Toukiden: The Age of Demons (PS Vita review)

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When it comes to monster hunting games, Capcom has a big piece of the pie. Now Tecmo Koei has created its own monster hunting game with Toukiden: The Age of Demons. The game is developed by Omega Force (Dynasty Warriors franchise).

The land of Nakatsu Kuni was devastated eight years ago when a demon appeared out of nowhere and brought an army of oni to slaughter countless of innocents and warriors alike. The final line of defense are warriors called “Slayers” who can stand up to the oni, and it’s up to you to defeat them.

You begin by customizing your character in normal fashion, giving him or her the look that best suits your taste and equipping them with your choice of weapons that includes swords, spears, gauntlets, dual knives, a bow, and my favorite weapon in the game, chain and sickle. From there you are introduced to your commander and other Slayers who will be a part of your team.

The battle system has quite a few influences from the Dynasty Warrior series, and each weapon offers a different fighting style and special skills to take on enemies. Don’t worry about getting stuck with a weapon, because you can change weapons after each mission. You normally can’t see the enemy’s life gauge, but if you enter the “Eyes of Truth”, you’ll be able to see their health and also hidden items on the map.

Weapons and armors are created by collecting items on the map or from fallen enemies. Once an enemy is defeated, you activate a purge skill which slowly purges the enemy and cleanses them, rewarding you with an item. Bosses are a different story, since you’ll have to attack them relentlessly, breaking off pieces of their body and cleansing them. It isn’t always easy, since you need to keep attacking the same part over and over. Weapons and armor are easy to level up, since the more you use them the more experience you gain…at no cost.

Later in the game you are introduced to Mitama, fallen warriors who were struck down and devoured by the oni. As you defeat enemies, you unlock more Mitamas who give you special abilities such as magic attacks, buffs, healing abilities and more. You can strengthen them by taking them into battle, or pay the shrine maiden. It plays a great role in battle, especially against waves of enemies or bosses.

Bosses, however, are pretty unique in this game, since you can destroy different body parts and cleanse them. Even if their body part is gone, they will still fight, recreating the missing part in an energy form.

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One of Toukiden‘s strong points comes from not only including ad-hoc mode, giving you the ability to play with up to three other friends locally, but also adding the always requested infrastructure mode, allowing you to play with friends and strangers far away. No matter where you are with your Vita, you can always be online playing. You also won’t need to worry if a player suddenly leaves or drop out.

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Your fellow Slayers play a huge part in the game and story. Each character has been affected by the oni, and as you fight and progress through the game, you learn more about them and improve your relationship with them (this will affect how they do in battle).

Toukiden’s mission-based system does get repetitive, since you find yourself fighting the same type of enemies over and over, including boss type characters. Luckily the experience you get from all the fighting helps you strengthen your armor, weapons and Mitama, and thankfully the AI in the game is pretty smart. They attack and heal as if you were actually playing with other players.

Omega Force also tries to add functionality with the Vita’s touch screen, which is useful on the front such as activating a powerful attack or adjusting the map. However it also tries to incorporate the rear touchscreen, “Eyes of Truth”. The good thing is that this is an option you can leave off, which I did since when trying to activate certain skills or the eyes, it wouldn’t respond. Other times it would randomly activate.

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Visually on the PlayStation Vita, Toukiden has some detailed oni and environments. The team at Omega Force did an amazing job to make this game really shine in that department, including characters who are unique in their fighting style. It does lack in the soundtrack department, which draws its inspiration from classical Japanese music. It sounds soft and nice at times but doesn’t leave a heavy impression in combat.

Grade: B+

Toukiden: The Age of Demons is available now on the PlayStation Vita for $39.99 in stores and at the PlayStation Store.

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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.

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