Eric Kelly On February 18, 2014 at 11:32 am

Toukiden The Age of Demons battle06Monster Hunter clones seem to be all the rage in Japan these days, so it should come as no surprise that Tecmo-Koei wants a piece of that action. Developed by Omega Force of Dynasty Warriors fame, this game trades out large dragons for demons, and a western medieval fantasy setting for a medieval Japanese one. The result is not too shabby of a game, although there are some shortfalls.

Toukiden takes place in a fictional medieval fantasy version of Japan, and the game actually has a basic story about the Slayers, an organization created to gather a group of warriors to hunt the Oni, a race of malevolent demons that seek to disrupt the way of life for humanity. You play as a new recruit to a village. This character you play as is a user created avatar. Gender, and pre-selected name, facial, hairstyle, and skin tones are selected, you can pick your starting weapon. Then you get right into the action. The game’s story is told after playing through a set number of missions which gradually unlock. Although sometimes the story needs to move forward by finding an NPC and talking to them to get new missions unlocked. You can also take on up to 5 quests at a time, which are additional objectives like hunting a certain number of monsters, or delivering a certain number of materials. Most tasks will net you an extra bit of money, called Maku. Although some rewards will increase your material storage capacity. You can also donate Maku to the shrine before heading out for a temporary power boost. The pool of purity can do this as well, but it can also be used to improve the relationships with the party members you can take with you into battle. This affects how quickly that they will come to your aid if you fall in battle and need resurrecting.

As far as battle is concerned, you play the game in a manner similar to other Monster Hunter clones, from a third person perspective. There are a few different weapon types to use which consist of the long sword, double blades, spear, gauntlets, bow, and chain and sickle. Regardless of what you choose as your starting weapon, you can always change it later at your house, provided that you have additional weapons. Since you don’t level up in the traditional sense, you gain experience for your equipment, and once they max out, they can be upgraded up to a total of nine times. To get become stronger, you will eventually need to create or buy more powerful equipment. Creating is the way to go though. Although material gathering can be a challenge at times, as enemies have different drop rates for different materials. To collect materials, you need to ‘purify’ the defeated demon corpses, which takes time and leaves you vulnerable. This plays into the boss fights, as you will need to determine when destroying a cut off body part is worth it, or getting out of the way. Although the game encourages you to purify them, as left alone, the demon will regenerate the parts, and you will need to systematically trim them off to permanently expose the demon’s life force to attack them directly. So there is an element of strategy to the battle than just ‘kill it’. Each weapon themselves also have a variety of attacks at your disposal, so finding a play-style that works best for you is easy. And you can speak to your commander for tutorials on each weapon and gameplay basics. Of course there are magic spell to use, through the use of equippable Mitama. They also provided passive stat boosts, and can also be upgraded.

The game does control and play a bit better than even many Monster Hunter entries, but the story is pretty boring, and the performances from the Japanese-only audio dub is average. But at least Toukiden at least tries to have a story, so points for that. The level design is also bland too, with nothing exciting like underwater battles, or any sense of exploration. Just sets of maps where you walk from location to location. Also, the story is gated by many filler missions where you will re-fight the same bosses over and over again. The whole process becomes rather tedious quickly. But if playing the story with AI partners isn’t satisfying you, you can play with a friend locally, or even go online. Online portable monster hunter clones are pretty rare, so that gives this game an edge over its competitors. The soundtrack is decent, much like the rest of the game. Not bad, but nothing that stands out or is noteworthy. Although the worst and most disappointing thing about the game is that it feels like it’s incomplete. This is even more true, as it seems that Tecmo-Koei recently trademarked a ‘Toukiden Extreme’, likely being an enhanced re-release of the game with more content. Many Monster Hunter clones have already embraced this practice. So the real question to recommend this game is how much you want a Monster Hunter fix on your Vita, without it being Monster Hunter game. Otherwise on it’s own, Toukiden is an enjoyable game, even though it feels lacking in several areas. Try out the free demo first before deciding on hitting that ‘buy’ button.


Monster hunting action RPG with with a medieval Japanese twist


Character models are pretty good visually, but environments are bland and limited.


The music is decent, but the voice acting is in Japanese audio only, and with average acting.


A mostly decent alternative to Monster Hunter, although there are better alternatives

Comments are closed.