Toukiden: Kiwami – Review

Title   Toukiden: Kiwami
Developer  Omega Force
Publisher  Tecmo Koei
Platform  PS4
Genre  Action
Release Date  April 1st, 2015
Official Site

Apparently, Toukiden: Kiwami – an enhanced version of the Vita-only game Toukiden: Age of Demons – is a Monster Hunter clone. I wouldn’t know about that but that’s what I’m told by my Toukiden co-op buddies. To me, a novice to the genre, this is a Dynasty Warriors clone but without the crowds. You hack, slash and shoot enemies on a battlefield and then manage your weapons and resources when you are back at base. The base itself is a small village in the ‘Midlands’ of Japan. So why are you defending this Eastern Birmingham? Well, you are one of the last pockets of human resistance against the oni, a seemingly unstoppable force of shadowy demons. Thankfully, you have two things going for you: some handy teammates (either AI or human co-op) and a working knowledge of various weapon types.

At the start of your campaign, you are are given a choice of weapons from stabby or smashy melee weapons to guns and bows. A tutorial is available for each and is recommended as there is more to this particular brawler than the usual smashing of square and triangle as your avatar whirls around like a typhoon of death. Toukiden is far more deliberate and, at first, this may seem to be very clunky. It kind of is.

Indeed, my initial three hours with the game gave me a feeling that many reviewers will be familiar with. It’s what I like to call the ‘oh fuck, this game is massive and I hate it and now I’ve got to endure like a fucking whole week of this shit’ feeling. However, after that things started to come together. Toukiden has a few elements to it. There is the village, which has a handful of people to interact with and where you can buy and sell materials, weapons and armour as well as upgrading your gear. There’s no levelling up to worry about but, rather, you just get better with your chosen weapon, and the more you use it the more you can fortify (upgrade) it.

Then you have the Mikami. These are the souls of dead warriors that you liberate when you kill the oni that devoured them. The Mikami add various boosts to you in combat and can be quite helpful. You also have some crap little fox thing that goes off on missions for you, and eventually you can also send out warriors on missions. This may all sound like a lot to consider but it’s all pretty straightforward and not as faffy as something like Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. I started out as a sword guy but moved through clubs, knives, gauntlets and guns before eventually settling on bows as my chosen weapon, so you should definitely explore your options before writing off the combat in this game. Initially I was underwhelmed by how clunky it all is but when you realise the attack options you have and get the timing down, the gameplay comes to life. Now, some twenty hours in, I’m completely comfortable in the game and completely hooked, too.

The main meat of the game is in the combat, though, and eventually you’ll be facing off against giant boss oni. These battles are the most epic and involve you and your team-mates hacking off limbs in an effort to bring these huge demons down. It’s not as epic as a Shadow of the Collosus, but these battles are still lengthy and satisfying. I’m not really a fan of boss battles generally but these are great fun. Outside of the combat, I find Toukiden to be quite zen and relaxing. Wandering around the village, upgrading and changing your gear feels like a nice post-battle ritual, and while I couldn’t give a damn about the plot, I still quite enjoy the characters. If you buy into it properly, there’s a lot of story here. I just hear ‘demons spirits demons destiny magic demons souls oni demons’ though.

Toukiden doesn’t turn heads with its visuals, apart from some of the bigger beasties, and the lack of scale and scope to the environments (which are all small, flat areas) betrays the game’s Vita roots. Some of the backdrops and characters look nice and detailed though, but the game isn’t a stunner. The sound isn’t up to much, with a forgettable score and a bunch of Japanese voice acting that may or may not be awful. Who knows. But the game’s presentation does hold together well enough.

None of this matters when you are out on the battlefield, slicing up oni. All of the game’s best moments happen here and whether you are taking out regular oni and giant bastard oni, it is always fun and exciting. The single-player and co-op play both work equally well and when combined with the game’s rudimentary looting and levelling system, you are left with a very competent combat game with a ruthlessly addictive quality.

  • Epic battles
  • Thoughtful combat
  • Highly addictive
  • Decent AI
  • Fun online co-op
  • Seamless cross-platform co-op between PS4 and Vita
  • Lacks variety
  • Presentation lacks polish
  • Can be all a bit too Japanese at times

Toukiden: Kiwami isn't as accessible as the usual hack and slasher, but that's because it isn't the usual hack and slasher. If you want to button mash your way through a murderous ballet of random animations, this isn't for you. But if you want a combat system that requires some thought and skill, Toukiden may be the one.

Our review policy

Last five articles by Richie


One Comment

  1. The PC port is also out but seems to be extremely buggy and seems like its locked on 30fps. and at $60(same with PS4) thats a big downer since I bought the game this summer for my vita for only $20…..

    The game deserves a 8/10 but the ports should be only 6/10

Leave a Comment