So, to start things off, why haven’t you played this game? Most likely, while you may have heard of it, or seen snippets of it, you don’t know much about it. Fair enough. I shall help you with that. Muramasa is the story of Momohime, the daughter of a local lord who was struck down by the evil Jinkuro while protecting the man she loves. Kisuke is a renegade ninja who lost his memory, including why he is deemed a renegade.
Well, now that the basic plot is out of the way, we can get to the meat of the game. Combat, in my opinion, is incredibly fun. It’s fast paced, interesting, and easy to learn, but difficult to master. You really only use two buttons, possibly three if you use each sword’s special ability. But, in the simplicity, there lies the joy. With one mere button, you can execute a bevy of moves depending on what you have equipped and what is going on around you. Roll, dash, slash, block, all handled with the B button quite flawlessly. Jumping, could be a bit easier. Hitting up on the analog stick or the d-pad takes some getting used to, for certain, but it never becomes too much of an issue.
Boss battles are a special joy all their own. In true Vanillaware style, the bosses are well designed, animated, and generally fuckall huge. Patterns exist, as all bosses have them, but they are generally more complex that most boss battles nowadays, making them a little more challenging. They require patience, for charging in headlong will earn you nothing but a Game Over screen.
Like Vanillaware’s other hit game, Odin Sphere, crafting is again important. This time, instead of a complex cooking system, it is simplified greatly, no longer requiring certain coins to make certain food. Most ingredients can be found, others simply bought. Recipes are collected from cookbooks, again that are found or bought. All food heals, obviously, and gives you spirit, which is used in swordmaking. Food can also give special abilities, such as lower encounter rates or extra xp. Swordmaking is simple, with a tree diagram showing what sword leads into others. I must admit, getting my hands on a new sword always made me smile, because I couldn’t wait to try it out. Plus, once you beat a story mode, you can use the swords from the other story mode in that one. Such as, Kisuke can use the swords that Momohime forges, etc. It adds a bit of replayability, which I will cover in a bit.
The overall story, in my opinion, is engrossing, but simple. Only a handful of characters exist for the story’s sake, which is good. It isn’t held back by an overwhelming cast that you barely hear from. Both stories, while separate, do tie into each other in different ways, which I would love to reveal, but then that would take away one of the main reasons for playing the game. There are three total endings for each character, but it honestly doesn’t matter which you do first. But, you have to beat the game with both characters for each set. As in, Beat the game with Momohime, then Kisuke, then you can access the second endings for both, and then the same for the third endings. But, you must have certain swords equipped for the final boss in order to trigger them. Also, as an added little bonus, you start off at the last save point before the final area. No need to replay through the entire game.
Overall, if you own a Wii, get Muramasa. The fast paced action is a nice draw, the well-written story is a definite plus. Even if you just rent the game, please do so. I promise you, all of you, that you will enjoy it. Though, I have come across some that absolutely hate it, though I have no idea why.