscapes, characters, & demons you come across during your travels. The environments range from colorful to dreary, and hit just about everything in between. The characters have lovely portrait art, too.
Toukiden boasts a unique ancient Japanese backdrop. Most of your allies and enemies fit this setting, but you'll also come across living robots and warriors from Europe. This dichotomy may not make sense on paper, but it doesn't matter -- Omega Force makes it work cohesively. You won't feel any sort of dissonance as you run through the demon world, seeking out the next hunt with your diverse crew.
Content, content, content
Toukiden 2 also offers a bounty's worth of content. Aside from the numerous main quests, you can lose a day or more with side quests alone -- missions which range from farming to hunting certain targets.
Then there's all the armor, weapons, and other items that you can collect. Looking cool is kind of a big deal in such a stylish game, so you'll want to take advantage of any chance you get to deck yourself out in cool stuff.
If you get tired of playing the main game, you can also hop online to run around with other players and form teams with your fellow slayers to complete various missions. Personally, I spent most of my time playing online -- and this game makes me think that all monster-hunting titles should include online co-op.
I could go on and on as to why Toukiden 2 should be your go to monster slaying game. But doing so would take away from the experience. I will say this, though. Monster hunting games hinge on the amount of content they offer, and this title has tons. You'll have fun for hours -- unless using giant swords and a cool ghost hand isn't your idea of a good time.
All in all, Toukiden 2 offers a fresh monster hunting story that's surprisingly rich in its narrative and stylistically consistent across the board.
If it sounds like something you want to check you, the game is available now for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. Now if you'll excuse me. I have some very mean monsters to fight.
Note: A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purposes of this review.