Review: Toukiden: The Age of Demons (PSV)

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Title: Toukiden: The Age of Demons
Format: Game Card / PlayStation Network Download (1.9 GB)
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Tecmo KOEI America
Developer: Omega Force
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: T
Toukiden: The Age of Demons is also available on PSP.
The PlayStation Network download version was used for this review.

Before you read any further in my review of Toukiden: The Age of Demons, I will let you know that I have always had a sweet spot in my gaming heart for button-mashers. There has always been something relaxing about the majority of those types of games; so when I was able to review a new button-mashing game I was rather excited. Sadly, while I was eagerly waiting for that excitement and love I have for this genre of games to come sweeping back over me while playing, it never came, and instead a sense of boredom filled the void.

Okay, enough of the review spoilers, just read the rest of the review now.

Gameplay:
Eight years ago a portal was opened into the real world where a giant, evil demon entered and brought his legions of minions along with him. Since then the human race has hung by a thread, fighting the demons where they could and barely surviving. Then came the creation of the Slayers – a small select group of warriors that were very skilled at dispatching the demons. Through the years the Slayer group of fighters have began to dwindle, leading to a major shortage of protectors.

You play as a character who joins the Slayer war machine to help rid the world of this evil menace while unlocking a power within you that is the stuff of legend. You and your small team of Slayers fight against the impending destruction of the humans.

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Toukiden: The Age of Demons is, at its heart, a button-mashing game. Throughout your time playing you’ll spend the majority of it driving your weapon of choice through countless numbers of enemies to achieve your final goal. Really the best way to quickly explain the game to you is to say – think of Omega Force’s own Dynasty Warriors series, or better yet, think Monster Hunter (though I have never played that series).

Gameplay consists of a rather repetitive flow; get a mission from your base, head out into the world with your team of NPC-controlled teammates, then kill “X” number of “specific monster”. Making things far more repetitive feeling is the frequency you are tasked with killing the same monster(s) over and over. As if fighting the same monsters over and over again wasn’t enough, about 90% of all the battles you will engage in are the EXACT same as what you have experienced before since the monsters don’t change their fighting tactics.

Let me explain a standard mission in the game: Getting a mission from your headquarters will task you with killing ten goblins. You fight some generic-looking goblin who will once every 5 seconds do a single attack and then you will kill it with your next blow. The next generic-looking goblin you run into will attack you once every 5 seconds and then you will kill it with your next blow. Repeat this process till you kill the mission required ten and then return to base. Turn in your mission, get your reward, and pick up a new mission where you have to go kill twenty goblins.

See what I’m getting at? And making things worse, all the fights are insultingly simple, taking no real skill to complete them. Yet, not all things in the fighting area of Toukiden are bad, well at least not totally bad, there are the boss fights.

After you have slogged your way through the minion battles you will be tasked with taking out an area’s boss. These monsters give a breath of semi-fresh air to the fighting gameplay as they take a little more concentration to remove from the real world. With a really long health gauge and changing attacks and attack patterns, you will have to be very observant to dodge attacks and know when you have a chance to land an attack of your own. Even with a beefed up group of teammates on your side, most boss fights will last around 10 minutes. It really makes you use all of your gained knowledge of combat during these confrontations.

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Defeating the boss will give you various kinds of loot, but the main pickup will be a new Mitama. These Mitamas can be thought of as various classes that your character is able to switch to before going into battle, each with their own unique attacks and skills. Mitamas are in fact old Slayer warriors that were devoured by the demon. By killing the demon, their soul is able to escape and join you in your battle. Each Mitama can be leveled up based on how much you use them, gaining new skills and more power as you do so. Each of the NPCs that you are able to have join your team also have a specific Mitama associated with them that cannot be changed.

Now to tell you the part that is a let down. Oh come on, you knew there would be a bad part of this as well. So those fun boss battles I just finished talking about… well those soon become part of the standard missions that you have to complete to get to the next boss battle. This results in sometimes two missions in a row where you have to fight the same boss.

I was really surprised and impressed to experience no bugs or glitches throughout the time I played. Everything ran smoothly and nothing really impeded my progress through the game… except for the various things I mentioned above which kept me uninterested.

Visuals:
Toukiden never reached a level of graphical prowess that made me utter “Wow”, but it does have moments when the game looks good. The character models all look unique and have as much detail as would be possible on the small screen of the PlayStation Vita.

Likewise, the boss character models are fantastic. Each one looks eerily real and very distinct. I’ll admit, I even caught myself waking up one night having a nightmare in which some of the demons from Toukiden were present. It was scary.

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The majority of the levels you will trek through look good as well. Backgrounds have moving parts like trees swaying in the wind or waterfalls and look great while battling the demons. Cutscenes as well, while CGI, look great.

Audio:
Normally I am not interested in the Japanese voice track, and if I have the option, I turn it off. I’m not sure what it was though about the voice tracks in Toukiden, as I didn’t mind them and left them on the whole time. In fact, I think they are rather good; though I have no idea what they are saying without the speech bubbles popping up. When a character does talk, a speech bubble with the English words pops up most of the time, and then you begin to hear their voice.

Other than the Japanese voice-overs, the rest of the audio in Toukiden isn’t anything to shake a stick at. Yes, it is nice, but none of the tracks stand out as being anything special and aren’t memorable.

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Online/Multiplayer:
Toukiden does offer an online portion where you can team up with other players to tackle the same missions as the single player game.

During my four-ish hours of playing online with random people, I never experienced any lag or any connection issues; everything just worked, and worked great. I wasn’t able to figure out if there is voice chat for the game, as I would be talking into my headset, but I never got any response.

Conclusion:
Toukiden: The Age of Demons is a rather confusing game for me. Not confusing in the sense that I don’t understand what is going on, how to play the game, or even the more “complex” ideas in the game (of which there really aren’t any). It was more about why I kept and keep playing it. Nothing of Toukiden stands out as being anything impressive, many times it is rather bad, and I have far better games to play to keep me entertained. Yet, for some unknown reason, I keep turning my PlayStation Vita on and tapping on the Toukiden: The Age of Demons bubble to play more of it.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

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Written by Kyle Jessee

Kyle Jessee

Your lone Kentucky writer on staff. Loves the Big Blue Nation, rock music, and Resistance 2 (the best in the series).

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  • RomelloTCP

    I am trying to play this game right now but it will not let me load in my save game because it says it can not find the downloadable content installed. And I am not playing the game over to get to my current state.