Review: Toukiden: Kiwami (PS4)

toukiden-kiwami-review-banner-ps4

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes
  • Cross-Buy No
  • Cross-Save Yes
  • Cross-Play Yes
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Toukiden: Kiwami
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (18.3 GB)
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: KOEI TECMO
Developer: KOEI TECMO
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), €59.99 (EU), £54.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
Toukiden: Kiwami is also available on PlayStation Vita.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Toukiden: Kiwami is an enhanced version of a game titled Toukiden: The Age of Demons that came out for the PSP and PS Vita in February 2014. Along with Cross-Play and Cross-Save this new and improved PS4 version features two new characters, twice the number of demons, an extended story, and new weapons, bringing the size of this game to almost double the original.

My experience with this genre has been limited to the aging Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite game on the PSP that I could happily still play today on the Vita and use dual analog sticks thanks to being able to remap the controls.

Toukiden: Kiwami_20150329124944 Toukiden: Kiwami_20150328193323

Gameplay:
Monster hunting has become a popular pastime for many people in a genre which began life on the PlayStation 2 and spread to almost every other system but sadly neither the Vita or PS4 has seen any love from the original and most popular series. Toukiden: The Age of Demons was released on the Vita in an attempt to satisfy the clamoring fans. So it now seems that Toukiden: Kiwami is also trying to fill the monster hunting gap on the PS4 and offer Cross-Play and Cross-Save into the mix for good measure.

It’s been ages since I hunted any monsters and was quite excited to get a chance to do it again on the PlayStation 4. I opted to quickly create a female character and went with the predefined name of Slayer, as I usually spend way to long picking a name let alone hairstyle and any other attributes these games allow me to alter. I chose a longsword as the starting weapon and began the adventure.

After playing the first chapter I must admit I wasn’t having that much fun. I found the longsword to be a bit slow and cumbersome and switched to the dual-knives which are weaker but fast and deadly. I love charging around with quick attacks and being able to perform a deadly spinning special move. I’ve even gotten fairly good at diving onto the large beasts and performing a devastating flurry of attacks before jumping away to safety.

Toukiden: Kiwami_20150327190010 Toukiden: Kiwami_20150329162715

Mitama play a big part in this game and are essentially the souls of fallen heroes that have been devoured by the monsters called Oni. Whenever you slay a large Oni you free any Mitama that are trapped within it. They can be equipped to your weapons and give you some special moves that vary depending on the type of Mitama you have and their skill levels. You can also eventually attach more than one soul to a weapon and some complement each other giving added boosts so it helps to experiment.

… Toukiden does start off slowly …
You can pick and choose the order in which you complete the missions from the current chapter or even revisit some earlier ones. Going back allows you to gain experience or to try finding some rare items for the Blacksmith so he can forge that shiny new weapon or piece of armor you’ve had your eye on. Sadly, I never really found the need to grind or even get a specialized weapon and armor set to defeat a particular demon as the difficulty seemed to allow a single attempt to slay every Oni. That being said it still took me about twenty-five hours to complete the first half of the game, what is essentially Age of Demons.

When you’re not slicing the limbs off gigantic spider-like bosses you’ll be chilling out in the quaint little village where you can grab some new weapons or upgrade the ones you already have. Here you can chat with the locals and even take a bath in the local spring. I seem to have a nice little routine of feeding my two-tailed cat, fortifying my weapons and armor, checking on any new quests, and giving an offering to the Guardian Tree.

Toukiden: Kiwami_20150331094805 Toukiden: Kiwami_20150329162055

The story progresses along at a good pace with most of it being told via talks with other slayers and the occasional cinematic cutscene. You can delve deeper into the history of all the Mitama that you’ve collected as each has a detailed biography along with their picture. For any other things there is also a very helpful Guidebook in the Touchpad menu that lists everything from ‘How to defeat an Oni’ to ‘Basic Moves.’

The beginning of Toukiden does start off slowly and seems boring with each mission requiring you and two other NPC’s to venture out and kill a dozen or so minions. It isn’t until the final mission in the chapter that you even get to have some fun and see the potential in this game when you come up against a large boss and it takes almost ten minutes to kill it. It gradually picks up in pace and after a few hours you’ll have found a weapon and Mitama that suits your play style and be kicking some demon arse.

Not only will you be facing some huge monsters but on occasion more than one will appear and you’ll have to use some quick thinking tactics and learn the attack patterns of your enemy if you want to stand a chance. As I progressed through the game it never became too difficult to defeat the Oni it just took some time, a long time in fact. I never felt frustration or anger and not once did I want to hurl my controller against the wall. However some people would find the repetitive nature of these battles to be dull. Either way, I’m thirty hours in and still find it strangely addictive. Still, Toukiden: Kiwami is a good game that seems to balance on the precipice of greatness without ever finding a way to take the plunge.

… beautifully crafted cinematic cutscenes …
It isn’t until the second half of Kiwami (which is the new and enhanced part) that you begin to see what extra work has been put into this game. There are some fantastic new enemies and a few new mission types that revitalize the entire experience and make me want to carry on with this long journey. I’m happy to report that the difficulty has been raised a few notches making it challenging again and definitely worth playing.

Toukiden: Kwami might not be for everyone and is part of a very niche genre that some don’t quite understand. You’re able to slice off the limbs of a gigantic monster and then feverishly collect it whilst the angry demon lashes about and goes on a violent rampage. Using that limb to forge a nice new weapon that’ll help you to become even more of a badass is strangely addictive.

Toukiden: Kiwami_20150329120504 Toukiden: Kiwami_20150331103029

Visuals:
Toukiden: Kiwami is an improved version of the Vita game. It uses the same assets and animations just with improved textures and more detail. There are now blades of grass and leaves in the trees. You can see the improvements with the PS4 and Vita versions if you’re Cross-Playing between the two games but it isn’t that noticeable. Monsters and people are nicely animated and the worlds that they inhabit are colorful and diverse, if a little sparse. There seem to be more effects and visual flourishes on the PlayStation 4 version that look great on the big screen but it’s surprising what the Vita can do when you compare both games.

I really like the beautifully crafted cinematic cutscenes and was very pleased to find a section in the character’s house where I could review all of the unlocked videos and enchanting music from the game. I especially like some of the new demons that feature in the second half and would love to describe them to you but doing so would spoil the surprise.

Toukiden: Kiwami_20150331121642 Toukiden: Kiwami_20150331112446

Audio:
I like the original Japanese voice track and found myself being just as involved in the story reading the English text hearing the great voice acting, even if I couldn’t understand a single word of the beautiful language. A soft and sombre orchestral tune plays during the peaceful moments when you’re relaxing in the village and changes to a quick action oriented score when you’re out on the battlefield.

Online/Multiplayer:
Toukiden: Kiwami features an excellent multiplayer mode that you can access at almost any time during the single player game. It even allows you to set a password protected, named lobby where you can opt to play missions, story progression, and even limit the players phase. You can also search for other lobbies and join in with random players. I came across only one tiny problem during my entire online play that was probably caused by the host quitting at the point my game attempted to automatically upload my progress, but I was able to return to the lobby without any problems afterward.

You can perform many gestures and select from a myriad of quotes and remarks to help interact with the other players if you aren’t in a party chat with them. I didn’t notice any lag or issues with my online play and would recommend at least giving it a try once you have gotten used to the single player experience.

Toukiden: Kiwami_20150403195637 Toukiden: Kiwami_20150401142753

I would just like to mention that the Vita version has Ad-hoc multiplayer and a fully functional online mode that also allows Cross-Play with the PS4. There is also a great Vita demo available that allows you to play a large chunk of the beginning of the game and jump into the online mode. It lets you collect a few rare items and carry over your character into the full game. It’s what I used as reference for this review and must point out that the final version could look different than the demo.

Conclusion:
Toukiden: Kiwami is an unexpected delight. It could be that I haven’t played a game in its genre for quite some time but I found it to be a lot of fun. An intriguing story and varied assortment of enemies helped with that ‘just one more go’ addiction that swallowed up an entire weekend of playing and I’m not even halfway through. Being able to Cross-Save and Cross-Play with the Vita version makes this great game even better.

It starts off painfully slow and almost put me off the entire game but thankfully it becomes a fun and a strangely addictive adventure that I eventually found hard to put down. I’m glad Toukiden is on the PlayStation 4 and instead of just porting Age of Demons, Tecmo Koei went and added an entirely new game at the end.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg
Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg
Flag_of_Canada.svg

 

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

If you send a friend request please add ‘PS Nation’ in the subject area.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook
  • Raj Chauhan

    nicely put and it looks like you tried it te wsy it should have been tried for a review
    . find me on psn…inkslinger is my id

  • Roc

    Excellent review. I stumbled upon this game a few days ago, and after playing the demo this will be the first thing i purchase when I get paid this week. It’s a shame that this game will get no love from the larger review sites, and many people will never know the joy that is Toukiden:Kiwami

    • ChazzH69

      Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you liked the demo. This game should keep you going for ages.

  • Pingback: Review: Toukiden 2 (PS4) | PlayStation Nation()