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Review by Dustin Murphy
+Graphical detail has been upgraded to bolster in this console version
+Relies heavily upon questing and revisiting missions in both online and offline versions
+Online connectivity has seemingly improved to allow for more interaction
+Armors between both the male and female have quite a bit unique
+A unique story that twists itself around the Feudal Japanese Era.
+Migration from Toukiden: The Age of Demons saves to PS Vita and PS4 versions are a bonus
+New weapons and armour upgrade system is a rather large added bonus
–Purely Japanese voicing could be problematic for some who are unfamiliar with the titles
–A.I. partners seem to have trouble reviving players that are downed
–Odd colour contrasting within the game on PS4 version
–DLC content seems limited to users who port over their save from Toukiden: The Age of Demons
Editors Note: Please note that because we were only supplied a PS4 code, we have been unable to review the PlayStation Vita version at this time, but do intend on getting to that in the near future. We will note any possible differences between the two in an updated note in our review.
Last year we got to see one of the sharpest tools in the PlayStation Vita’s library come to shine and gain a momentous track record thanks to publisher KOEI TECMO and developer Omega Force. We were given a game that allowed players to slay unimaginable enemies that towered them in size ration, but also capabilities, which is where working in groups has become the most effective path to take and allowed for friends as well as random players become tactical groups of slayers. Once more players are given a rather robust character creator, weapon selection, and even missions to undertake. This time, however, the weapon selection and upgrades has become even larger thanks impart to player feedback, but also the creative minds behind the title. So lets take a peek at what has changed since the last time we played Toukiden. Do note that our review this time around (our old review has been lost due to website migrations), which leaves us with an all new chance to give a view on this game.
/-/ An Improved Upgrade System /-/
When upgrading in Toukiden: The Age of Demons there were a few things that players were disgruntled with. This time around we have been given instead of a single upgrade to choose from to a rather in-depth system that allows for players to take on different elements, weapon effects, but also a new set of stats to those weapons so that they may be a bit more effective. These chances come around for both the base weapon design, but also the upgrades of upgrades getting a chance to be altered in both design as well as stats so that they would be a bit more effective in combat. How this is done is quite simple thanks to the use of multiple items that can be gathered within missions from certain ‘Ages’, which can be done by sending out the Tenko in the characters house or even by talking to the Guardian Tree and feeding it Haku (in-game currency). With these materials weapons can be upgraded into multiple forms compared to what we had before, which makes for a lobster bow, chopstick-esque rifle, Ping Pong-esque paddles, and even a giant rice cake roll to assault their enemies with.
However, these are only a few of the upgrades possible that will allow for players to enjoy what they do and how they go about it. Instead, this time around, players can take on the role of upgrading weapons and armour by obtaining Pure Soul Steel and Soul Steel itself. These upgrades will allow for players to jump in and upgrade their armour and items in order to progress through the game. This newly implemented upgrade system is something that players should take with a bit of thought since the materials needed are rare, hard to find, and will require some finesse to obtain in the long run, but will also require players to obtain a highly grown Guardian Tree to even have a chance of getting a bit easier than before.
/-/ New Weapons /-/
Much like in Dynasty Warriors, Toukiden: Kiwami has taken a note from the previous entry Toukiden: The Age of Demons. This time around our weapon library has had three new weapon classes introduced to it such as the Naginata, Two-Handed Club or just club, and simply Rifle. Each of these weapons come with their own uses, tactics, and even combat styles that will and will not give players an edge in combat depending on the Oni that they find themselves going up against. This includes and is not limited to ones such as the Rifle, which has multiple type of ammo’s such as Delay, Absorb, Sniper, Piercing, Explosive, and even Scatter. With the rifle each of these ammo types have their own use depending on what needs to happen in order to make them more useful than before. This includes the standard shot (Square) that allows players to move while aiming at the boss, but not charging up a more powerful shot (circle) in order to take their enemies out in a timely manner. However, some of these ammo types can’t be charged up in order to provide a more direct and powerful approach. So what are these ammo types? Sniper, explosive, and delay. Even with how powerful they are, each of these shots are useful in their direct approach even when using a more powerful shot stance (this one being the circle, which is strong attack) in order to dispatch their enemies quicker than before.
When taking on Oni it’s never a bad idea to have a heavy hitter and this is where the Club weapon class comes into play. With devastating charge up attacks the club allows for players who use this to approach enemies with ease, break the body parts, and even push the health on demons down rather quickly. The trade off? Even with these devastating charge attacks, the club finds itself a bit weak against the fist weapons that provide heavy hitting rapid attacks that could quickly send an enemy into abysmal despair while they are being beaten on. This, however, is traded off by the tactical usefulness that the club weapons or hammers, if you will, give off when they are being used against enemies such as the Manhunter (or variants), Jolux, or even Windshredders in order to assure that they are no longer present on the battlefield. On the other end of this polarity we have the Naginata. The Naginata provides heavy hitting attacks that hit a wide range of enemies, body parts on large Oni, but also allow for players who use Speed and even Might Mitama to hit their enemies as hard and as fast as possible without ever having to slow down in order to assist in bringing enemies down quickly. However, this does come with a few weaknesses since the weapon itself doesn’t feature the hard hitting attacks like fist weapons, rifles, and clubs, but instead finds itself more along the lines of swords, dual daggers, and even sickle and chain in order to provide its devastating attacks.
/-/ Cross-Play and Cross-Save Functionality /-/
With the release of Toukiden: Kiwami on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, it’s not odd that players will wonder if they can take their save on-the-go and even hit up a few missions with friends online. The answer? Yes – yes you can. Thanks to the minds at Omega Force, it won’t be odd for friends to be joining each other on both PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 in order to take out the enemy hordes and try to purify the world around them in order for the last bastions of humanity to find themselves safe as the enemy force grows ever more dangerous over time. With this capability comes the question of being able to move save files across the two platforms, which is something that does happen thanks to the games capability of data sharing saves, but also the fact that this enables to be a game that will push those whom own both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita’s to obtain both copies of the game so that they may migrate their saves around and explore the world around them just a tidbit more than before. This also means for those wanting to game that they can play online and ad-hoc mode as needed in order to enjoy the game as they should.
The biggest question of this will be: can the game run smoothly online? The short answer is yes. Thanks to the improved netcode the game runs flawlessly compared to the experiences that had once been experienced with Toukiden: The Age of Demons where players would find themselves dumbfounded by the delay in monster placing, but also swinging at enemies on screen where they are not on another players. With this change, it has also allowed for combat to become more fluid, and a bit more easy to access in this manner. Something that this game had honestly needed quite a bit, which allows for a more fluid and easier to access as missions are completed.
/-/ What Remains Unchanged /-/
Even as a ‘hunting game’, Toukiden: Kiwami still has a few weaknesses that titles like itself such as Freedom Wars, Monster Hunter, Soul Sacrifice Delta, and even God Eater did a bit better: exploration and open terrain for farming even while on a hunt. This is something that the previous titles did quite a bit since they did not restrict players on what, how, and when they would go through areas in order to obtain rare and hard to obtain materials, but also to track down enemies as they went between each of the zones in order to fight something that offers a challenge as they move away to recover, but also to find reinforcements as they need them. This, unfortunately, is a couple of the weakened points. Sadly, these restrictions do stirr some trouble for those who want a bit more freedom and capability to get further along in their zone explorations.
Unfortunately due to the lack of exploration, missions must be completed in repetitious questing that must be completed in order to obtain rare materials, but also some common materials. It is unfortunate that this is an issue and something we hope to be seen in future patches, downloaded content, and or even future installments that could lead to more changes and a fully upgraded system.
/-/ Closing Thoughts /-/
Even with a few of the subtle changes and the lack of DLC ports such as the Soul Sacrifice content, it’s surprising to see a lot of these pieces of content, not limited to the Nobles Garments have been left out, but only for those who want to obtain the armour by having the original entry, downloading the content, and playing enough to unlock it before actually being able to use it. This, unfortunately, is something that is unfortunate, and even will drive some consumers to question the motives regarding how to obtain this content, but also how to go about obtaining it if it is currently present within Toukiden: Kiwami.
The only thing that would be a major advancement for this game would be to allow for zones to be fully open and to allow for a free roam ordeal where players can go into the wildernesses and hunt down rare, common, or even uncommon resources while encountering demons of all sorts.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
Ethics Note: This version of the game is based upon a pre-release retail version of the game. Our copy was provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, MMO’s, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable and can’t be softened by even the biggest names in the gaming industry. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. To follow Dustin, hit him up on Twitter over at @GamingAnomaly, find him on his Google+. Wanna game with him? You can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.