Greetings wannabe Slayers, and welcome to what will hopefully be a helpful beginner's guide to Tecmo Koei's Oni slaughtering simulator. As we stated in our review, Toukiden: The Age of Demons may not be quite as demanding as titles of a similar nature like Capcom's Monster Hunter series, but there are still quite a few mechanics to wrap your head around, and there are certainly a few neat little tips that you'd only know about after playing the game for some time. As such, we've compiled several handy nuggets of information below for your perusal.
Don't worry too much about developing your ideal character
Given that the game allows you to choose between six different weapon types at the very beginning of your adventure, you may be stuck thinking that it's an important decision when it comes to defining your character – but it isn't. You can switch out to other styles of combat at any time outside of missions, as long as you own a weapon that's tied to that particular discipline. The same is true when it comes to equipping your Mitama a little later into the release. While it's best to augment your preferred playstyle with a suitable soul, remember that you can level up these historic warriors using Haku, of which you'll have plenty as you delve deeper into the title, so feel free to experiment with which technique layout that you like best.
Use your eye of truth regularly
When you're out in the field and hunting down demons, remember to make the most out of your eye of truth ability, which is activated by tapping the bottom right corner of the Vita's screen. Using it slowly drains your stamina, but it's usually worth the small cost as it highlights a lot of important bits of information that you'll otherwise be blind to. For starters, it allows you to see the health bars of enemies so that you can better estimate just how much damage you're doing with that shiny new sword. Secondly, using it when battling large Oni means that you'll be able to see each individual body part's state of damage in a colour-coded fashion – the more red a limb is, the closer it is to being lopped off. And finally, opening the eye of truth provides you with the ability to pick out rare hidden objects that are dotted around the map, which are sometimes necessary components when forging new gear.
Dodge, dodge, and dodge
Only those wielding gauntlets can block incoming attacks, but even then, you'll need to make constant use of your quick dodge roll throughout the game. Whether you're avoiding a devious back-stab from a lowly imp or you're a split-second away from being turned to mush by a giant harrowhalf's fist, mashing X to dive out of the way is bound to save your Slayer's life on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, some attacks can't be cancelled out of with a roll, so it's always best to practice with your chosen weapon so that you know when you can and can't get out of harm's way when the time comes. Of course, it's also best not to overdo it: drain your stamina down to a specific low level and you'll be unable to sprint or dodge until it refills.
Make good use of the village's facilities
Over time, most Toukiden players will no doubt begin to form a schedule as they go back and forth between the village and the monster-infested outside world. Understanding how to get the most out of the facilities on offer may take some time, but it'll be worth it when you're swimming in rare materials and gaining access to hidden secrets. Early on in the game, you'll get your very own Tenko – a cute little animal that you can send out into the world before each mission. After you've completed that task, it'll return to your home with a random assortment of items, and if you're lucky, you'll acquire something that's worth quite a bit of Haku. You might want to pay the settlement's tree a visit in between quests too, as offering it Haku will also net you some bits and pieces when you visit again afterwards. And keep in mind that although the village's merchant may not sell the best weapons and armour, he sometimes carries hard-to-find trinkets that may be just what you need when crafting your newest equipment.
Patience is a virtue
Getting casually swatted halfway across the battlefield by a huge rampaging Oni is probably enough to make even veteran Slayers lose their cool, but it usually isn't a good idea to go rushing back into the fray. From the mission structure to the weapon styles that are on offer, Toukiden is a methodically-paced title that rewards caution and patience, whether you're hunting down a sought after creature or trying not to get stomped on. When you're brawling with boss beasts, take the time to observe their attack patterns, and try to note their telling movements before they unleash each blow. Knowing your enemy is a vital part of survival when it comes to these epic clashes, meaning that it's critical to understand exactly when to strike, and when to roll away. As a general rule, it's best to base your fighting style around guerrilla tactics: go in for a few quick hits, retreat to a safe distance, then repeat. When your foe's grounded or you've hacked a leg off so that it can't retaliate for a time, move in for the kill and unleash a number of techniques at once in order to deal out some hefty damage. Initially, these colossal battles may become a little drawn out as a result, but in time, your experience will shine as you cut the abominations down one after another in quick succession.
Have you been besting beasties since Toukiden's launch, or are you still learning the ropes? Whatever your demonic kill count, help out by sharing your own tips and tricks in the comments section below.