As with the first Toukiden, this monster-hunting RPG isn’t just about the character you create. It’s about the team of characters that you assemble, who add their own complexities, skillsets, and perspectives to the storyline and battlefield alike. Unlike other open world RPGs, your quests are highly collaborative, and building relationships with the characters in your party unlocks materials for new weapons and allows you to control (to a certain extent) your teammates in battle. It’s this party-building gameplay – rather than the storyline or graphics – that sets Toukiden 2 apart from other games of its kind.
You don’t have to have played Toukiden 1 to jump right in. At the beginning you find yourself trapped out of time with a large chunk of your memory missing (which turns out to be pretty convenient, since it gives other characters an opportunity to explain everything as it happens). Story-wise, it takes a while to get going. There’s a fair bit to learn – acquiring skills, making weapons and armor, Mitama (guardian spirits that give you power), local politics, communicating with your party members, and, of course, the Demon Hand, which is essentially a really decked-out grappling hook and one of your primary weapons.
In fact, the storyline in general is fairly so-so. But it’s intriguing enough to get you invested, and really what it’s all about is mustering the most complex, spectacular combo possible against Oni (monsters) 10 times your size. And they can get pretty spectacular. By creating new weapons, unlocking new attacks, smartly playing your skills and Mitama, and collaborating with your team, there’s an almost endless combination of evasive and attacking moves. One complaint I have about combat is that if you don’t switch up your weapons and try new things, it can get a little monotonous, and sometimes your party-members are almost a little too good, leaving little for you to do. But overall, perfecting cool moves, discovering new combos, and taking down gigantic Oni in a cartwheel of knives is pretty satisfying.
The other thing that makes Toukiden 2 stand out is its open world. Rather than being transported to a small area to complete specific missions (as in Toukiden 1), you are free to explore and pick whichever side “tasks” you please. It doesn’t feel quite as big as other free roam quest-based games like Skyrim or The Witcher, and that’s partially because of the number of side quests (there aren’t a lot and they tend to be pretty similar) and partially because of a deadly poison in the “Otherworld.” This miasma gives you only a limited amount of time to explore before your poison bar fills up and you die. Which puts a bit of a hamper on adventuring.
Overall, however, the open world is a vast improvement on the first Toukiden’s limited maps. What’s more, the characters are unique and interesting, the battles and weapons are satisfyingly complex, and the game’s collaboration and relationship building is a cool touch.
I rate this game 7/10 points.
Watch the Toukiden 2 Gameplay Trailer:
Toukiden 2 is now available in North America for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Windows PC via Steam.