Review: Toukiden 2 (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3 (Japan only)
  • PlayStation Vita
  • PC, Mac

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
  • Cross-Buy No
  • Cross-Save Yes
  • Cross-Play Yes
  • Cross-Chat No
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Title: Toukiden 2
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (15.7 GB)
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games
Developer: Omega Force
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), €59.99 (EU), £49.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 16
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Toukiden 2 is a lot like its predecessor Toukiden: Kiwami. The gameplay and controls are intact with an addition of the demon hand which reminds me of the Just Cause grapple in the way you pull your character toward something.

However in this game you can occasionally rip a limb off of a huge demon or slam them into the ground.

You can do the same old stuff like creating a character and choosing their initial weapon. I opted for a female character to begin with since I played the last game with the other gender, so it’s nice to mix things up.

The beginning opens with more action and a quick tutorial. It also sets up the narrative.

This game is a good place to start in the series as it only mildly touches upon the previous entries, but nothing that would ruin the flow of the story.

Sadly, the muddled menu system is back. It has been tidied here and there but I still have a few minor issues. For some unfathomable reason, the game insists I have not equipped a boost even though I have done so many times, yet it still occasionally pops up telling me I have not.

Mitama still play a big part in this game. They are the souls of fallen heroes that have been devoured by the monsters called Oni. Upon slaying a large Oni, you free any Mitama that are trapped within it.

Learning what Mitama to equip and to upgrade will help more and more as you delve into this big game. They add special abilities depending on where they are equipped.

… The amount of enemies have been increased …
Aside from the main story missions, you get side quests from the inhabitants of your village and beyond. These can be anything from a quick five minute excursion to kill a few beasts or a troublesome tussle with a ferocious Oni. I found it a good idea to accept all the quests as my path through the story usually took me alongside those little adventures anyway.

You can stumble upon other slayers in mid-battle and join their foray. If you are victorious they will join you for a short while afterward and their friendship toward you will grow. It’s the same for the shop and weapons smithy. If you do a task for them you can get better things and even discounts.

The amount of enemies have been increased and there are now medium-sized Oni to contend with. You can also meet people while exploring the world who ask you favors or give you hints about an area or enemy close by.

I found myself sidetracked with the hunt for collectibles and secrets as the environment is full of them now and some require your new demon hand ability to acquire them. It’s also a great way, well the only way, to climb up small cliffs and trees.

… the series is definitely on the way to greatness …
The Toukiden series is quite a niche genre, but now with this new iteration, a broader appeal can be found. It was just hunting demons before but now feels akin to an adventure and action game too. With barely any loading screens and a huge expansive open world to explore at your own pace, Toukiden 2 is a much better game.

Toukiden: Kiwami was balancing on the precipice of greatness without finding a way to take the plunge. Toukiden 2 has taken the leap. It may have faltered just before and still feel weary, but the series is definitely on the way to greatness.

Visuals:
This section has seen the most improvement since the last game and there are virtually no loading screens separating each large area. The older game had brief pauses between each small section as you traveled across the adjoining pathways. It also had a long loading screen just to exit the village and a fixed view as you traversed the small populated area.

Toukiden 2 lets you explore the large and detailed village and then run straight out and hurl yourself off the cliff into the wooded valley below. With a full three-dimensional camera, you can look all around and target cliff edges and treetops to grab onto with your demon hand. It works well for the most part but is not perfect by any means.

… a marked improvement in both lighting and special effects …
The older games seem sparse and lifeless in comparison. Each area featured maybe one or two small pieces of vegetation scattered around the edge of a wide-open space. Now, with their new game engine, the developers at Omega Force are showing off a beautiful day and night cycle, dense woodlands, and lush open fields.

The lighting was nice in the last game and helped to add to the beauty and terror of the boss encounters. Toukiden 2 has also seen a marked improvement in both lighting and special effects. I will avoid boring you with the finer details, just take a look at the lovely screenshots to see for yourself.

Audio:
The game features an original Japanese voice track which has become much more extensive this time around. There is English text for most of the speech so you can read along while enjoying the nice voice acting.

Music is still good with a similar orchestral tune playing as you explore the village and an action packed alternative when fighting the menacing Oni.

… Use the large stone near the village gate …
Online/Multiplayer:
There’s a good online system if you take the time to figure it out. Not only can you set a named lobby for your friends to join but you can also play with Vita owners too via Cross-Play. It works really well and each time I played online I never encountered any issues.

Knowing how to access the online mode at any time during the game might bewilder some and I only stumbled upon the answer during the last game. Use the large stone near the village gate.

With a swipe of the touch pad, you can access the chat keyboard and emoticons. It’s easy to find the users you have already played with as each one leaves their player card behind. I do like this option and it can be a lot of fun fighting a huge enemy with a mixture of real and computer players.

Conclusion:
Toukiden 2 plays much like the older games in the series but with a vastly improved game engine and narrative. I would like to see a refinement in the demon hand mechanic, which seems to mess up if you spend too long aiming, but that is far from a complaint in an otherwise excellent experience.

The graphics and environment have been given an overhaul and while it retains the look and feel of the older games, it now appears more modern and fresh. Not everything has been given the same attention and love, specifically the menus, but nothing feels out of place.

I urge anyone who is on the fence with this game to give it a go. I doubt they would regret it. At least try the huge free demos on both the PS4 and Vita that allow you to play online, carry over the save, and reward you for playing it as well.

Score:
8.5

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

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

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

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