Toukiden: The Age of Demons developed by Omega Force and published by Tecmo Koei is a Japanese take on the third person action/RPG monster hunting genre made famous by the fantastic Monster Hunter series.
It places players in control of a warrior tasked with fending off waves of monsters and even big ones which Toukiden does pretty well and matched with the graphical capabilities of the PlayStation Vita, it visually impresses, in fact, Toukiden has the best looking character models available for any handheld.
The land of Nakatsu Kuni has been plagued with hordes of demons thanks to the sudden uninvited emergence of great demon 8 years ago. Utakata Village is headquarters of a band of warriors called Mononofu or Slayers, whose job it is to defend the village and rid the land of these demons. You are a newbie who has recently joined the Slayers which means it is now your job to get rid of the demon threat too. That’s the basic overview of the story which is populated by some pretty bland characters and it doesn’t really help getting to know them through reading the subtitles as the entire voice acting is Japanese.
It’s a basic third person hack and slash em up, you control your created character made up from Toukiden: The Age of Demons pretty basic create mode and you take up missions which mainly involve button bashing until you vanquish hordes of demons. You have a light and heavy attack which can be strung together and a special move and a Mitama ability which is picked up on your first mission. Mitama’s are spirits from fallen slayers that allow the use of special moves in battle. There is an RPG element in Toukiden: The Age of Demons which means you can level up, find and earn better equipment and weapons and generally work on making your warrior a force to be reckoned with. On the battle field, you are given an overall map which is separated into a number of areas which can be freely accessible with your target area flashing red. Monsters can be locked on which make battles easier to keep track of and defeated monsters can be purified which players suck in the souls of the monsters which can gain pickups and equipment.
Toukiden: The Age of Demons is a fun game to play, the combat feels fluid and meaty and the mentioned RPG elements has quite a bit of depth to it although it doesn’t really take advantage the Vitas unique capabilities. Players will be playing for quite some time and it has the best looking graphics I’ve ever seen in a handheld game. People look finely detailed and monsters looks genuinely menacing and intimidating, meaning you will face a boss and think “oh my god this is going to be tough!” The environments aren’t very populated with people or items or shrubbery though meaning areas feel more like arenas rather than actually village districts which make me think that more work has been focussed on character design rather than environment, which is a shame.
Multiplayer is available which allows players to co-operatively complete missions together which is a blast.
Toukiden: The Age of Demons is a beautiful looking smart action/RPG that offers fast frantic action, meaty combat, a generic but satisfying story and fun co-op. Not without flaws though, boring characters, Japanese speech throughout and badly designed environments may put some players off. This is Japanese monster hunting at its finest which looks big on even the smallest screen.
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Toukiden: The Age Of Demons
Developers: Omega Force
Publishers: Tecmo Koei
Release Date: 14th February 2014
Story – 3/5
Graphics – 5/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Overall – 4/5