Toukiden: Kiwami Review
Toukiden: The Age of Demons is a Vita game I very much enjoyed, despite its unabashed Monster Hunter inspiration. It retained a lot of the gameplay elements that make the monster hunting genre so addicting, but instead offered more fast paced combat. While I expected Sony to push out Soul Sacrifice Delta to the PS4 instead, you know, being one of the best Vita games available, apparently Toukiden: Kiwami made the cut much quicker.
One of my biggest complains with most games on the Vita, is that I wish the controls felt better. It's not that the Vita has particularly terrible controls per se, but they're nowhere near as comfortable as the DualShock 4 for instance. Kiwami, being on the PS4 now, alleviates this issue for me. But it's much more than a simple port of the Vita game. But I'll get into that later.
If you want to read the full breakdown of the origina Toukiden, which is largely unchanged in Kiwami, you can read my official review right here. I'll still go over what Toukiden's all about though for those new to the game. However, if you've already played through to Toukiden, and you just wanna know what's new, you can just skip directly down here.
In Toukiden, you create your original character that becomes a part of Utakata village, which also houses an elite force of hunters who hunt demons, or Oni. The game structure is fairly straight forward. You pick a mission from an ever expanding list which progressively get harder as you go through the game. Sometimes you'll be tasked with slaying lesser Oni on a map to gather upgrade materials and other times you'll take on large Oni, which require some perseverance to take down.
If you're playing alone, you'll have multiple NPCs going with you that will, for the most part, be a good substitute for other, real players. Kiwami also added some upgraded AI to the NPCs which makes them a lot more useful on the battlefield. You can also issue one of four custom commands that will either allow them to act freely on the battlefield, or perhaps follow your lead and stick to attacking enemies that you're focusing on.
But like any Monster Hunter game, a big part of really getting the best experience is playing with others. Like I stated in my original review of Toukiden, the game isn't nearly as difficult as Monster Hunter games are, which somewhat eliminates the need to play with other people, but it's still way more fun chopping limbs off of giant demons.
And chop off limbs you will, as it's basically the core concept of fighting large Oni. Each of the large monsters is made up of various parts that will fall off when slashed enough, giving you time to purify them. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, by purifying them, you get the material off of the limb, which can be used to further upgrade your weapon or armor, or even create all new gear. Secondly, it also ensures that the Oni doesn't get a chance to grow that limb back. It's a great risk and reward system since purifying a limb makes you completely open to enemy attack. It's good then that your NPC companions, if that's who you're playing with, are capable of either keeping the Oni busy while you purify, or vice versa.
Another big aspect to Toukiden are the Mitama, or souls of fallen warriors. When you acquire these souls, you can slot them inside your weapons, which grant various bonuses and fall into various categories such as Attack, Defense, Speed, ect. Each Mitama also comes with its own loadout. While every Mitama will have a healing spell for you, their other skills will vary. For instance, one of the earliest Mitama will grant you skills to boost your damage, critical hits and even leech off health with each successful hit. Activating all of these at once for instance will not only grant you a huge boost to attack, it can also completely heal you. Another Mitama can instead grant you spell-like skills instead. And there are a ton of Mitama to collect and level in the game, not to mention that Kiwami adds another 200 to the game.
Toukiden: Kiwami adds some sweet new gear, an insane amount of Mitama as I just mentioned, new characters to join you on the hunt as well as a myriad of new missions to partake in. The new gear though might be the star of Kiwami. In my early preview of the game at a Tecmo event, I was already really impressed with the new weapons, with the rifle essentially completely changing how you go about battles. The rifle not only changes the battle to a more third-person shooter mechanic, but it also mixes it up with bullet types. Each gun has preset bullet types that can be utilized for different things. For instace, there is a fire bomb bullet which shoots out projectiles like grenades, dealing splash damage. Then there are sniper bullets which deal heavier damage the further the enemy is. It's never enough to simply rely on one bullet type during each difficult encounter, as they all have benefits that the monster can be exploited with.
The Naginata and Spiked Club, which are also two new weapon types in Kiwami are actually quite beginner friendly. The Naginata especially since it's fast and has some great reach. The Spiked Club on the other hand is a much slower weapon, which could lead to some unfortunate openings, but it makes up for that in crazy amount of damage.
The original Toukiden didn't skimp on content. It was a long game with a lot of replay value, not to mention inherent necessity to grind to ensure you had enough upgrade materials for your gear. The fact that Kiwami adds pretty much an entire game's worth of content to the already existing game, is pretty staggering.
The graphics certainly got an overhaul too. Don't just dismiss this as a simple upscaling. While the environment doesn't look that amazing, all the characters received an HD makeover, making them look way better compared to their Vita counterpart. The positive of moving to the more powerful PS4 is that even when things get a bit too hectic, the framerate remains consistent. Also, you can use your previous Toukiden save file to continue your game from where you left off, or immediately into the Kiwami portion if you've beat the game previously.
But is Toukiden: Kiwami worth your time? There are actually two schools of thought here. If you never played the original on the Vita, or you have and are planning on playing this one on the PS4, then absolutely. The transition to console controls, enhanced graphics and altogether smoother gameplay coupled with the insane amount content that Tecmo Koei games are known for make it worthwhile. However, if you've played the game previously and you're just planning on picking up the Vita version of Kiwami, then I'm not sure whether it's a worthwhile purchase. Yes, the game still comes with the staggering amount of content, but unless you thought Toukiden was god-tier on the Vita, Kiwami won't really do much for you.
And yes, Fugaku is still so f*ckable