Short Version: It’s really good! I never thought that I would enjoy myself so much with a Monster Hunter-style game like this one, but I truly did. The game’s likable characters, along with the awesome soundtrack, fun gameplay and the open world style turns it into an addictive experience that I still haven’t had enough of. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys playing games that involve hitting big things until they fall over, then this is definitely the game for you.
Long Version: It is always a challenge to distinguish the good Japanese monster hunting games from the boring ones. In essence, they’re all the same, but they each carry specific elements that allow them to stick out from the rest. At times, it can range from an entirely new mechanic in the genre to simply having good graphics or production value. I would place Toukiden 2 in the latter category. It doesn’t do anything particularly new, but it was very hard for me to not have a good time throughout. I wasn’t captivated by one particular selling point or gameplay segment, but rather the entire product as a whole. All aspects of the game acting as a number in an equation that makes the end result feel cohesive and engaging in a way that many other hunting games don’t.
Put Your Demon Hands Up!
Toukiden 2, as the name implies, is a sequel to the original Toukiden. You do not need to know anything about the previous games to know what’s going on here, but any prior knowledge on the series helps you in knowing what to expect. To keep the story very simple, it’s essentially about humans fighting monsters called the Oni, and that’s pretty much it. You play as a customizable protagonist who gets sucked into an Oni portal, leaving you stranded 10 years into the future with no idea as to what happened when you were gone. After a professor and her robot assistant find you, they take you to their village. Here, you begin your journey to get to know everyone in the village and grow your power once more in order to defeat the humanity-destroying Oni.
This brings me to one of my favorite parts of the game: I absolutely love the characters in Toukiden 2. It usually takes some time for me to grow to like characters in games, but not here. Everyone here is either immediately likable or interesting. Of course, some characters are more developed than others, but they all get their own special moments that make them more memorable. The biggest reason for why I continued to play the main story over the side missions was simply to see my team of people talk and interact with each other. In addition, the voice acting and overall sound is top notch, adding even more enjoyment to the dialogue and atmosphere.
The Other World
I’m not entirely sure if this is common among monster-hunting games, but this one contains a big open world to explore. I like this, since it makes everything feel a lot more real. Aside from teleporting, there are almost no loading screens when exploring around the map, which makes entering and leaving establishment smooth as butter and adds to the immersion of setting out to hunt monsters.
Speaking of hunting, the gameplay is fairly simple, but still pretty fun and full of options. For starters, your strength is based on the kind of equipment you have, rather than something more akin to a leveling system and experience points. There’s a large amounts of weapons you can use such as swords, axes, spears, gauntlets among a ton of others. In addition, you can also equip a set of Miitama for extra perks. These are spirits of ancient warriors that can grant you abilities such as increased offense or defense. However, depending on what slot you equip them on, it’ll give you different kinds of benefits. This allows for massive amounts of variety and customization, preparing you for all kinds of enemies and situations.
Deus Ex Machina
Finally, you also have one more tool called the Demon Hand, which is essentially the same as those cool vine arms from Freedom Wars. You can use it as a slingshot or as a cool weapon for punching monsters. At the end of the day, it all boils down to hitting big monsters over and over until they fall over. Some people might say that this is boring, but this is only true if you decide to play it this way. Most of the fun will come out of being creative with all the gear and Miitama that is available to you, which isn’t even including all the partners you can recruit to fight with you. The more you dig around and find new ways to fight, the better your experience will be.
Overall, Toukiden 2 is awesome. As I said, it doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, but everything else that it does do is very well done. From the gameplay to the sound, graphics and characters, all of it was made with a lot of love and polish that kept me playing longer than I ever expected. Even if you’re not necessarily a fan of monster hunting multiplayer games, I still think this is good enough to check out. I played this entire time by myself and had a great time with just enjoying the characters alone. I say you give it a go.