Riding off of what made the original so interesting, Toukiden 2 takes the formula into something more unique with some great features for this genre. Similar in setup to Capcom’s Monster Hunter, Toukiden 2 puts the player against powerful Oni inspired by Japanese mythology, using crazy weapons and the powers of the Mitama spirits. All of this frantic combat is held together by a fairly interesting story of a misplaced warrior in time and the technological advancements of machina. Taking on missions and clearing the fairly large open world of evil miasma and monsters drives this fast paced action title that seeks to become more than its inspiration.
One can easily compare Toukiden 2 to the Monster Hunter series. Players tackle huge, powerful Oni like a constant barrage of boss battles with three other characters and occasionally a guest character. However, while the core gameplay is incredibly similar, there’s enough new features for players of Monster Hunter to find something unique. Even the simple act of collecting items feels just a bit faster in Toukiden 2. Combat is also quicker, usually resulting in the player releasing long strings of combo moves and special attacks. While the moveset is limited, it feels like there are a lot of ways to attack, with tons of options to set up one’s character.
The story begins with a great battle, where tons of slayers find themselves desperately trying to keep an army of Oni at bay. At the climax of the battle, a much larger monster splits the sky and tosses our hero into a dark rift. He awakens several years later, with no memory of who he is (or she depending on player preference) or where this new area could be. It’s not long before the player finds themselves battling Oni alongside a group of slayers to defend this new village. From here, the player will go through various missions, steadily revealing secrets of the Oni, the new technology called Machina, and trying to connect that time lost to some sort of memory.
Led by the genius of a woman who goes by the Professor, the Slayer must use a new tool to get an edge on the Oni. Much like a grappling hook of sorts, the Demon Hand serves quite a few purposes to the player. Since the monsters they face are generally much larger, slayers can latch onto various parts of the Oni to get an aerial boost, where they can string together attacks. This is also handy for closing the distance, as well as tripping up the monsters to provide an excellent chance to keep the monster at bay. Latching onto cliffs can provide a boost to higher areas or cross gaps that aren’t possible to jump across.
After doing tons of damage and working well with teammates, the Demon Hand can even unleash a powerful Unity Attack. This powerful blow usually severs the limbs off of Oni in a single stroke, making them that much easier to take down. Luckily, Toukiden 2‘s companion characters are pretty handy with their Demon Hands, as they constantly interrupt Oni attacks and make sure they’re right in the middle of the action.
To battle these powerful demons, the Slayer needs a weapon and there are plenty of different types to choose from in Toukiden 2, ranging from typical katanas to huge hammers to sickles with chains. Personally, I started out with the gauntlets, two powerful fists that deal fast and furious attacks up close. After a while though, I switched to the rifle, preferring to do my damage from a safe distance using various ammo types. This ended up being my preferred way to play through the majority of the single-player missions and scenarios. Once again the AI is pretty solid, as they initiate tons of damage on their own. They’re also prone to purifying limbs and picking up items, saving the player the trouble.
Aside from weapons, slayers must also equip appropriate armor. Each set has their own bonuses and defenses, just like Monster Hunter. I had a tendency to choose whatever had the best base defense stat, while also keeping in mind how the armor looked. Luckily there is an option to turn off seeing the helmet, without a decrease in stats of course. I also found that the majority of my time with the game wasn’t spent grinding, as after beating a major enemy type I always found that I had enough parts to make most of that armor set or upgrade to a new weapon. Of course, these weapons and armor can also be upgraded with more parts, resulting in some really cool looking pieces. Much later parts of the game does seem to have a bit more grinding, as I’m just now getting to a point where I have to kill the same Oni over and over to get a desired set of armor, but this is after probably thirty hours of stead progression in the story and missions.
Instead of setting up a pack full of items, Toukiden 2 does something a bit more interesting and way easier to mangae. Less time is spent picking out resources for each fight, while more time is put into setting up one’s Mitama set. These spirits of Japanese historical figures grant many different bonuses, the base of which decides what item-like ability the player will have. Just about every Mitama has some form of Recovery, but most of them cater to different playstyles. Combining certain Mitama with others can result in unique bonuses, plus they steadily level up to gain more skills. My favorite setup so far is a healer based Mitama, plus one that gives me the Mirage skill, which doubles all of my attacks for some serious DPS possibilities. Running out of casts of these abilities can be replenished by praying at various locations throughout the map.
Speaking of the map, Toukiden 2 has a fairly large overworld, where many of the game’s story missions take place. It’s cool to see this sort of game neglect the instance-based design of its inspirations, at least for the most part. While this world doesn’t feel as organic of say Breath of the Wild, it is cool to just run around in this big area and hunt Oni at will. There are tons of little items to pick up along the way, as well as bases to discover, and Miasma portals to shut. Characters strewn about the map and the town also provide side quests, which can lead to some cool benefits.
Other than running around this larger space, players can take on traditional missions. Instead of hunting the Oni down, these are typically arenas that drops the player in to take them down. I usually found these fights fairly tougher than the ones in the main story, but they can usually be finished in about ten minutes or so as long at the player is well equipped. If anything, these battles are an easy way to get specific monster parts and items. Multiplayer is also playable in these missions, which can lead to some awesome gaming nights. Also included are dungeon-like areas which can lead to some crazy consecutive battles for a more survival based option.
It is interesting to note that Toukiden 2 focuses its combat on the severing of limbs and breaking the Oni’s surface protections. Using focus, the player can use a vision that shows them the damage of each limb, as well as bars for the creature’s surface armor and their overall health. This is pretty handy, as the team knows when they can go for an all-out attack to finish the fight or pick out which limb to break. Limbs and surface can heal though, which can lead to whole new different attack patterns. Some of the cooler Oni will fight by dragging their bodies around after losing their legs for example.
Tackling these monsters is certainly fun, but there isn’t much of an ecosystem at work. For the most part, the Oni just wander around certain areas or appear with a cutscene or a set piece of drama. The designs of these creatures is wildly interesting, playing off of various parts of Japanese mythology. Some of them are a bit more fun than others and most can be bested with similar swarm strategies. For some reason, battling these Oni isn’t as satisfying as taking down the monsters and dragons of Monster Hunter. I think the reason for that could be the fact that the Monster Hunter creatures are given a sort of characterization. There are some Oni that have a bit of this, but it doesn’t happen as often as I would have liked.
Where Toukiden 2 does shine is its fairly long story with a more character driven plot. There are all sorts of conflicts going on between the insiders, outsiders, samurai, guard, and other groups. This creates a few cool scenes and some of the characters, even though they do fit into tropes at times, can have some great story moments. Some of the best story scenes are steeped in tragedy or have the character interacting with a member of society they have tension with. Pulling together this colorful cast of characters to take down Oni is enjoyable and I found myself switching parties frequently to try new strategies.
There is a lot I have enjoyed in Toukiden 2. Sure, its not nearly as deep mechanically or as precise as its inspirations, but the core mechanic of tackling huge monsters with various weapons is pretty damn fun. If anything, I cannot wait to get a group together for this one, which is made easier by the fact that its on PS4. I don’t have to worry about the cramped controls of a handheld with either, making playing it feel much better. Toukiden 2 also released for the PSVita and players can even connect to PS4 players for some local co-operative action. This is my hands-down favorite feature, as this has been left out of the last two entries to the Monster Hunter series. Once again though, finding a group can be a bit harder since Toukiden 2 is a bit more niche, if not a lot easier to get the hang of.
Toukiden 2 is a fun monster brawler, but it does lack a few elements and the mechanical sharpness that prevents it from being an absolute hit. There is plenty to enjoy for fans of games like Monster Hunter, of which Toukiden 2 pulls clear inspiration from, while also having some spins to make it feel unique. Much later battles are said to have way more challenge and I’m pumped to test my skills against these foes. I’ll be playing Toukiden 2 for quite a while. Let’s just hope I can convince some friends to pick it up.
Having the game on PS4 and including multiple ways to play with friends is a huge bonus that makes the game worth picking up for those who want some memorable nights at the couch.
While I have went over a ton of things that I enjoyed about Toukiden 2, there is quite a bit of complexity to be had with the character customization and other parts of the game. Players can also increase their relationships with the other characters, which leads to bonuses and sometimes extra scenes. There’s also cooking skills and spiritual bonuses for spending time at the public bath. This doesn’t even include sending out Machina Dolls or meeting cute little creatures called Tenko. There are plenty of aspects in Toukiden 2 that I haven’t reached yet, or am just unaware of, meaning there is quite a bit to unravel. Using a wiki or guide for certain things in the game might be handy, but I always enjoyed learning things on my own.
Yep, my adventures with Toukiden 2 are likely just getting started.
Toukiden 2 is available now on PS4 and PSVita. For more information, as well as a handy player’s guide, check out the official website.