The answer is yes. Will you like it? The answer is probably. Muramasa is a game that does what it does very well, but in the end some people are just not going to have the desire to play through a side scrolling RPG. Should you decide to give it a shot, however, you may be pleasantly surprised. I’m not a fan of the side scrolling RPG myself. I never did quite understand the point of the concept, but now I know the sub genre existed only to herald the inevitable coming of Muramasa: The Demon Blade.
Two of you might remember Superman for the NES. It was a sort of light (no leveling or xp) 2D side scrolling RPG where Superman traveled around Metropolis (running mostly) to find enemies and powers. I remember receiving it for Christmas and being so excited just because Superman was on the box. To make a long story short, the game turned out to be absolutely terrible. The “map” for the game world was somewhat confusing, being the youngin I was, and why did Superman rarely fly? It was preposterous. Needless to say, I was a little wary of Muramasa for completely no reason because I couldn’t get Superman NES out of my head. One of the worst games ever made has a couple things in common with this new game from Ignition Entertainment and my brain just wouldn’t stop telling me I’d end up hating it. I’m aware that likely none of you need the reassurance, but all the same I insist on pointing out that this game is much better than Superman NES and does not feature a talking Statue of Liberty. Muramasa, however, does feature sword fights and epic boss battles. In one of the more fantastic Wii games this year my only real complaint is that it gets a bit repetitive, at least early on. The fighting is still fun, but it’s a lot of hack and slash. Not only that; but there’s lots of running. While the game may open itself up to shortcuts later on you’ll find yourself wishing for some other means of travel. Of course, we’ve covered how the game plays quite a bit in earlier radio episodes and E3 Impressions so you can check those out if you want to know some gameplay specifics, but I can tell you that the final game plays about the same. You’ll have access to assorted items like smoke bombs to escape battles, which were not in the E3 demo, but the actual sword combat and method of travel is no different. The good news, though, for anyone worried about it being too repetitive, is that sitting down and playing the finished product with its beautiful scenery, brief but intriguing cutscenes, and optional quests makes all the difference. Any one element that would tarnish the experience is broken up with some fairly excellent pacing that really helps you appreciate those moments when you fight a hundred enemies because it’s not the only thing you’re doing. Your characters can cook, talk to a mysterious zombie fire ghost to forge swords, and so on. Leveling up does also help make it all seem rather purposeful.
Muramasa is an epic title that deserves attention from every committed Wii owner. If nothing else, it deserves to be appreciated like a fine piece of art or pie.