Published on September 16th, 2009 | by Aykut D.0
Review: Muramasa The Demon Blade
The Wii’s library has admittedly been lacking in regards to unique 3rd party games, in a sea of family oriented casual games Muramasa really stands out and shows what the Wii is capable of. Developed by Vanillaware, Muramasa takes players to a visually stunning world where players take control of two characters: the amnesia-stricken warrior Kisuke and ninja princess Momohime. At its core the game is a 2D sidescrolling action/adventure game similar to Super Metroid and Castlevania, however Muramasa does an excellent job of distinguishing itself from the crowd of other sidescrollers.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the game is that it’s visually beautiful, the game takes 2D graphics to an entirely new level of detail and design. Through out the game you’ll travel through open meadows, lush forests, dark caves, and everything in between, although some backgrounds repeat occasionally it never feels stale, there’s plenty of variety in game’s settings and you’ll always be looking toward the next level and its gorgeous setting. From a technically stand point the game also shines, every little detail is sharp to the point you would think it was in full HD, this is how 2D graphics should be done.
Sound is also an aspect Muramasa excels in, although some gamers might be turned off by the japanese voice overs, it seems like the developers made the right choice here. The voice overs fit very nicely with the setting of the game, and add a level of authenticity to the experience, it very much feels like you’re playing through a japanese epic. The music also blends in perfectly with the setting and gameplay, ranging from the calm melodies in the open fields to exciting sounds during a boss battle, the music in Muramasa works incredibly well.
The gameplay is where Muramasa begins to lose some depth, the fighting is fairly formulaic and although there are some RPG elements it most likely won’t be enough for more hardcore gamers. At its core Muramasa’s gameplay is simple: obtain the blades to reach new areas of the game. Of course the game adds variety along the way including challenge rooms where players are pitted against really tough enemies, like spirits and samurais. This is already on top of the hordes of enemies who’s job it is to stop you at every chance they get. However with the help of your blades you’ll be able to cut through these enemies and with some style to boot, the fighting mechanics are fairly simple with your usual attack and blocking abilities. The game does get more complex as you progress, with different blades having different strengths you have to carefully consider what to take with you since the game only allows you to carry 3 swords and 1 accessory at a time. The boss battles are also worth mentioning, each fight puts you against a very tough opponents especially on the harder difficulties, however this makes the boss battles feel like boss battles. While many games today seem to water down their bosses, Muramasa’s boss have little mercy for you and will definitely force you to think and act quickly.
Overall Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a welcome addition to the Wii’s library, the game’s visuals are beyond anything else on the console and alone makes the game worth a look. Some might not find the combat interesting enough, especially in the beginning of the game but for those who like the gameplay there’s plenty to do, with an almost 20 hour story and 108 blades to get this can keep you hooked for some time. Muramasa is definitly worth checking out.
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