Kiwami isn’t bringing Toukiden into a new age, but newcomers are going to find a lot to dig into.
The PlayStation Vita has, rather ironically, not led much of a life. Toukiden: The Age of Demons (review here) began life as a PlayStation Vita exclusive and one of several retorts to the massive Monster Hunter series, which is now comfortably sitting in Nintendo’s pocket. Once again coming to us from the good people at Omega Force, Toukiden Kiwami is yet another enhanced port, and while Kiwami brings a ton of new content to the table and makes the game available for home console, it’s plain as day where the threads of its ancestry run.
The setting is classic Feudal Japan, in an alternate history where a cataclysmic event has seen most of the country overrun by demon “Oni” and the last few bundles of humanity have banded together to defend themselves and carve out survival in the midlands. Your role is one of the “Slayers” who protect humanity, known colloquially as “demons who fight demons.”
"while Kiwami brings a ton of new content to the table and makes the game available for home console, it’s plain as day where the threads of its ancestry run. "
Of course, story is rarely at the forefront of these kinds of games, and has never been Omega Force’s strength anyways. Toukiden Kiwami is not the exception to this rule, and keeps most of its exposition to the side for those who want it. Don’t care how the Oni came about? You don’t have to. Slash away, young Slayer.
Creating your character feels a lot like every other Omega Force game, with several stock options, but little way to fine tune it to perfection. It does the job in a “close enough” way, but the choosy might want more. While getting started, you get to select from a variety of weapons that can slightly change the play style.
Kiwami introduces Firearms, Naginata and Kanabo classes of weapons to the mix, though like the other weapon classes, they mostly change the feel of combat and not the actual mechanics that drastically. A sword feels kind of like a club feels kind of like a naginata. Combos, speed and damage might differ, but you’re going to be dispatching Oni in the same fashion either way.
"A sword feels kind of like a club feels kind of like a naginata. Combos, speed and damage might differ, but you’re going to be dispatching Oni in the same fashion either way. "
The Monster Hunter comparison wasn’t offhanded in the slightest, and the inspiration becomes apparent from the first mission. From the four hunter team limit, to the weapons, to the segmented battlefield and frequent load times that comes with that, the line between being part of a genre and ripping off gets a little blurry here.
Toukiden Kiwami puts its style within the Warriors inspired combat, bringing in that special flare and viscerally enjoyable combat that makes the Warriors subseries so enjoyable. Dodging around the battlefield, cutting into Oni has an impact and a smoothness that Monster Hunter can’t quite compete with.
Mitama play a dual role of background story and power up loadouts in Kiwami. Mitama are the souls of heroes of past ages, eaten by Oni and provide different, equipable powers once obtained. Kiwami claims to double the number of these, and they all provide a slightly different set of abilities, all subdivided into a handful of categories like power, or speed.
"I would be more impressed with Omega-Force’s sheer output if any of it was new. Toukiden Kiwami still has very visible ties back to its PSP origins… "
Keeping a balanced set of these Mitama to switch between depending on mission requirements or just to fill a different role in a multiplayer team becomes a fun metagame in itself and it’s a simple matter to save favourites to easy loadouts you can select between missions
AI Slayers fill out your roster when not with human players, with some of the smartest AI I’ve played with. Perhaps too smart. The computer can play as well as most human players, and during my time with Toukiden I found myself leaving base with fewer team members than I could have brought, just to give me a better shot at fighting.
I would be more impressed with Omega-Force’s sheer output if any of it was new. Toukiden Kiwami still has very visible ties back to its PSP origins with presentation and controls. There is no extranous animation happening outside of battle, and story is presented with the rare CGI scene and a truckload of dialog.
"Kiwami keeps the control scheme [from the Vita] wholesale, with complete disregard for the back triggers or clickable analog sticks, and no options to stretch out "
Playstation 4 users are probably also going to find that Kiwami doesn’t do anything to take advantage of the extended options the Dualshock 4 can afford. Age of Demons felt slightly cramped on the Vita, but it was more excusable when it was trying to stretch less buttons. Kiwami keeps the control scheme wholesale, with complete disregard for the back triggers or clickable analog sticks, and no options to stretch out and give key functions like locking on and running their own buttons. I suppose it is conducive to remote play that way, but after games like Assassin’s Creed showed special button configurations for that, it’s hard to accept that it wasn’t just laziness.
Toukiden Kiwami is a fine Monster Hunter clone, with a few ideas it borrows from other Omega Force games that keeps it fresh. They definitely did not take the PS4 port and run with it, or any port for that matter. It feels like an expansion for an older game. A drastic expansion, but none the less, more porting from a company that could really benefit running with new ideas and technology. If you slept through the Age of Demons, Kiwami might be worth jumping in to. Otherwise you should probably give the demo a shot.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
Combat is fun and engaging, and the Mitama system is a great way to blend backstory with equipables. There is a ton of content here from a simple value proposition standpoint. AI is fantastic.
Shows its PSP roots a little too heavily, and you’ll probably wish more was done, particularly when it made its way to the PS4, which has needlessly cramped controls. AI might be a bit too powerful at times, getting in the way of you doing the killing.
Toukiden Kiwami is a solid expansion on Age of Demons, and a reasonable facsimile to Monster Hunter should the 3DS entry not be your bag. But it does need to be treated as the remaster it ultimately is, and really isn’t worth it for veterans.