Muramasa the Demon Blade


Muramasa reminds me of a time where game magazines felt the need to enounciate what a particular score for a game meant (sort of an oddity since the point of having numeric scales is that you should immediately know how well something compares to the gray mass of other somethings), in the sense that you always had the range where a game was generally good but also had a few really tedious parts that left a big stain on the rest of it. Muramasa defines this category as it does the fighting really well and has decent production values (2D games seldom look better), but the time traveling from one part to another is completely uninteresting. I guess, as was the case with Persona 4, that the tedium can serve to further highlight the good parts, but I will have to get back to that thought.

The game was made by Vanillaware, famous for Odin Sphere. Like Odin Sphere it has a rather complex fighting system and soul collecting mechanic for detailed leveling, unlike Odin Sphere it actually has platform game mechanics and a slightly less complex item system. While it still feels like a long trail of enemies between boss fights, the platforming challenges and light exploration at least make it more varied. And like Odin Sphere it looks very pretty – I do not want to discourage artistic experimentation but the classic anime-style art goes much better with the feudal Japan era Muramasa than it did with the western high fantasy Odin Sphere presented.

I liked Muramasa as it did the fighting very well, but as you kind of knew how the rest of the game was going to play after the first 10 minutes and the story consisted of a few short lines of dialogue before boss fights the incentives to keep playing were few. Vanillaware took a step in a direction to make it more varied than Odin Sphere so it will be very interesting to see if they keep doing this with their next game, although it would be interesting to see if they can improve the fighting even further as well.

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Posted on Mar 25/10 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »