Toukiden: Age of Demons Demo Hands-On: Don’t Cry For The Dead Devils…

After spending some time with Tecmo Koei’s Toukiden: Age of Demons, I can see why the game was the top selling PlayStation Vita game for 2013 in Japan. The combination of Monster Hunter and Dynasty Warriors plus veteran developer Omega Force’s expertise in creating some gorgeous visuals should help knock this one up the charts in North America and Europe when it launches in February. The demo does a solid job of getting you into the fantasy version of feudal Japan cooked up by the dev team, and the action is more deliberately paced and at times a good deal more tactical than the more free for all Musou style of play many are accustomed to. This is all a good thing, as the game should draw in a few players who want something deeper than the standard (but still fun) chase and chop action some are expecting…

While some elements are VERY similar to Dynasty Warriors (the on screen map, multiple enemies to engage, on the fly mission changes as you progress), the game doesn’t drop you into massive waves of monsters (at least as far as I’ve played). Even with the smaller enemy counts, those ghouls, goblins and eventually huge bosses you’ll go up against are a crafty bunch that love to gang up on you or try to rush you when you’re busy whittling down a few of their beastly buddies. Bosses are of the huge, brutal no joke variety and they have the ability to heal themselves if not taken down quickly enough (Eeek!). The good thing is your weapons and armor can be upgraded with money and assorted parts and material drops collected from monsters and for completing missions. In other words, that formidable looking sword, spear, ball and sickle, twin sword set, huge metal fists or gigantic bow can be beefed up to even more impressive levels.

In addition, you’ll also get a Mitama, or sort of spirit that can be attached to your weapon of choice. Each one allows for special abilities to be used that depend on the Mitama chosen. Weapons start with a single slot and sufficient upgrades can increase those slots, so replaying completed maps is one way to fast track your way to better gear. Better armor means better defense (of course), and given the fact that you’re often closer to danger than you’d like to be a stronger defense is indeed the best offense. Gameplay is more of the Monster Hunter school of slower weapons strikes with the heavier gear and faster ones with the lighter dual swords. Bows (the game’s only ranged weapons) are slow draw weapons with initially weak hits for both attack modes, but once a Mitama is attached and leveled properly, you’re going to be knocking down smaller creeps in a few hits with ease.

The targeting is a bit funky in the demo, as you need to babysit it a little if you overuse it (it locks onto an enemy but leaves you open to attack if there’s one closer to you), but there’s a handy dodge move that can get you out of a jam. Defeated enemies must be “purified” so those much-needed drops can be obtained for upgrades (and extra money if you need it). Drops are numbered as to rarity, so you’ll want to keep an eye peeled for higher numbers as those materials can be sold for nice amounts or used to upgrade or create some powerful gear. Like the DW and MH games, there’s an addictive nature to the game that hits you almost right away and keeps you going back in just to best a previous time and collect new goodies before you zip back to town to see what you can do with the stuff you’ve collected.

Visually, the game looks great overall, although I’d loved to see more destructible objects in the environments or destructible environments, period. Still, Omega Force knows what they’re doing, so I can’t complain too much. I do want to see how this looks on the PS3 just for comparison’s sake. My extreme curiosity is begging me to seek out the Japanese PSP version of the game just to have for the library. The videos I’ve seen certainly look impressive, but I know that in the US, the PSP is considered pretty much “dead” by SCEA, so that version has a snowball’s chance in hell of coming out. That’s to bad, as I could see it being a niche hit Vita owners who still keep a PSP around would snap up in a heartbeat if it were priced right. Heck, I have three PSP’s here and I’m poking around looking to see if this got a physical release just to grab at some point.

I haven’t touched the multiplayer yet, but I’ll dive online next week to see what’s what. I’m not going to hang out long on PSN as I don’t like relying on teammates who just want to bug me with questions, hog all the glory or just be jerks who drop out because they’re looking to ruin someone’s day. I play well with others, but prefer to do so in person more than online. February 11, 2014 is when this one rolls out and I’d say keep an eye on this one as it has all the makings of a sleeper hit or more as fans of Sony’s handheld or “old” home console pick it up and spread the word.

1 thought on “Toukiden: Age of Demons Demo Hands-On: Don’t Cry For The Dead Devils…

  1. Pingback: Toukiden Addendum: It’s Even Better News In This Soon To Be Hit… | "DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

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