Monster Hunting games have been a popular genre since their conception, the struggle to not only face foes but to upgrade and improve constantly is one that works well to draw fans in. Toukiden 2 takes this formula and expands upon it in all the right ways. Continuing on from the previously released Toukiden: The Age of Demons you are once again thrown into a medieval Japanese world where Oni, demons, plague the lands threatening to wipe out all human life as they expand their domain. In this world, though there is hope as special Oni hunters called Slayers are trained to protect the last of the settlements.
The game begins during the time of the Awakening when the Oni first came to the world through a mysterious portal to another realm. It was during this time that you were part of a group of slayers tasked with protecting Yokohama. During the battle against the Oni, you ended up getting trapped in one of their portals appearing elsewhere in the world. When you awaken in Mahoraba, a small town to the East, you learn from the professor who saved you that the battle that you have just come from actually occurred 10 years in the past. She continues to inform you that since then mankind has been on the defense as Oni and an airborne poison called Miasma has been spreading through the land. Conflicts in Toukiden 2 aren’t just outside the walls of Mahoraba either as there is a heated conflict between the Guards and the Samurai who both protect the village. The Guards who have always lived in the village don’t believe that the Samurai, the outsiders, should be given as much protection from Oni attacks. Over the course of this story, you’re not only introduced to the world around you but also to a variety of interesting characters from inside the village, most of them having complete story arcs throughout the main narrative. This works well not only to help you get a better feel for the world but to also create fully fleshed out and characters that are easy to relate to. The subplot between the insiders and outsiders also leaves the village in an almost constant state of unrest having characters deal with personal and class-based differences.
During the main game, you trade between being in the village, or in the open world. While in the village you’re able to communicate with other NPC’s, visit the variety of different stores, and select your party members. Once you gather your party and head out into the world it’s up to you to fight off all kinds of monsters that you might encounter. The Oni in Toukiden 2 come in three different variety; small like the goblins, medium monsters such as the Aquaclaw, or the downright terrifying large Oni that tend to tower over you at almost double your height. Usually, as you head out on a quest your aim will be to reach a certain point of the map or track down a monster that has been terrorizing the village, once you encounter the monster it is up to you and your party to take it down. While you are progressing towards the mission goal you will encounter these smaller monsters, you can defeat them for monster parts or just run by them without giving them a second thought.
The main fights of the missions play out quite similar to battles you would expect from other games such as Monster Hunter, upon entering each Oni’s domain you begin to attack working at weak points in an attempt to stun the beasts. An interesting spin on the monster hunting formula is that in Toukiden 2 as you do damage to these weak points (usually the arms, legs, and wings of the monsters), you can eventually break them off. In turn, if you break off certain vital limbs, the monsters will be forced to change their battle strategy altogether. This could be a small change such as an enemy getting a protective electric aura up to a change drastic enough to have you rethink your strategy going forward. One four armed Oni in particular, after removing both of his legs will turn himself upside down and use each of his arms as a new leg. During the shift of form in the battle the arms that used to be out of reach are now within your grasp, the downside to this is a change in attack patterns and speed requiring you to watch his movements unless you want to be sent flying. It’s not just big changes either, the attention to detail in the monster’s reactions from having limbs severed can even have a monster doubling over their leg holding it in pain.
As you adventure and complete quests, you’re able to collect better monsters gear, with that you can go back to town and craft better weapons and armor, all to go out once again and fight even harder enemies for their spoils. Now, this is the same loop as a lot of other monster hunting games, but Toukiden 2 tries to become more accessible to players by having its drops be more common and more plentiful. There will be plenty of seasoned players complaining that the requirements to get the higher tier armor is too easy but there is also a barrier of entry to be argued for that you don’t need to fight the same monster five times for just one item upgrade. Each new piece of equipment you unlock or weapon you purchase also looks different cosmetically, allowing you to mix and match between different aesthetic styles. Even better, as you unlock more and more of the open world, a lot of the monsters that you would set out on quests to find can be found along the way to the next big bad. Out to fight a Brutebeast? Why not take on a Bladetail along the way? It’s through this that you never feel like you need to hold back and grind before being able to progress again, you’re able to do both at the same time. You are also able to take on missions that allow you to not only gain new powers but also hunt for specific monsters and their parts.
Stemming from the missions available to your player in the single player there are also multiple levels of missions that you can take part in in the multiplayer portion of Toukiden 2. To access this you just need to approach the portal stone and choose a lobby to join. In multiplayer you have access to the structured missions, not the open world sadly, but you can upgrade yourself in town and when you or someone else in your party of four have selected a mission will all embark on it. When you begin the multiplayer you will have access to the first phase of missions, by completing all of the red missions you’re granted access to the second phase, you can continue this process up until phase 12 where you’re be facing some really tough fights. For the purpose of leveling, you’re only able to access the phases of the lowest member of your party. This is a good way to help the less powerful players catch up faster, as well as a good way to ensure that the game doesn’t become too broken having a phase 1 player get carried through the higher phases. Every player you meet while player online will also be added to an ever-growing roster of “ghosts” that are AI you can ask to join your party in multiplayer. This can mean even if a player has to leave the party you can just ask their AI to join your party, don’t expect if your AI is used to receive any spoils though. For the truly daring players, there are also endless dungeons where you fight wave after wave of bosses. You enter at level 1 and you try to last as long as you can with more and more powerful enemies appearing as you progress. The only way to leave the dungeon is by choosing to embark every 5th floor, but you can expect to lose your loot if your party happens to fail in between checkpoints.
Toukiden 2 has a fully voiced Japanese cast for all of the main characters, though there are no proper cutscenes the genuine dialogue helps to add more authenticity to the old Japan design that the title took. This can be quite confusing during battles as characters can be telling you important information or revealing story elements forcing you to look away from the action to read the subtitles. Background music also draws heavily from the Japanese theme including a wide variety of traditional instruments. As you progress through the game you will find yourself enjoying most of the tracks, even if sometimes you can barely hear it under the crash of metal meeting monster.
Toukiden 2 takes the monster hunting formula, opens it out to the world, and provides a sufficient challenge to complete the game. More determined player are able to easily get the most out of the game though with so much content available post main quest line. The story is independent to that of the first game and because of this, the game ensures to fill players in so that it is accessible to those who haven’t.
There is plenty here to entertain the casual players to the hardcore fans of monster hunting series. With a well built world and story driven characters you'll always be wanting to fight just one more monster, on your own or with a party of friends.
- Addictive Upgrades
- Interesting Story
- Easy To Join Multiplayer
- Cosmetic Changes
- Mission Based Multiplayer
- Some Repetitive Battles