Toukiden 2 is the third instalment in the Toukiden series published by Koei Tecmo and developed by Omega Force. Following on from the themes of the first game and Kiwami, Toukiden 2 hurls you into a world full of demons known as Oni with the land wrecked with Misama. Only a few bastions have survived, your character being a part of the Slayers, a group of fighters who take down the local Oni and protect the civilians.
Thrusting you into the deep end, you start the game off creating your character and rushing into the prologue mission. Taking down some Imp demons, your character is tasked with securing a port town of Yokohama, ending with a big boss fight. Your boss comes running in, giving commands to his forces of Slayers, a taskforce working in the shadows for years only showing themselves now that the Oni have appeared.
Suddenly a gate tears open in the sky, Oni heads pouring out and our character being dragged into the portal itself. Hurled through time and space we awaken 10 years into the future in the town of Mahoroba, ridden with Amnesia to everything before the attack on the port town. Teaming up with the local professor and Slayers, our character aims to regain their memory and hopefully return home, whilst dealing with the ever present Oni threat.
Like many games that include Amnesia, Toukiden 2 does little to get you invested in the campaign or characters, being mostly one-dimensional and boring archetypes. You are given choices every so often, either playing the fool or being strong, along with picking sides with either the Guards or Samurai. The story is mostly told while partaking in “kill X enemies” missions, Japanese dialogue going off in the background between characters and talks within the town.
Toukiden 2 keeps to its hack n slash styles, with Square for light attacks and Triangle for heavier ones, combining them for combos. Circle is used for weapon specific attacks, like a tornado from twin daggers or Iaijutsu strike with a single sword. X is used for dodging around and R2 for the new Demon Hand that pulls you in closer to the enemy. As you fight you will obtain money, materials and new Mitama.
Mitama are souls you can link to your main character, improving your stats, changing your evasive skill into a revive skill, defence buff or area effect, changing your attack skill into a boost to yourself and allies. Mitama grow as long as they are equipped, increasing the damage of attacks, the boosts their give and their cooldowns.
Similar to Mitama you can equip your character in varying pieces of armour, improving defence and elemental resistances. Weapons are just as numerous with 11 different types to choose from and drastically different weapons within those styles. You can find these within chests in the open world or craft them at the blacksmith. You can also improve your equipment by refining them with materials.
Toukiden 2 doesn’t contain any real levelling system, aside from improving your Mitama. You have to rely on your equipment and skills to get you through the battles, similarly to games like Monster Hunter. Thankfully it plainly tells you where to go to grind for materials and items, speeding up the improvement segments, along with employing Machina to gather materials for you over time.
Overall thoughts and feelings
The music in Toukiden 2 is very fitting for the environment, events and style, flowing from oriental style tunes to energetic rock like song for battles and bosses. It is always playing, morphing from one style to the next depending on where you move to perfectly. I didn’t notice it dropping or looping badly and it never once fell into the background, playing an ample part in the experience of the game. It did become somewhat “anime” in its delivery when it came to comedic moments or the bath house scene that is prevalent in plenty of Japanese media.
Sadly Toukiden 2’s lack of progression is its main fault with me, as a solo player you will find it a long process to complete missions but when teammates are added you can just leave them to do most of the fighting. When it comes to bosses it is a repetitive experience, striking over and over in hopes you break off a body part and trying to cleanse it before it disappears or you get hit again. Going back to fighting these boss monsters later on doesn’t feel any faster, unless you’ve created weapons and armour vastly superior, having to fight them for the materials themselves is even more boring.
While Toukiden 2 offers tons of customisability, from its character creator, blacksmith tools, Machina upgrades and farming, Tenko raising, dialogue options and weapon styles the individual mechanics feel unrefined. It takes a while before you notice a big jump in power or combat styles, with plenty of systems being given to you within the first few hours but locking their better mechanics later into the story.
Overall Toukiden 2 gets a 7/10, it adds and improves plenty of its systems and gameplay, but something about this release just didn’t sit well with me. It becomes boring after the first few hours, resorting to just a button mash against enemies with high HP and contains plenty of flashy mechanics that lose their lustre quickly. The story is cliché, combined with its characters and fills you with a sense of déjà vu. Toukiden 2 feels like it would be better housed on handheld consoles rather than home ones. Fans of the series will still like this release, but newcomers might want to stay away.