Recently I had the pleasure of attending a European Exclusive hands-on event hosted by Koei Tecmo. It was held at a relaxing pub called The Square Pig, where they had a selection of games to play for the first time in Europe. At the event they had snacks, such as bite size burgers, as well themed cocktails. The snacks that were on offer were delicious and the cocktails were based on characters from the next Atelier game; Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey. There were four in total but my favourite was Plachta, which was a non-alcoholic pina-colada. The hosts were friendly, helpful, and a great laugh. Though you’re probably wondering which games were at the event!
They showed off Toukiden 2 which is the third main instalment in the Toukiden series. The game takes place two years after Tokukiden Kiwami, during the Awakening – where Oni have taken over the world and left it in ruins. You play as a Slayer, “A defender of mankind”, who in the middle of a fierce battle against a devastating Oni gets swallowed into a portal. Your character wakes up ten years later with no memory of what has happened or where they are. The game is very similar to that of its predecessors but with some new features, such as the Demon Hand which is used for fighting demons and travelling through environments. It hooks onto objects and demons to quickly close the distances or destroy certain obstacles, though when used against giant demons it can stun them, lock onto body parts or completely destroy these parts. At first it was difficult to get used to, as the aiming function can be a bit tedious – though if used from a distance it is a handy feature to engage in combat and close the distance between you and your opponent. The new faster running ability was really good because it made getting from A to B quicker and the animation when you come to a stop was cool. I got to use the new chain whip weapon and have to say that I loved it. The strong attack however was quite confusing at first but once I used it a few times it was really easy to use. There is also the sword and shield that has been added, though sadly I didn’t get time to try it out. I really liked how in-depth the character customisation is in the game, because in these types of games I’m the type of player that likes making an awesome looking character and I feel that Toukiden 2’s character creation does just that. I noticed while playing that there were medium sized demons, when I enquired this to one of the team they confirmed this and said that medium sized demons are now a thing and stand as a middle ground between the small and giant demons. I also enjoyed the new primary hub “Mahoroba Village”. Its layout is nice and simple, and it feels more open compared to previous hubs. It wouldn’t be Toukiden without the Tenko and I found out that in this game you can raise many of them, as well as giving them unique names! But that’s not all; if you manage to look after you little buddy then occasionally it/they will find items for you and follow you around. If you have never played a game in the series before, then it is similar to Monster Hunter but instead of killing monsters you’re tasked with killing demons. Toukiden 2 feels a lot more polished than Kiwami, and I enjoyed every second of the game I played.
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey
The next game I had the privilege of playing was the second instalment in the “Mysterious” saga of the Atelier series; Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey. The game follows the journey of Firis Mistlud, who has spent all of her life in a cut off town – but upon learning about Alchemy she decides to set off and discover the mysteries that life has to offer. The build that I played started just after Firis left her hometown and is setting off to the city of Reisenberg. At this point you were able to explore the environments and some of the locations, these straight away felt open and bigger than that of Atelier Sophie (Previous game in the series). You are now able to synthesise on the go without the need to journey back to your house. You can use bonfires in the world to pitch your Atelier Tent which acts as your Atelier! While speaking to the team I found out as well that these tents are customisable, so I can imagine when you have played the game after a while you can make it feel like home sweet home. I was able to explore the game’s world, as well as try out the new Catalysts synthesis system. Catalysts when placed into cauldrons offer more areas to place specific coloured items, which offer stronger enhancements to items if everything is place correctly into the cauldron. It’s a nice change to how the cauldrons worked in Atelier Sophie. The game was really enjoyable and felt very similar to that of Atelier Sophie in both its combat and Alchemy (apart from the new elements). I really enjoyed the big open areas and the idea that you’re going on a journey with Firis. The characters bounced off each other really well, and I can see this being another successful addition to the Atelier Series. So fans keep an eye out for this one!
Berserk and the Band of the Hawk
I managed to get my hands on Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, which also made an appearance at the event. It wasn’t one of the main games they were showing off, but it was definitely one of Koei Tecmo’s games that I have wanted to get my hands on. It follows the story of the popular manga and anime series, starting with the Golden Age Arc and ending with the Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc. The setting and characters are from the well known Berserk series by Kentarou Miura and it’s blended with the hack-and-slash gameplay of Koei Tecmo’s well known Warriors series. Personally I feel the gameplay suited Berserk to a T and would strongly recommend it to any Berserk fan, as well as Dynasty Warriors fans alike. I got to play the first level which was follows Guts when he first meets the Band of the Hawk. The gameplay was very bloody and gory which at first took me by surprise, but after a few swings of Guts’ massive great sword it just became second nature. Managing to fill up my frenzy gauge made the game even more epic. I was able to use frenzy mode that, when activated, strengthened Guts’ strength and did more damage to enemies. The fun didn’t stop there though, as while in frenzy mode I had a thing called the death blow gauge. Enemies that you defeat, while frenzied, drop lost souls and if you pick these up it fills the death blow gauge, Once filled, you’re able to perform a death blow attack. While in frenzy mode you can obliterate enemies and this can be done by cutting enemies in half or by sending them flying. If you can pull off obliterations then the enemies will drop larger lost souls that fill the death blow gauge quicker, The horse riding in the game felt off to me personally, and I found myself moving around and fighting more on foot than on horseback – but each to their own. From what I played I can honestly say Omega Force have created a Berserk game brilliantly and, like all their other titles, is very addictive and what we have come to love from their games.
The event was very enjoyable, and I loved every game that I got my hands-on. The Koei Tecmo team were very helpful and happy to answer any questions I had – as well as showing me what to do with some of the bits. We all went away with an amazing goodie bag which contained an artbook and the Original Soundtrack for Toukiden 2, as well as some very beautiful postcards based on Atelier Firis, written by Firis herself updating us on her journey. There was another title that was announced at the event, that I will be covering in another article very soon… so keep an eye out for it! For those that are wondering; when can I get my hands on these games? Berserk and the Band of the Hawk will be released on the 24th February 2017, whereas Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey will be available on the 10th March 2017, and Toukiden 2 on the 24th March 2017. These three games are definitely worth marking in your calendar! If you have any questions about the games please leave comments below and I will answer them.