Get Ready for Toukiden Kiwami With Toukiden: The Age of Demons
Toukiden Kiwami is on the horizon, and there was a new Monster Hunter handheld edition just released for 3DS owners that fans will want to pick up, no doubt. But what of the original Toukiden? Was it worth trying out or did it fail to take off?
Toukiden: The Age of Demons delivers a bargain Monster Hunter experience for Vita owners going through a bit of a drought when it comes to viable software for their handheld. It's not perfect, but it's a fantastic surrogate for anyone looking for a similar outing for Sony's little device that could -- especially given Nintendo's lukewarm multiplayer support across all consoles.
In Toukiden, you're charged with creating your very own slayer to be born into the world, infiltrating a living, breathing universe teeming with Oni to be slain. It's an engrossing world that's a welcome alternative to the Western fantasy worlds that MMOs seem to have become mired in over the last few years. The narrative itself is barebones, but the universe itself is promising -- if there were ever to be a sequel, it would be worth expanding upon the annotated bits of dialogue and what otherwise amounts to the filler that exists between missions.
While the missions themselves are rather rudimentary splits between Monster Hunter and Soul Sacrifice's third-person "zones" and loading screens, they're little more than window dressing for the main draw: the towering boss battles. Stumble upon a larger-than-life Oni and you'll be in the match for the long haul, with these larger trophy monsters taking anywhere from one minute to 45, depending on how prepared you and your party are. Chaining attacks, outfitting you and your companions with optimal equipment, and tailoring your play style to each individual monster is the key to victory. You may find you're handier with a long sword than a spear, or twin blades over a long bow. Whatever it takes to Purify minerals, you'll end up doing it, as while combat itself is addictive, so is collecting materials and upgrading components.
As accessible and engaging as Toukiden is, however, there are a few issues. It doesn't exactly make full use of the Vita's astonishing capabilities, and there is no English dub track. If you're not a fan of dubs, this obviously won't be an issue, but for some this is a make or break experience. The Japanese voice cast, however, is excellent, and a lack of English audio isn't a glaring oversight, but a puzzling one given the propensity to localize these types of things and offer dual tracks these days.
It's pretty cut-and-dry whether or not you should play Toukiden. If you're looking for a Monster Hunter substitute that works well with or without real-life friends, you're going to want to look into it -- especially if you're looking for a reason to keep your Vita out and not collecting dust anymore.