Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Review

posted 9/8/2009 by Matt Mirkovich
other articles by Matt Mirkovich
One Page Platforms: Wii
What is there for a story is pretty solid. You have two characters, a male ninja named Kisuke, and a princess named Momohime. Kisuke has lost his memory, and is believed to be dead after a betrayel, yet is alive much to the surprise of the ninja who are hunting him down. His story will reveal his past and ultimately determine the fate of those he loves. Momohime's story is equally compelling and slightly less clichéd. Her body has been possessed by an evil swordsman whose blade was intended for her lover's life. She intervened and was pierced by his blade, and in the process became the victim of a soul transfer ritual, which has allowed the evil swordsman to control her. Both characters are searching for the demon blades, one hundred and eight blades created by the great sword-smith Senji Muramasa. The story plays out in typical RPG fashion, you battle your way to a boss battle, slight exposition of story, boss fight, more story, lather, rinse, repeat. This happens for eight chapters, and overall, you'll spend about thirty hours to completely finish the game for both characters, get all their endings and find all of the blades.

Now the biggest linchpin to this entire game falls on the battle system. This really is where the game will be a must buy or a pass for you, the dear reader. Combat can happen pretty much anywhere, aside from zones where other NPCs reside, anywhere else is fair game for you to be attacked. Once attacked your character will go in to their attack mode. From here, combat is a matter of timing button presses of the A button and combining that with directions on the nunchuck remote. All movement is on the nunchuck, even jumping, which takes a few moments to get used to. I must say I am also exceedingly happy that there is no waggle to be found in this game.

Now lets say for example you chose Muso mode for difficulty. Basically your holding down the A button allows you to deflect attacks and perform special attacks that are meant to destroy enemy blades, or launch your opponent in the air, it all depends on the direction you're moving the nunchuck analog stick. It's a system that is incredibly easy to pick up, but to get insane combo strings, it's going to take a lot of work. It's going to take even more work if you switch over to Shura mode, where basically if you are moving, you're free game to suffer from an attack, whether you are holding the A button or in the middle of an attack. Again this is where the strategy of using your secret arts and quick draw attacks comes in to play and also makes the use of items a much more strategic affair. The only major downside to all of this is how the two characters play exactly the same. In Odin Sphere, each character was fairly different and had different abilities, but in Muramasa you're stuck with the same characters and weapons, with just a palette swap and story being the only difference.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a title that is going to be hotly contested as either a bland piece of garbage, with a shallow battle system and pretty graphics holding the rickety beast together. Or you're going to have people like me who found it an absolute blast to play. I seriously could not put this game down, and when it was over I wanted more, and thankfully there was another fifteen hours of gameplay after getting my first ending. I found the graphics to be breathtaking and they exceeded my already lofty expectations set forth by trailers. To me the price of admission was well worth it for the game, but I'm also in a very vocal minority of Nintendo Wii owners. I own pretty much every game that is geared towards a “core” gamer, and this title was right up my alley. I must say, do whatever you have to to get this game in your hands, something minor to note, Marvelous Entertainment only did one pressing of this game in Japan, and now it is very difficult to find, so make sure at the very least you attempt to experience this game, if not just for the visual 2-D perfection that Vanillaware has lovingly crafted. I implore you do not miss Muramasa: The Demon Blade, you'd be missing out on one of the greatest titles for Wii, ever.


A-
Muramasa: The Demon Blade is already destined to garner a cult following, and I feel it deserves better. This title should be embraced by all Wii owners, don't let this one pass you by



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