Thursday, January 23, 2014

Toukiden Demo Impressions

Toukiden is pretty much Monster Hunter.

That's the brunt of it, really.  It's not surprising - all the media beforehand suggested as much - but it also manages to not be disappointing through some magic of tweaking the basics of the Monster Hunter gameplay mechanics.  Still, the skeleton, most of the muscle and indeed, some flesh that resembles Monster Hunter is present, even though it's got a convincing costume of something else on top of it.

That costume is good, however - Toukiden's aesthetic is fairly interesting despite carrying a lot of the browns one would expect from a Demon War-torn country, as that simply makes the more striking bits shine all the more.  The cutscenes are standard KOEI fare as well, which means they're incredibly nice to watch and easy to enjoy with how deceptively good they look.  And really, just the game itself looks pretty good from the character designs and outfits, to the weapon designs and the Oni themselves.  Even the canned faces and such that you get through Create-a-Warrior (which is your only way to have a character, rather than my initial thought of having a cast of characters to select from like most Warriors games) are fairly good-looking, though I use that from an aesthetic point of view, and not one from personal tastes.  More to do with the model, the look than my appreciation of them.

I suppose I should clarify that I'm no Monster Hunter expert - far from it - as my only real experience was playing the demo for one of the PSP games for three non-consecutive hours and not 'getting it', and then watching a friend stream hours of Monster Hunter 3 footage while also similarly not understanding it.  So I appreciate that there might be a difference in 'feel' and an overall difference in the experience because of that.  However, I also know what I see, and what I see in Toukiden is something that is very, very close to the same -thing- that Monster Hunter is.  The maps are the same segmented affairs in which there are monsters (and I assume they can eventually move between them).  Missions are handed out in the same way, with even the same weights of Important -> Not Important (but you need to do some to unlock the next) -> Important -> Chapter Close.  There's still a little town that you can meet up with others in, you can still gamble with getting buffs before missions, you can still upgrade and create weapons and armor and while that all seems generic, it all has the same approach to it that the comparisons between both games are inevitable.

The weapons are different, at least in most cases, and they offer a suitable amount of variety for the combat to keep you switching up at the very start until one just clicks.  I myself really really wanted to enjoy the Gauntlets as I love punching people, but they're the strongest base weapons in the game which means they have to have a disadvantage.  Of course, that disadvantage (quite bogglingly so, really) is that they're the slowest weapons in the game as well.  So then I went to the other extreme with the Twin Knives which I believe (though I'm not sure) are the fastest, but weakest base weapons of the group, and I'm enjoying that much more.  I find that I quite like really fast combat as opposed to slow, but strong.  I imagine maybe the Katana and the Sickle/Chain will offer that as well, but I haven't really tried them out.  There's a lot of ground to cover in the demo yet, which is a good thing as it really lets you sink your teeth into what the game will have to offer.

All in all, the game seems competent enough, perhaps even -good-, though that remains to be seen as I am giving this my maximum amount of skepticism because KOEI and Monster Hunter are both involved.  I've yet to see whether or not the 'purification' mechanic is a game-changer - essentially holding R next to a fallen foe or severed boss part to rid it from the world and sometimes give you an item - but I can't really imagine it being so which is really why I didn't bring it up in any big capacity.  I pre-ordered it, as I'm wont to do with just about everything that has the KOEI name on it, and I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy it, but how much is what remains to be seen.  I'm hoping for "a lot" personally.

why would you fight with giant weights on your hands, that just seems silly

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