Omega Force and Koei Tecmo’s Toukiden 2 is honestly, pretty alright. It’s a Monster Hunter-style action game and pretty much lives up to expectations on the whole JRPG front – it’s rather formulaic and can be a bit punishing in terms of difficulty, but overall is good.
The biggest problem for me with the first Toukiden, and several other Monster Hunter clones, was that it never really built on the genre. There wasn’t much new there. Toukiden 2 has at least learned a few things about updating the genre and honestly, is a pretty solid jump-on point. The story of Toukiden 2 may take place two years after the events of Toukiden, but the important thing to know is that it’s been a decade since the “Awakening” where Oni (demons) have appeared to destroy mankind. Your job as a Slayer is to kill as many as you can, simple, right?
Toukiden 2, like other hunting games, is pretty simple when you get down to the basic mechanics: fight monsters, pick up items, use those items to craft gear, wash, rinse, repeat. Omega Force though, decided to change things up a bit, and that’s what makes Toukiden 2 far better than it’s predecessor.
Toukiden 2 has an open-world map for the single-player story mode, which is relatively new for the Japanese monster hunter genre, but it works more like an open world map in an MMO where all there is outside of the hub town are monsters to fight rather than a massive sandbox like The Witcher III or Skyrim.
That hub town is also a new feature, and makes picking up quests a lot more interesting than just selecting them off a menu. The fast travel points also make things a bit easier. My main problem with the massive map is that, well, most of it looks pretty much the same. The world looks pretty good for what is essentially a cross-generation game, yes, but nothing really distinguishes each area from the last aside from some of the enemies you might find there.
You’d think that open-world map would make for some awesome multiplayer, but any multiplayer you get up to in Toukiden 2 is restricted to specific missions that take place in cordoned off sections of the open world map. It would be awesome if we could roam around the open world with friends, but that does take it a bit more in an MMO direction than I think Omega Force wanted.
As for the gameplay, well, it’s a lot like Dynasty Warriors, but that depends on which weapon type you’re using. There are 11 different weapon types in Toukiden 2, and depending on which type, you might be able to button-mash your way to victory. Some weapons require a bit more skill so you can play however you want, really. Which is kind of nice. Just, don’t expect the rifle or bow to work like they would in a shooter. Ranged weaponry is more about timing than about your ability to place a crosshair.
There are a few other changes to Toukiden 2, like Joint Operations which bring you in contact with other online players, a grappling hook-like Demon Hand which makes pulling monsters to you quite a bit easier, and you get helpers. Some of those helpers are bots that can go gather things for you in real time, while the others are the magical foxes called Tenkos which can join you in battle. Honestly, with the Joint Operations and open-world, Toukiden 2 might have done better as a pseudo-MMO like Destiny. But that’s not really something the Japanese market seems to be into, so I can’t really fault Omega Force for not going in that direction.
Another weakness is the game’s storytelling. Because it’s a cross-generation game, the cinematics are a bit… restrictive. There aren’t that many character animations and not all of the dialogue in game gets subtitled, leaving you missing out on some of your teams banter. The world-wide release of Toukiden 2 was clearly an afterthought, and it shows.
Overall, Toukiden 2 is pretty alright. It’s fun and keeps you busy for a while, but it can get repetitive. The most interesting aspect of the game is that it does update the monster hunting genre a bit. If Omega Force continues the way they’ve been going, Toukiden 3 might end up having a bit better success in the western world.
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