Toukiden: The Age of Demons
Battle demons and collect Mitama in this Monster Hunter inspired action game.
With the enormous success of the Monster Hunter games on PSP, it was inevitable that the genre would continue on Sony's handheld, the PS Vita. Since the Monster Hunter franchise transitioned to Nintendo platforms, Sony supporters are in search of their Monster Hunting fix.
Tecmo Koei's Toukiden: The Age of Demons seeks to fill the void left by Capcom's decision to move the series over to the 3DS and the Wii U. The comparisons are inevitable, but thankfully, Toukiden stands on its own.
Toukiden is an action game with RPG elements. You start out with the bare essentials, weapon and armor, then build up your character. There's also a system in place to further upgrade your weapon, which is called Mitama. This encompasses the souls of warriors that you'll use to forge and upgrade weapons to even higher levels.
Initially, you take on smaller Oni (demons) in the beginning and progress to larger and more formidable enemies. Toukiden wastes little time throwing you up against huge enemies, and you can literally chop off their body parts. All the while, you'll enjoy Toukiden's polished and highly detailed character graphics, which have an almost cel-shaded appearance. The maps are small, and sometimes you'll search to find the beasts you must destroy, but the main hook involves killing them with a team of four and harvesting their leftover body parts for more powerful weapons and armor.
The main storyline took us just under 40 hours to complete, yet we were able to do this in short bursts while riding public transportation and simply lounging on the couch at home. Even after you finish the main storyline's five chapters, you'll have an additional five chapters of quests and Mitama collecting to keep you coming back for more. There's also four-player cooperative online, which in itself is a blast, especially when you get some friends in a party chat and discuss how to take down enemies.
Toukiden may be too easy for some, as we only died once or twice during the entire play though. However that difficulty ramps up as soon as you finish the main campaign and get to the second part of the game.
Meanwhile, Toukiden's plot feels uninspired, and some people might dislike that the dialogue is entirely in subtitles, since it's fully voiced in Japanese. The soundtrack is serviceable, but much like the story, nothing memorable to speak of. Finally, there's a lack of enemy diversity. Some of the later enemies are mere variations of what you faced before, but with an altered title and more hit-points.
The measure of a portable game's addictiveness may lie in how well it entertains players riding on public transportation, where the next thing they know, they reached their destinations. Toukiden has that all-important hook, and that makes it a worthwhile purchase for Vita owners.