Toukiden: The Age of Demons is an above average action game with some minor Role-Playing Game elements. These RPG elements though are not very flushed out, and lead to many of the weapons in each class feeling rather similar across the board. However, there are instances where each type of weapon does feel rather different, but they all remain rather clunky to wield at times. The best part is when you get to use them they are much more manageable, but I often found myself missing hits or my character moving in the complete opposite direction because of annoying camera issues.
One great aspect to Toukiden is the boss fights. While these encounters are somewhat recycled, they still remain a lot of fun because you are able to chop off different body parts to hinder movement. Enemies quickly regenerate them back in form of “spirit limbs”, but from then on they become easier to kill or cut off again. Throughout the game you will be in your hub, which is where you will craft and upgrade weapons, armor, and Mitama’s receive missions. Mitama’s are freed souls of dead Slayers who you encounter and equip to your weapon sockets and receive missions. The hub is also were you will receive missions and save the game along with other minor things. Toukiden could be compared to games such as Monster Hunter, Soul Sacrifice, or even Ragnarok Odyssey. These comparison would be fair as the game lends itself to many aspects from these games.
The game is set in a fantasy world with medieval Japanese themes. Warriors known as “Slayers” specialize in fighting the Oni, a group of invading demons from the “Otherworld”. Eight years prior to the start of the game’s story, a great demon emerged from the underworld and brought an era of calamity to the land of Nakatsu Kuni; which was traditionally protected by the Slayers since ancient times. The protagonist and main characters reside at Utakata Village, one of the final lines of defense against the demons. The story honestly feels a little generic at times, with some obvious twists and turns, but not truly mind blowing. Often, the character dialogue also feels forced. The end result unfortunately just feels like filler content so you can’t automatically go back to the mission desk.
The graphics in Toukiden are really a mixed bag. They definitely aren’t Killzone: Mercenary quality, but they aren’t bad. In fact, the character models often look great. However, it’s the environments and buildings which are often muddied and blocky; thus lowering the overall quality of experience and the graphics. Omega Force should have spent more time making sure everything looked consistently good in the graphics department. Music is another aspect which Toukiden leaves something to be desired. The music is often annoying and I found myself muting the games audio, which leads me to the problem with the subtitles. The whole game is subtitled over spoken Japanese. This becomes very distracting throughout the game. The spoken Japanese dialogue (which there is a lot of) is so distracting when reading the subtitles, and this is mostly due to higher pitch of the dialogue than the game audio. This is especially apparent even when you have headphones on. They should have at the very least lowered the tone of the dialogue for the North American release. If Omega Force was going to do almost fully voice Japanese, why didn’t they redo the game in English for a North American crowd? The whole thing just screams laziness on their part.
I should also mention that I had a hard time importing my save file from the demo version to the full version. Not only did the game not recognize my save file, but I had to start over and do the first six missions all over again, which are exactly the same from the demo. This was rather frustrating, but pretty much sums up the large parts of this game. Toukiden can fun sometimes, and a chore at other times.
Overall, Toukiden: The Age of Demons will please action game fans, especially those who love Monster Hunter or Soul Sacrifice. However, players should be forewarned that the gameplay gets repetitive fast and missions end up feeling all the same. Many missions revolve around killing 5 “insert name of demon here” and collect 3 of “these items” all on the same maps you played before in previous missions; except with an extra small area to explore, not previously opened before, but shown on the mini-map. While the combat looks great and is fun at times, it can be unwieldy at times of intense battles and this can get rather annoying quickly. Furthermore, the throwaway story qualifies this as a game that is definitely far from being a system seller for the Playstation Vita and proves that the praise it has received from others in the past isn’t fully warranted.
This review of Toukiden: The Age of Demons was played on a PlayStation Vita and was provided by Tecmo-Koei.