Toukiden, the new PSP/Vita game from the Warriors maniacs at Omega Force, is more than just a copy of Monster Hunter. Instead of giant dragons and other Western-influenced bosses to defeat with your pals online, you're fighting the horrifying oni demons of Japanese folklore. Completely different.
As laid out in a preview published in this week's Famitsu magazine, the battles in Toukiden are quite a bit like MH's. You're fighting huge, powerful monsters, creatures that have to be taken down in multiple stages. Simply slashing away at them won't reduce their life at all; instead, you have to strategically damage their external body and/or destroy their limbs and other parts of their body. This brings them into what's called magatsuhi mode, exposing their life force on the surface of their bodies and letting you damage it directly.
Of course, even if you destroy a body part, your intrepid group of mononofu warriors has to purify and banish it. Fail at this and your foe will just regenerate the past, and it will have transformed into something new and more powerful, to boot. Something similar happens when you take off enough life force on certain bosses: they'll undergo a full transformation in their behavior, using the souls of past heroes they've stored in their bodies to go fully berserk.
How do you deal with all of this stress? Weapons help, and the Famitsu preview outlined weapons like a tachi (long blade) bow, large kote gauntlets and a neat-looking chain flail. More interesting, though, is the fact that you can take the heroic souls you rescue from the oni and fuse them with your weapon for extra offense, range-based healing, and other bonus effects. These souls, it turns out, belong to famous real-life figures from across Japan's long, chaotic history. Cameos outlined in the preview include 11th-century general Minamoto no Yorimitsu, 19th-century resistance fighter Hijikata Toshizo, and even Sei Shonagon, the medieval author of The Pillow Book and a lady who's apparently more into healing your HP these days.
Toukiden still has only a 2013 release window, but Tecmo Koei has announced that a demo will be available to Japanese PS Vita users sometime in early April.