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Toukiden 2
Score: 74%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: KOEI TECMO America Corp.
Developer: Omega Force
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Action

Graphics & Sound:
Have you ever stopped to think about a group of elite demon slayers who keep the normal people safe by sacrificing their lives to keep the demons at bay? Neither have I, until I played Toukiden: Kiwami. Toukiden 2 lets you resume your demon slaying task, so long as youíre prepared for one hell of a journey.

The graphical style of Toukiden 2 is pretty similar to Toukiden: Kiwami. All characters in the game receive their own model and you even get to customize your own to your liking. Everything has a realistic look to it, and I feel this brings out more detail that will catch the playerís eye given the direction of the story. Not only that, but it makes the game overall aesthetically pleasing. I spent a great deal of time just taking in the lush environments and also messing around with my character, because full character creation is a dangerous thing in a game. Anyway, the graphics are pretty sharp and the game runs smoothly from my experiences with it, so no complaints there at all.

Listening to me talk about music tracks in a game probably gets redundant, but itís hard for me to find a game where I donít like the sound. Toukiden 2 isnít an exception. The soundtrack in this game sounds so majestic and regal, really befitting of the old feudal setting. If youíve ever been into an orchestral performance, youíll probably get that feeling from listening to many of the tracks featured in Toukiden 2 and I love every bit of it. Music aside, the voice acting also caters to my taste since itís entirely in Japanese. It really adds emotion to the game and its story in a way that English voice acting might not be able to, and we also get subtitles for everything, so we donít miss out on a thing in terms of story.


Gameplay:
Toukiden 2 features pretty similar gameplay to its predecessor. Players start off by creating a character to their own tastes. Once you finish creating your character, however many days later, you take control of that character and head off to adventure. You are a slayer, and this means your job is to slay demons. Unfortunately, you arenít some kind of super hero or otherworldly being. Youíre a normal human who just so happens to be able to purify demonic energy. Sure, you can take a hit, but the Health gauge at the top of the screen shows exactly how many hits you can take. Once it runs empty, thatís the end of it. Underneath the Health gauge is the Stamina gauge which depletes when you perform certain actions such as sprinting and refills over time. Thereís also a mini-map in the top right corner so you donít lose your way.

If you want to stay alive, and I think we all do, then you should get briefed on combat basics. The Left Stick allows you to run around and the Right Stick allows you to control the camera. You can also control the camera with the D-pad. Movement is only the first part of the battle. If you canít move, youíre a sitting duck for enemy attacks. You also should know how to retaliate, which you can do with the (Square) and (Triangle) buttons. These are your light and heavy attacks, respectively. Tapping either one in a series will allow you to perform a combo. Pressing the (X) button allows you to evade. The (Circle) button allows you to perform a special ability generally exclusive to the weapon youíre wielding. Weapon combos are important, but also check out their specials and find the right fit for you!

The main hub of Toukiden 2 is the quaint village of Mahoroba. Youíll find a blacksmith who can create, fortify, or reforge weapons and armor for you. Youíll need materials to create and reforge equipment, but youíll get some nice weapons out of the deal. Besides, what else would you use all those demon parts for? Thereís a shop where you can buy and sell items, weapons, and armor, and a local runs the shrine and restaurant. At the shrine, you gain more information about hero spirits, and enjoy a meal while you do so. Lastly, the command center is where you can take on missions. It never hurts to be familiar with the village youíll be spending most of your time in, so get well acquainted with it.

The demons are interesting creatures in that they donít have traditional health bars, especially as they grow in size. Well, I mean, they do have health bars, but they deplete a lot faster if you methodically take out their body parts. Arms, legs, stomach, tail Ė the part depends on the demon youíre facing. You can check which parts are vulnerable by pressing the (R3) button and getting a glimpse of their being with your trusty slayer powers. Try not to get too much of a glimpse, thoughÖ

Itís dangerous to go - Ok, ok I wonít make the reference. A little help goes a long way and thankfully, Toukiden 2 gives us a little hand on the battlefield. The party members with you will be shown underneath your name in the top left corner of the screen, along with their health and stamina bars. Theyíll do what they can to aid you in battle and you can even issue commands by pressing the (L2) button and selecting something via the D-pad. You can assign specific commands to a specific party member by pressing the (R1) or (L1) button or just give general commands to everyone.


Difficulty:
Toukiden 2 doesnít feature the traditional difficulty settings. When you begin, youíre thrown straight into the game to start experiencing the story. The difficulty escalates as you progress or unlock higher missions. It starts off easy and tame to allow players to get a feel for the gameplay and different mechanics of the game, but that honeymoon period doesnít last forever. The game never gets too difficult, however. Youíll mostly encounter harder to kill demons or multiple difficult demons at once. Even if you do mess up, youíre given at least three retreats on mission to try again before the mission is deemed failed for that attempt. You also have your teammates backing you up, so the game doesnít ever get too frustrating. Thatís a nice change of pace, considering a lot of games let you die in one hit. Not pointing any fingers or anything, though. You games know who you are.

Game Mechanics:
Just because weíre in a simpler time doesnít mean we have to live as savages. Say hello to your new Demon Hand! Well, that name might not make it seem like weíre much more than poor peasants in a simpler time, but itís a useful tool regardless. The Demon Hand is a small device forced upon us - err, I mean, given to us for testing. By pressing the (R2) button, you can shoot a literal demon hand at enemies and make quick work of them. On smaller enemies, youíll fling over their head while tossing them about, but larger enemies will simply laugh at your feeble attempts to toss them around. Instead, youíll inflict some serious damage on one of their body parts. Who knew science could be so useful with demon slaying?

Killing demons isnít just doing a service for the people youíre trying to protect. Youíre also doing a service to those who have already passed, but may not quite have found their way to the other side yet. Mitama are the spirits of fallen heroes from ages passed who have been devoured by demons. You may come across some as youíre taking down the big baddies. Free them and theyíll aid you in your journey. Each Mitama provides some type of boost to your combat abilities and you can equip different ones to get different effects. Some may provide a nice offensive boost, while others may boost your defense or speed. Equipping the Mitama also provides you with special abilities you can use in combat, such as heals or boosts to your attack or defense. Completing certain conditions will also activate the Mitamaís evasion skill, which will make you sturdier or more nimble in combat. Combat isnít only who has the best armor and weapons, but also the stronger spirit. Even if you donít have that, just let a spirit tag along with you. It counts too, you know.

Toukiden 2 isnít a super update from the previous game, but it does feature some nice new features that make it a fun experience, for newcomers and veterans of the series alike. Combat isnít too different from the previous game and is pretty simple to understand, not requiring complex skills or understanding of complicated mechanics to be decent at it. The story is refreshing and is pretty appealing in general. I was quickly sucked in by it, wanting to know what would happen at the next turn. If you werenít a fan of the first game, Toukiden 2 may not make you a believer in the series, but if youíre looking to get into it or were a fan of the first game, then definitely considering picking this game up.


-SS-54, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ren Plummer

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