Fans love to comment on what direction their favorite franchise should take. Countless people talk about how great a Pokemon MMORPG would be or how there should be an open world monster hunter game. In the case of Toukiden 2, the monster hunter series adds an open world element, showing fans what this would be like. With fearsome oni, a long story and a wild world to explore, is Toukiden 2 a dream come true of it is a reminder that some things sound better in theory?
Toukiden 2 starts with a war between a village and some oni. The village pushes them back, but one of the oni suddenly disappears and you’re sent 10 years into the future. In this village you need to build up your reputation as a hunter, solve the mystery of why you traveled/teleport around and fight against the oni. Even though there is a lot going on, Toukiden 2 doesn’t take this story anywhere unique.
Most of the adventure just highlights why you’re unique or focuses on the bond between your comrades. Things improve when it focuses on interactions instead of the overarching story, but even that has its moments. Towards the end the story includes some decent conflict, but nothing that really stands out.
Like most monster hunter games, the main appeal is working together to fight large monsters. This is where Toukiden 2 starts to shine. Unlike the first game, Toukiden 2 has three main gameplay modes. The first is your standard missions, which involve talking to an NPC, selecting a mission and then accomplishing the goal. From there, you can select another type of mission where you need to clear out multiple threats for a set number of floors or fight until you drop. Finally, there is a rather large world you can explore, complete missions and help your village prosper.
The open-world aspect of Toukiden 2 is certainly interesting. Once outside the village gates, you’re in a hostile world filled with small oni, events, collectibles, quests and even the occasional large threat. It can be a lot of fun running around, collecting materials, fighting or fleeing from a major threat, but the world is fairly bland.
As refreshing as the open-world aspect is, the average quest is little more than killing specific enemies, killing an enemy in a certain location or collecting something. These get old fast, especially since they don’t feel any different than playing normally. The other issue is a general lack of grinding.
Similar to Horizon Zero Dawn, there is little need to track down a specific enemy and kill them a bunch of times for specific materials. Almost every oni will drop what you need, provided you break and purify that part, with enough item variety and drops to make it possible to obtain a full set of armor in a single kill. To make things even easier, there is also an item you can find that can be used to substitute materials you lack. This material is fairly uncommon, but so is its use, making it a great way to get out of grinding.
These two elements make a lot of fights pointless, but there are still reasons to engage in combat. One of the biggest is making the world safer. As you take care of oni, purify stones and join in joint battles, the poisonous miasma starts to dissipate. This allows for more exploration, new shop items, additional allies to aid you in combat and more.
Even though the world can feel underwhelming at times, the newly added demon hand is a welcome addition. While the demon hand feels like it was design with a controller in mind, as you need to use the touchscreen on the Vita, it allows for a new way to fight and explore the world. For exploration, you can use the demon hand to get on high ledges, climb trees or clear obstacles. In combat situations it allows you to pick up things to throw or quickly jump/rush an oni, making fights much more exciting. With a full charge you can also use it to topple an oni and then it turns into a fist, sword or just grabs the beast, doing additional damage/breaking limbs.
Combat is also generally faster in Toukiden 2. Instead of fights lasting in the upwards of 10 minutes, many larger threats can be downed in two or three minutes with level appropriate gear. Obviously bad gear will take longer and good gear will take less time. The AI also does a good job of purifying and breaking parts, making the fight less of a hassle, especially offline. Best of all, smart tactics are rewarded with reduced threats. By constantly attacking specific parts, you can remove an oni’s ability to walk, attack or really be any sort of threat.
Toukiden 2 takes the series in an interesting direction, but it doesn’t seem to add much to the series. As nice as encounter large threats in the world is, it feels like they just added a bunch of walking between missions. Combine this with a fairly bland story, little need to grind and lackluster quests and you have an underwhelming experience. However, the combat can be quite engaging, especially if you try out the various weapons and the lack of grinding can be viewed as liberating to some. So, if you’re hoping for an open-world Monster Hunter, you’re probably going to be disappointed, but if you loved the original and wish it had a world to explore and or faster fights, give it a shot.
[Editor’s Note: Toukiden 2 was reviewed on PS Vita platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Toukiden 2 Review,