Also On: PS4
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force/Koei Tecmo
Medium: Digital/Disc/Vita Card
I can’t say I fully understand why Toukiden: Kiwami exists. Yes, I get that it has a little more content than the original Toukiden: Age of Demons that came out last year. And yes, I understand that by releasing it in both PS4 and Vita, instead of just Vita, it has the potential to reach a much larger…oh, wait. Okay, I get it now.
Not that I mind too much. After all, the original Toukiden was good — really, really good. So good that I almost definitely gave it far too low a review score a year ago. In fact, since it came out, I’ve found myself going back to it again and again, always looking to finish just one more mission or one more quest. I only just deleted it from my memory card a few weeks ago — not coincidentally, right around the time Toukiden: Kiwami came out and I was able to trade one for the other.
Is there a huge difference between the two? Not really. The fact this version contains the entire original game should clue you in to the fact that Toukiden: Kiwami is more Toukiden 1.5 than a full-on sequel. The general story — that you’re a mysterious warrior helping protect one of the last non-demon-controlled villages in Japan — is the same, as are the controls. There may be more demons, weapons, missions and characters this time around (apparently meaning there’s twice as much content here), but at its core, this game is all about the party-based monster hunting.
And that, of course, is the one thing most will recognize about Toukiden: Kiwami. It’s basically Monster Hunter, only with a enough changes to the basic formula that Capcom wouldn’t feel too litigious about it. Tecmo KOEI has essentially admitted as much, saying that they made a Sony-exclusive franchise because Monster Hunter had become exclusive to Nintendo systems.
I have to say, though, I kind of prefer Toukiden. Credit the presence of a second thumbstick, credit more interesting visuals, maybe even credit the fact that the monsters here look genuinely monstrous — whatever the reason may be, I find these games a lot more enjoyable than anything the Monster Hunter series has to offer. I realize that’s kind of heretical to admit, and I have no doubt that some may scoff, but what can I say? When you’re talking about games that are practically identical, simple, impossible-to-rationalize personal preferences can go a long way towards deciding why you like one instead of the other.
What’s much easier to rationalize, however, is this: Toukiden: Kiwami is unquestionably the best monster-hunting game the Vita has to offer. You can have your Freedom Wars or your Soul Sacrifice or your Ragnarok Odyssey. As far as I’m concerned, this one has the most enjoyable, easiest-to-understand gameplay by far. You see the monsters and demons terrorizing the village, you kill the monsters and demons terrorizing the village — none of this nonsense about dystopias or saving versus sacrificing. It’s incredibly addictive, and if you missed it the first time around (or you just want that extra bit of content), you owe it to yourself to pick it up.