Published on September 25th, 2009 | by Daniel David
Muramasa: The Demon Blade Review
Release Date: September 8, 2009
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Muramasa: The Demon Blade for the Wii is a 2D action rpg from developer VanillaWare which made the classic The Princess Crown and the very awesome Odin Sphere for the PS2.
In Muramasa there are two characters to choose from, Kisuke and Momohime, with each story taking about 10-12 hours to complete depending on if you decide to do the side quests or not . Doing everthing possible it took me a total of 40 hours in the end, 20 hours for each character and doing all of their sidequests and multiple endings.
Kisuke is a ninja who has lost his memory and his quest begins with him searching for the truth of who he is, luckily it turns out to be much more than that when he meets a girl who knows him pretty well.
Momohime is a princess who happens to have been possessed by a demon named Jinkuro forcing her to share her body with him. Only one soul can occupy a body so in most story sequences you’ll see Momohime and Jinkuro interact with each other with one of them in soul form.
Between the two characters I found Momohime’s story better overall. Both of their stories are nothing to write home about but they are decent enough where you will like to know how they end. The combat certainly makes going through the game a blast along with each character having three different endings.
Muramasa is a 2D side scroller like Odin Sphere and combat plays out in a similar fashion but Muramasa does enough to make it fresh and exciting. You can carry three swords into to battle, long or short swords with each having a secret arts assigned to them. All of your attacks are handled with one button, secret arts to another. You think the game would be overall simply but its not.
Each sword has Soul Power and every time you use a secret art, block or repel attacks that gauges decreases to the point where it can break. To restore a broken word simply switch to another of the three you have equipped, when sheathed your sword regains Soul power and is automatically fixed.
You have a tactical roll that will evade a great deal of attacks and use healing items in combat to restore health and Soul power. Like every Vanillaware game cooking is back as well. You can cook healing items or cook food that will grant stat boost temporally.
One of main components of game is forging swords. This is a necessity to get stronger swords to use in battle as you progress. There are total of 108 swords to forge but you can’t unlock them all immediately you have beat each boss and clear certain challenges.
What surprised me most about this game is the difficulty. You start off with two difficulty settings you can switch to at anytime but both offers a good challenge so don’t be ashamed if you die numerous times. The hardest difficulty is a one hit kill scenario, you get hit you die simple as that.
Aside from the main quest there are optional challenges you can do, some are a must if you want to get all the swords in the game. These challenges are hard and they will certainly test your battle skills. The Total Pandemonium challenge was hell for me to beat the first time I tried it.
I have to mention how stunning this game looks. The art work and the animation of the characters and bosses are a sight to see. The soundtrack is also good with a nice variety of music to hear as you play.
I like how they handled the story progression. The story is split into chapters and after each boss you defeat you can gain a new sword that can break a colored barrier so you can access a new area. You are constantly getting new swords and accessing new areas.
The boss fights are all awesome and much larger then your character. VanillaWare also fixed my biggest problem with Odin Sphere, the massive slowdown that occurred when fighting bosses or a lot of enemies. Muramasa runs smooth throughout the entire game.
On to the negatives, you will do a good amount of backtracking in the game. There are a few places where you can take a boat or a palanquin but they are few and far between. I will mention that is remedied when you beat the game since you can warp between save points after that. As beautiful as the 2D art is there is some repetition to the art but that’s me more nitpicking because the game really looks that good you probably won’t mind too much.
Giving the nature of the game a 2D side scrolling fighter it can get repetitive. Personally I never got bored playing but you’ll run into the same enemies in with both characters but not the same bosses the first time around. This is going to be an issue for some but the game only supports a Japanese dub, no English dub here but everything is written in English.
In the end I think Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a must have for Wii owners looking for a nice action rpg game. Let’s be honest there’s not a lot to play on the Wii at the moment and Muramasa is pretty awesome. The story is decent, the combat is very good, challenging and there is plenty of stuff to do.