E3 2013 Preview: Hunt monsters, err, demons in Toukiden for Vita

If you own a Vita, chances are you're looking for some more games to check out. The good thing is that the collection of titles on the platform is slowly growing, with indie developers showing their support and bigger companies trickling out their own projects for the handheld. One such project is Toukiden, which is being published by Tecmo Koei and developed by Omega Force. The game pits you against several large demons, requiring you to slay them in order to progress through the game. While the concept is indeed very Monster Hunter-y in theory, a few elements help set this upcoming title apart from the famed long-running franchise.

The story takes place in Japan, and there are several historical references in the game. That said, this isn't a recreation of ancient Japan and its many happenings. Toukiden features futuristic themes and tells several historically inaccurate events, creating a largely original story in the process. Demons roam the land, and in order to defeat these beasts, a group of slayers bands together in the hopes of eliminating the threat to Japan.

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Like in Monster Hunter, you can build your own character to toss into the game world. I was told by a Tecmo Koei representative that player characters are fully customizable as far as their appearance is concerned, though it seems stats may not factor into the creation process. This is likely due to the fact that attributes will increase within the game the more you play.

Gameplay is a highly-focused hack-and-slash affair in Toukiden. Don't expect to just slice away at any demon you encounter, though. In order to come out victorious as you wage war on the forces of evil, you're going to have to pinpoint specific body parts on your enemies and exploit these weak points. It's a great change of pace that adds a bit more of a methodical approach as opposed to just striking at a giant beast's foot and running away while it attacks.

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One of the ways in which you'll be able to obtain new abilities in Toukiden is by unlocking the souls of several characters. These include both historical Japanese characters and fictional characters. While I wasn't briefed on the list of abilities, this is definitely a fine touch as it'll hopefully allow for some changes to the main character's skill. Additionally, if souls are placed off the beaten path, this could make exploration a worthwhile, engaging endeavor.

Toukiden will allow players to take on its campaign solo or with a group of slayers. The game will feature cooperative play for up to four individuals, and you'll be able to team up with players locally or online. Some of the best moments in Monster Hunter occur during group hunts, so it's great to see that this demon-slaying game will follow suit with that aspect.

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If you own a Vita and are looking for something new to play, you should definitely keep an eye on Toukiden. The game is due out later this month in Japan, but sadly, no North American release date has been confirmed just yet. Here's hoping that changes soon.

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