Okay, I’m a little late with this one, but lets get started…
Let’s take Samurai/Dynasty Warriors, Monster Hunter, a tiny bit of Soul Sacrifice and a few big, fearsome demons right out of the Japanese Mythology, throw it into a blender and see what happens. That not only sounds like me when I try to cook something when my fridge is a frozen wasteland, it is also the first thought I had for Toukiden.
Does that mean something bad? I have survived each of my cooking experiments without harm. Just look at my words! Do they read like someone who is on the verge of dying or insanity?
…Let’s…just ignore the fact the voices in my head just started a debate over this matter, shall we?
Anyway…Let’s look at the setting of the game. Oni, demonlike creatures, plague the land of Nakatsu Kuni (meaning “Middle country” – coming from Ashihara no Nakatsukuni “The middle country of reed beds” between Takamagahara (Plain of High Heaven) and Yomi no Kuni (Place of yellow springs or Hell)) and the Slayers (mononofu -> warrior or samurai) are the ones who make it their duty to kill…well… slay those beasts to preserve peace in the lands.
Eight years prior to the plot, an event called “Awakening” took place. A great Oni emerged out of Yomi and brought an age of calamity over the humans who now try to hold the lines desperately against the waves of Oni sweeping down against them.
You, a mere rookie, are sent to such a final holding line, a village named Utakata and live a life as a Slayer…Oh, and did I mention that you are also the only reinforcements this village gets? I’m no genius when it comes to tactics, but I don’t think that is the best way to protect one of the last standing points against Oni, but well…
Let’s just send a rookie (*cough* fresh meat) to one of the most dangerous places! What could go wrong?
Holy…That is not what I have signed up for.
Since there is no backstory to the protagonist, I can only suspect that he/she did something which offended the higher ups big time. They really seem desperate to send you to your certain death.
Of course you are to stubborn to actually bite the dust, since you are a special little Slayer-in-training (and the only ray of hope…Yes, you have guessed it: These are really desperate times). A Slayer normally bounds with one Mitama (“Honorable Spirit” or Spirit of a hero) and thus can use their powers. You on the other hand can bound with more. A hell lot of more, considering there are 200 Mitamas in the game. What hell it must be when they begin to talk in your head…
Speaking of sunshine, rainbows and voices inside heads, this is a rather interesting mechanic. Each Mitama gives you special abilities which you can use during battle dand they can level up so that it gives you even more things to choose from. Additionally, the artwork for the different people is gracious, but this is just my personal standpoint.
So, I just arrived at the village, a nice little town, green and flourishing at the bottom of a tree. Everything is nice and peaceful besides a few Oni encounters here and there, you get some nice NPCs (nothing new, but still amusing) and then the plot gets on. And on. And on.
And things go from bad to maybe-world-shattering-worse.
Monster Hunter isn’t funny, more neutral, but has charming moments with the feline companions and the bright enviroment and landscapes. Soul Sacrifice…It was clear that this was no game with joy and unicorns since the very beginning (not the nice sort of unicorns at least). Toukiden greets you with characters who seem totally sane and stereotypical and then gives them backgrounds where you wonder that they are not more nervous wrecks with the whole thing going on from the psychological standpoint.
All in all, the main storyline is acceptable for a hunting game (just to remind you I normally dig story and storyline, but this time it is just to set the stage) , the characters not too bland (maybe a little stereotypical) and the setting interesting. I would go more into the plot section, but I don’t want to spoil anything for new Gamers.
About the mechanics…It wasn’t incrediably difficult to get into it, it makes fun to rid the huger Oni from their extremeties which is especially funny when your weapon is a little more powerful and you go back to earlier missions and see the bodyparts flying around in short order.
If a body part is cut, you need to purify it, which is essentially standing and reciding a haku until it is gone. If you don’t…well…the big bad oni will reclaim it and you can begin anew in hacking away that annoying thing. (Especially annoying since certain body parts give you certain items you need for smithing new weapons and armor) Some attacks and the behavior of some Oni change with the lack of body parts and general health as well.
You have also different weapons to choose from: A huge sword, a spear, Chain&Sickle, a bow, a pair of armored fists, dual blades which all play differently with own combo sets. Additionally you can embed your Mitama in it which gives you different boni and offers different strategies in battles. The Eye of Truth mechanic not only shows you the body parts which you can slash away, but also “hidden” Oni which can’t be send with seen with the naked eye.
From these weapons the bow is by far the most boring to play, but it is very effective when you need certain bodyparts for smithing.
Was it worth the hunt? Well, yes. Not the best but still quite acceptable. There were no real problems with the game controls, the setting is interesting as well as the designs. The story and characters itself is nothing new, but they show own characteristics. To be honest, I was expecting something far worse, but it was really nice. I have made this post short, since everyone has already written about it. I hope my next posts are longer and better…I need to get back to this thing first.