Toukiden: Kiwami Review
I recommend checking out my review of the first title as this will cover only the new content exclusive to the enhanced release.
When I wrapped up my review of Toukiden: Age of Demons when it arrived a little over a year ago, I talked about how I would love to see a sequel to the title. Things left off on a very interesting note with its fascinating plot and well-developed characters.
Those types of things are a basic necessity for me to stay engaged with the hunting subgenre. It kept me away from Monster Hunter due to its lack of a real story. It’s also why I like God Eater far more.
The original Toukiden did plenty of positive things, but it still had issues with taking a template almost wholesale from another series and try to ride that success. My concern with Kiwami is that it would be all that once again in a simple port with additional dressings without the proper closure I was seeking.
Good news: Toukiden: Kiwami is definitely not that and instead a heck of a lot more, and I loved it.
Things pick up three months after the events of the earlier game. Although time has passed, the struggle remains the same. The main hub is Utakata Village, one of the few fortifications left standing in the face of the invading Oni.
The bastions protecting mankind from these mysterious beasts are the fated Slayers, of whom the player is a member. A new band of soldiers have arrived at the village, retreating from the north where the threat is at its highest. They brought with them an even greater threat that will decide their destiny.
After playing through the story of Toukiden: Kiwami up to its completion, I can’t say enough good things about it. I loved how each character was independently developed (at one point deliberately so), and could feel these emotional highs and lows during the experience. It took me to all these places that captured my full attention - easily the biggest draw here.
I could thankfully take the 40 hours I put into Toukiden: Age of Demons into Kiwami by transferring my save data. This meant I could keep all the same equipment and Mitama I had discovered.
This makes certain that returning players are where they need to be while giving the opportunity to retry previous missions if they so wish. Cross-play is also available between the PS4 and Vita versions for the online multiplayer.
Combat remains largely the same. The player runs around to different areas, or Ages, fighting an assortment of Oni and chopping off their limbs to gather materials to craft new equipment.
New features include the ability to order the NPCs around if you’re playing offline, telling them to attack, defend, aid each other, or freedom to do whatever they decide. I usually left my party to their own devices as the developers did a great job with the AI.
Also new is a team attack feature where. After the unity gauge is filled, players can unleash a powerful attack capable of knocking multiple limbs off an Oni in one fell strike.
Along with this, Kiwami improves upon the experience by adding hundreds of new armor sets and weapons. There are three weapons for players to try out that helps improve the already impressive array of tools. Rifles can be armed with six different bullet types including explosive, piercing, and powerful sniper ammo. Giant clubs are perfect for knocking the limbs off of Oni only offset by their massive weight. The naginata is a polearm with plenty of leaping attacks.
Another improvement is the role of the player’s Tenko. While you can still send the little creature off to different maps to gather items, you can now change their equipment; give them a Mitama to help them on their quest; and affect their mood by feeding them which improves the quality of items they can find.
If you take on a mission in the same map that the Tenko is exploring, there’s a chance you’ll be able to meet them. I appreciated having it around in a support role as they can absorb any fallen Oni limbs and even revive my player if I had died in battle.
While taking on a mission, players can also choose a fellow party member to find items themselves in a previous mission. This added up to a far easier time getting the items I needed to craft new weapons and armor, taking a solid amount of tedium out of the game.
Not that Toukiden: Kiwami is anything other than a lot of tedium. You will need plenty of patience to run out and fight the same bosses over and over to hunt for specific materials.
The good news is, you don’t have to engage in most of this. I did it mostly out of my quasi-OCD tendencies to complete my armor sets, but players can play through the story barely touching those other systems. The gameplay isn’t so much challenging as it can be time-consuming.
The amount of content in the game has increased tenfold. There are one-off emergency missions that offer better loot; a horde-like infinite mission choice where enemies get gradually more difficult while items become rarer; there are a ton more exclusive multiplayer missions to partake; and the number of Oni to fight have doubled offering new challenges.
The trip from the Playstation Vita to the Playstation 4 was rather eye-opening for me after spending so much time playing the original on a handheld screen. Character models have more detail, the environments look better, and the towering bosses are much more distinctive. I could appreciate their designs more even if several have carried over from the original Toukiden with a few changes.
I would never call it a showcase piece for the system. There are framerate drops when the action gets heavy, and the textures look muddy on some of the environments. All told, the game looks and runs well.
It also has a superb soundtrack with a surprising amount of variety especially as the story nears its end. I have nothing but strong feelings about the music and felt it added to the important moments.
Toukiden: Kiwami offers one of the best stories I experienced in a while. Although the pacing is broken up by having to defeat the same group of monsters, I soon fell in love with its mechanics. I also enjoyed crafting all the different manner of items featured in the game. If you were wondering which title to choose that will best introduce you to the monster-hunting genre, Toukiden: Kiwami is a perfect place to start.