Toukiden Kiwami brings its Monster Hunter X Dynasty Warriors gameplay to the PS4
New weapons, Mitama, story and characters enhance the experience
Toukiden: The Age of Demons was Tecmo Koei's attempt, and a mighty good one I might add, at fusing the monster hunting genre that Capcom has built up over the years, with fast paced combat more akin to Dynasty Warriors. This year, Tecmo is enhancing that same core game, by adding in an entirely new storyline, new characters, new weapons, and most notably, a new console to put it on. Age of Demons was exclusively a Vita title, but Toukiden Kiwami will release simultaneously on both the Vita and the PS4.
First and foremost, Toukiden Kiwami will include the entire base game The Age of Demons, as well as an entirely new storyline, that takes place three months after the game's original ending. This storyline will introduce three new characters, that also happen to be wielding the three new weapon classes players will be able to wield in the game. These three new characters will each have a different goal in mind, that the player can help them with. The original didn't really focus that much on plot, and kept it relatively simple. The team wanted the plot for Kiwami to be a bit deeper, focusing more on character interaction and the world's lore.
There will also be over 200 new Mitama to collect. Mitama are basically souls of warriors that you can equip to your character, that enhance their various abilities and power ups. I was also able to get a glimpse at the gorgeous art of the new Mitama, and was told that various famous artists in Japan have contributed to the designs.
The three new weapons are a Club, a Rifle and a Naginata. The Club and Naginata are actually great weapons for starting players. The Naginata has good range, being a long spear, as well as being quite fast. On the opposite spectrum, the Club is extremely heavy, thus having a slower attack, but it packs an incredible amount of damage. The Rifle is easily the most different weapon from the rest, adopting a very technical approach to gameplay, and being a veteran from the original, I found it to be extremely satisfying to play with.
The Rifle uses ammunition that must be reloaded, but you're able to choose what sort of rounds you load in. For example, I had the option to load either explosive rounds, piercing rounds or sniping rounds. Each one had a different attack value as well as shot animation. The explosive rounds acted more like a long range grenade, shooting in an arc and dealing damage in a wide blast. The sniper rounds on the other hand were precise shots that retained their attack value even from a long distance. What's more, when you take out your rifle, the game switches its control scheme to that of a third-person shooter, and displays all the various weak spots on the demon, giving you tactical advantage.
One more new addition to combat is a blue bar which fills up as your actively cooperating with your group, dealing damage, providing support and helping them up in case they get knocked down. Once the bar is full, you can order the group to come together to unleash a massive blast that deals incredible damage and easily tears off multiple limbs. It's extremely satisfying.
Those coming to Kiwami from The Age of Demons won't have to stress and replay the entire thing, as the old Vita title will be patched to allow gamers to transfer their saves to either the new Vita version or the PS4 version. That's pretty sweet! Considering The Age of Demons has tons of quest to partake in, not having to replay all of that again is certainly appreciated. What's even cooler is that Vita players will be able to co-operatively play with PS4 players thanks to Cross-Play.
Speaking to the producer of Toukiden, Takashi Morinaka, I was told that the team went back to the ground level, and basically started from scratch. Meaning Kiwami on the PS4 won't simply be an upscaled port of the Vita version. I was also quite surprised to find out that Kiwami will be coming to the US and Europe first, and then a few weeks later releasing in Japan. Morinaka explained that since the Vita's popularity here is a bit lower, but the PS4 is much higher, they wanted to push the game out here first, and hopefully entice the PS4 market.
During my hands-on demo with the game, I was able to check out how the game runs on the PS4. For that segment, I opted to begin a completely new game, creating my own character and going through the tutorial that eventually leads up to the first quest. Performance wise, Toukiden Kiwami seemed to run buttery smooth on the PS4. I'm also not knocking the controls on the Vita, but playing with a DualShock 4 controller just felt much more natural and way more comfortable.
Seeing as how I was breezing through the game, having experience from the original, I was instructed to try one of the more challenging missions. Needless to say, its difficulty star rating was almost full, so I was ready for a tough match. I went in with the Rifle, which already had me intrigued thanks to the new control scheme and ammo management, and found that it makes tough battles even more intense. You see, when you're aiming the gun, you're not as agile as you are with it away, meaning you can't immediately run or dodge out of the way. Using the Rifle requires some strategic thought, not only on when to take your gun out, but what kind of ammo rounds to use, as well as having a competent team that knows how to provide support. I'm honestly not sure whether four people with Rifles could succeed, but it would be an interesting experiment.
If you were a fan of the original, or like the monster hunting genre but maybe prefer slightly faster combat, then Toukiden Kiwami should be on your radar. Toukiden Kiwami is scheduled to release on the Vita and PS4 on March 30th, mark those calendars!