Title: Toukiden Kiwami
Platform: Steam, Windows, PS4, PSVita
Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: Action RPG
Players: Single player, Online Co Op 1-
Written by Bad Demoman 30th August 2015
You know, sometimes I'm not particularly comfortable with how comparable a lot of games are in the current gaming market. Anything with pixels and exploration is a Minecraft clone, for example. All MOBAs copied DoTA and anyone with the nerve to imply that any class based shooter isn't clearly a TF2 imitator is obviously in denial. However, Toukiden alleviates any apprehension I may have had about making the obvious comparison it has, Monster Hunter. When it was first released on PSP and Vita in fact, Tecmo Koei admitted it had been developed in order to fill the hole Monster Hunter left when it made the switch to 3DS. That's a big hole to fill, especially for the Japanese market where Monster Hunter is absolutely huge. As you may know, many of us here at Morbid Play think Monster Hunter is pretty damn good, so Toukidens PC release, subtitled Kiwami, drew our attention.
Toukiden Kiwami is set in a world fashioned after elements of Japanese mythology. Humanity is under threat from the Oni, and the only thing preventing them from being overrun is a band of warriors known as Slayers. Player assume the role of a newly recruited Slayer and as you become more experienced as a slayer you'll progress from fighting the smallest of Oni to slaying humongous demons. The monster designs tend towards the slightly more grotesque and grim , perhaps due to its roots in myths. This, in combination with your interactions with other Slayers (who can be brought along to help in fights!)lends to a fairly dark tone, broken up by a pleasant vibe during downtime. It's similar to the tone used in various Shonen Anime, where characters will joke around in order to contrast with serious moments and give more gravity. It really feels like the Oni are a real risk to humanity. Toukiden Kiwami is an enjoyable experience even when you're playing solo as a result. I'd like to inform you of how much more enjoyable it is when you bring a friend along for the hunt – but I couldn't find anyone to play with! It's heavily advised for that reason that you do have a friend handy to play with, as even if you find a random person to play online with there's no guarantee they won't be ridiculously over-
Needless to say, one of the most important aspects of a game like Toukiden is the variety of weapons it supplies you with to fend off the Oni hordes. Monster Hunter, for example, prides itself on weapons that are fairly simple in their mechanics, but complex to perfectly use. Having tried all the weapons in Toukiden a fair bit, I found myself drawn to the Longsword and the Musket. Positioning and precision are very important to efficiently slay your foes, particularly on larger enemies. In order to accomplish this, a large amount of weapons in Toukiden put a large emphasis on fluid mobility, such as the Longswords dodging slash or the Daggers leaping attacks. Others will allow you precise attacks, such as the Bow and Muskets ability to aim attacks. This is all for the objective of destroying the enemies weak spots, which can be seen using a special vision mode that will use up stamina. However, other than a few minor and mostly statistical difference and barring a few notable exceptions (A bow is obviously very different to a giant club!)none of the weapons feel unique enough, they all feel like slightly different means to the same end. Differences in weapons are, perhaps appropriately, more comparable to the differences between characters in Dynasty Warriors than the massive mindset change of a different weapon in Monster Hunter. Few weapons have particularly interesting or satisfying mechanics, so they all boil down to different move-
Monster Hunter weapons are something that you'll learn, love, invest time into and even form an attachment to your favourites. Toukiden weapons are another sharp, pointy stick to button mash your way to victory with. As a final warning, I feel it necessary to mention that Toukiden has been plagued by crashes and FPS problems ever release. This seems to be caused by particular combinations of Operating System and Graphics Card, especially Windows 8.1/10 and NVidia Graphics Cards. There is a stability mode that supposedly fixes these issues, but it also compromises the graphics of the game.
Toukiden falls flat of its goal as a replacement to Monster Hunter, but it's a fine enough game to stand on its own, separate from that identity. Even with the recent improvements to Monster Hunters storyline, I think Toukiden absolutely smashes it with likeable characters with real personality and an anime-
Genuinely likeable characters and setting,
Interesting, grim designs for monsters.
Weapons feel samey and indistinct,
Combat just doesn't satisfy as much as competitors,
Various issues on Windows 8.1/10
Toukiden gets a 6.5 out of 10.