Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a great excuse to slash ninjas with giant swords. It's fun and addictive with lots of content, but problems hold it back from greatness. Muramasa includes two stories as you play both Kisuke and Momohime who have various issues revolving around swords and demons. You'll collect blades, forge new ones and level up each character in unique storylines with their own bosses. There are also monster lairs to explore and several rewards, like alternative endings and more powerful weapons, for playing through each story a second and third time. It's quite a lot of content, giving you over 20 hours of play in a side-scrolling action title. I'm actually glad to see 2D side-scrollers making a comeback and Muramasa makes the most out of the format. The art style looks like a silk painting, the battles have style and the action is fast. However, problems abound. Combat controls revolve around the A button and the analog stick, which makes pulling off maneuvers tricky as the analog also controls your movement and jumping. Aerial combat is even more cumbersome, making it overly difficult to accurately attack flying enemies. The game relies heavily on random battles which are frequent and repetitive. Your blades will break often, leaving you vulnerable and struggling to switch to another. Unfortunately, switching weapons and pulling off special moves is not instantly responsive. There is far too much backtracking in the game, mostly because there are no warps until the first time you finish the game. Through all these notable flaws, the game remains easy to pick up and play, entertaining in it's execution and deep enough to hold your interest. It's the kind of throwback title that reminds you why the side-scroller should never go extinct.
Beautiful but Extremelly Shallow and Uninteresting
posted by Bugbear (MILLINGTON, MI) Oct 28, 2009
Member since Oct 2009
gamers (50%) found this review helpful
This is one of the best pieces of 2D art ever created, but following the old cliche that the Japanese tend to often follow, "You can't have a pretty cake and have fun eating it too."
...Maybe that's not how the saying goes, but it's close enough.
The game starts by throwing you into a drawn out, very boring tutorial. This made me sigh from the first minute into the game. The controls are simple, and could be eased into the player over the course of an interactive tutorial like most good games do. Instead there's a 5-10 minute tutorial with lots of reading and nothing interesting. A Terrible way to start a game.
As mentioned, the controls are simple... too simple. The most "skill" this game takes is guarding a lot and knowing when to spam the attack button. I personally found "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" (SSBB) to take a significantly larger skill set than this game; those who have played SSBB know that isn't saying much. Each sword you equip has a "unique" spell. Unfortunately the uniqueness is only name deep, since all the spells basically do the same thing: A fancy sword dance or some randomly flashy destructive magical spell. There's not much decision required in using them, since they're all just damage skills with no repercussions or situational bonuses for using the "correct" ones.
Even though this is a piece of art to go down in video game history, it was often distracting to look at. I found my attention constantly focused more towards the overly detailed background art than on my character and the action. I especially found the 5 to 10 layer parallax backgrounds to be overkill, since there was more movement going on with the background layers when i stepped forward than was ever going on with my character. The often overly detailed and flamboyantly colored enemies did not help as well.
There's a lot more negative things I could say about the game, and not much positive other than lots o' pretty pictures. I'm out of space to write more though.
gamers (20%) found this review helpful
Don't be fooled by the graphics. This game has a very shallow combat system. God of War this is not. You'll be doing a lot of button mashing to kill repetitive enemies. Normally, a great storyline could save a game like this. However, this game's plot is not understandable by anyone who doesn't know a great deal about Buddhism. I myself was lost within minutes. The game itself is not bad, just repetitive for the most part. The boss battles and portrait-like vistas are the only saving grace. Rent/buy it only if you're a hardcore beat-em-up game fan.