Toukiden Kiwami Preview – The New Face of Monster Hunting for Sonyon February 19, 2015 by Oscar TK
If not necessarily the premiere monster hunting game then Monster Hunter is at the very least one of the most prominent, owed in part due to its self-explanatory title. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate just came out to much acclaim. It’s a Nintendo 3DS exclusive, the series having abandoned Sony consoles after Monster Hunter Portable 3rd.
With recent releases Toukiden: The Age of Demons and Freedom Wars its clear the spot in the genre is very much open.
Of course, the goal is not to simply offer “something a bit like Monster Hunter“. The goal is to offer something else — something that scratches that same itch, but at the same time is very different. Freedom Wars almost hit that just right with its interesting futuristic story and grapple mechanics, but there was something just a little bit clunky about it. Toukiden: The Age of Demons, released earlier in 2013, did things a little differently. It offered a more mythological approach, set in a fantastical imagining of medieval Japan. It was unabashedly Japanese, tasking you as a mononofu with protecting your village against oni. But sadly it got a little overlooked.
But giving up is something you should never do against an oni. Your teammates revive you and you get back in the ring, ready to have at it again using one of your many weapons, blasting limbs off as you go and collecting them for your own gain. No, I’m not talking about the fact that Toukiden: Kiwami is an enhanced remake of Toukiden: The Age of Demons, I’m just describing some of the intense gameplay it offers. But if I was, then it would be an allegory — and perhaps quite a fitting one at that.
And enhanced the game is. Forget the fact it’s releasing on both PlayStation Vita and glorious nex-gen PlayStation 4 for a second and just look at the features on their own. Not only are there tonnes of new weapons and weapon models (the rifle I tried out was oh so satisfying), but there’s also twice the number of oni, and over 100 new armour sets and Mitama. Not to mention additional mechanics that add both team attacks and a new layer of strategy to play, plus a heavily retooled Utakata village. It’s almost hard to comprehend how all the extra content can literally fit into the game. All new content after Chapter 8. I’m still not convinced it’s not some kind of magic.
Not to mention how great the game looks on PlayStation 4, the version I was shown. And it really does feel right controlling the game with the DualShock 4. I’d almost say it would feel hard going back to playing the the PlayStation Vita version, even of Kiwami, if it wasn’t for the fact that Kiwami supports both. That’s right, the game will support cross-save and multiplayer cross-buy. It’s a decision not dissimilar to Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate‘s Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U support, one that’s noticeably missing from the 3DS-only Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. There’s no reason to not be playing Kiwami wherever you go.
And yeah, the game seemed a little bit grindy in places, and pretty tough in places too. It’s that whole thing you’d expect from the genre. But the Kiwami version has definitely been packed with a whole lot of care to really go above and beyond at delivering the ultimate Toukiden experience, and they haven’t even had to put “ultimate” in the name. The gameplay is tight, and the lore is pretty solid too. Its managed to weave a whole universe for itself that feels very much its own.
How does it compare to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate? Why should it matter? It’s not Monster Hunter. It’s Toukiden: Kiwami. And it looks to be the new face of monster hunting for Sony.
NB: The screenshots in this preview are from the PS4 version of the game, the version I played.