By Adam Reese / April 22nd, 2015
Speaking of targeting limbs, one of the game’s main features is the ability to absorb the essence of both oni corpses and the parts of large oni, transforming them into materials for you to use. If you manage to remove all of the parts of an oni before defeating them, you are given bonus materials at the end of the mission. With this encouragement to use precise, surgical strikes, many large oni fights tend to drag on as you target the same body part over and over and having you sit there, hoping that you don’t kill them before you slice off the oni’s horns or back ridge.
Another thing to obtain in the game is Mitama, the souls of heroic Japanese figures who have been devoured by the oni. The souls, originating from myths to fables to actual history, will provide quite a boon to you in your fight. After applying them to your weapon of choice, they will gain experience and unlock either stat gains or abilities for you to use in battle.
There are nine weapons to choose from, ranging from a sword to a bow to a rifle. Three of them are new to Kiwami: the club, the rifle and the naginata. The club is a slow, powerful weapon, much like the Great Sword in the Monster Hunter games. The rifle is similar to the bowgun from the aforementioned series, except much easier to carry around, offering you various ammo types without the hassle of buying the ammunition and even letting you load up the gun with a combination of bullets to adapt to any situation. Finally, the naginata, which is pretty easy to use, lets you slash in wide arcs and even launch yourself up with it to better reach your target.
With these weapons and a large plethora of armor, it isn’t too difficult to find a play style that fits your tastes. Personally, I started off using the naginata, then eventually the bow, letting my fellow slayers be my meat shields while I targeted distant oni and the body parts of large oni.
Speaking of party members, the AI in the game is pretty respectable. They would rarely die, as they would always heal at the right time and defended themselves competently, getting out of the way whenever an oni was rearing up to deliver a strike. While you do have the option to give them a set of orders, I would often leave them to their own devices, as each had their own way of handling the situation in front of them.
As has become common with many of Koei Tecmo’s releases, the voice acting is only in Japanese, with no English option available. While this can be seen as cost-cutting, it does add to the immersion and authenticity of the game, which is already richly inspired by Japanese myth and legend.
This is quite thoroughly displayed by the game’s soundtrack, filled with many folk instruments, relying on hard-hitting percussion during the game’s intense moments and soft strings accompanying a piano when things have taken a somber turn. You won’t hear any wailing guitars or drum kits here.
As far as the visuals are concerned, it’s easy to tell that the PSP’s visuals translate nicely to the PS4. There is plenty of detail in all of the models of the game. From the people you meet to the oni you fight, you can see several touches that give you a taste of their respective personalities. Lag was only a concern during intense on-screen activity, but otherwise ran clean and smooth.
There isn’t much different in the graphics between the Vita and the PS4 versions of the game, but that’s to mostly be expected. The creatures themselves don’t have a lot of variety to them until you get into the expanded content introduced by Kiwami, but, even then, you’re going to be fighting the same creatures repeatedly as you make your way through the game.
The reason I mention that last point is that those of you who have played the original Age of Demons will be pleased to know that the amount of oni you get to face, both small and large, has doubled in number. This also includes over 1,000 new weapon models, over 100 new armor sets and over 100 new Mitama, giving you plenty of new stuff to collect and outfit your character with.
Speaking of collecting, another new feature in Kiwami is the ability to send your Tenko out into the field to collect materials from the locations you’ve visited. This, along with another new feature that lets you send a single party member to a previous chapter’s mission, will exponentially increase your material gathering rate, getting you that much closer to that elusive piece of equipment you’ve had your eye on for a while.
While it had many repetitive moments, and was sometimes tedious, I never left the game alone for more than an hour or two between play sessions, and that just tells you how addictive Toukiden: Kiwami can be. At a total playtime of over 70 hours — with plenty of stuff left to do that could total over 100 hours worth of content — this game will really test the completionists out there. Whether you’re no stranger to Monster Hunter, or if this is your first outing in this style of game, Toukiden: Kiwami will satisfy.
Review Score Overall
Review copy provided by publisher. This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
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