Gaming Today Reviews Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Before I start on this review, I want to make something clear: I don’t normally use my Wii. After all, once the novelty of the machine wore off, the only reason it ever gets turned on is so my wife can use Wii Fit. The main reason is that I haven’t found any games that can hold my interest.
So you can imagine that I was a bit incredulous when I got a copy of Muramasa: The Demon Blade to review. Sure, I knew the game had won all sorts of ‘Best of E3′ awards, but I was still not sure about it. I sat down and started playing, and I found myself really enjoying the game.
Muramasa is a classic, side-scrolling action RPG. This first thing that hits you when you start the game is the look and feel. If you played Odin Sphere on the PS2, you’ll recognize the style, and you’ll be impressed. The graphics aren’t 1080p, or high-def, but they are endearing and attractive. The graphics are more like living art than what you’d expect from a video game.
You can choose from two characters, Momohime and Kisuke. Each story has its own campaign, but the two do intersect. Momohime is being controlled by a demon that possesses her sword, and Kisuke has lost his memory and is on the run for something he’s not even sure that he did.
The actual combat is smooth and flowing, as you draw your sword to fight enemies that randomly appear. Combat also requires you to manage multiple combo attacks while also using health items and special attacks. One of the more interesting features is that the swords (you can have three of your choice equipped at any time) you use are taking damage as well. Parrying and repelling attacks causes your swords to take damage, and once a sword has taken too much damage, it will break. To combat this, you can switch between your equipped swords on the fly, or use potions that will heal the blade.
Collecting blades is a core mechanic of Muramasa. There are 108 swords in all, and you gain the ability to forge swords early on. The fact that each sword has its own special ability means that you can benefit from having certain swords equipped to take advantage of different weaknesses in your enemies.
Boss battles in Muramasa have a nice random element in them. While the bosses retain the same abilities each time you fight them, the same boss may use its abilities at different times in the same fight. Unfortunately, the difficulty of bass battles fluctuates wildly, especially between the two characters. I had little trouble with bosses when playing as Kisuke, but Momohime’s bosses are much more challenging.
Completionists among you will find a ton of gameplay here. Beating the game through with both characters takes about 15 hours, but you could eaily double that time if you want to finish collecting all the items, forging all the swords, and beating all the challenge caves. Not only that, but beating the game a second time can yield a different ending, making the effort worthwhile.
All in all, Muramasa presents an excellent game for Wii fans. If you own Nintendo’s console, you should definitely own this game. It’s arguably the best third party title yet published for the Wii, and worth a purchase. One word of warning: the game has retained its original Japanese voice tracks, so if you don’t like subtitles, that may be a turn off for you.
Gaming Today gives Muramasa an 8.5.