Muramasa: The Demon Blade is one of those titles I played a bit for the Wii, but never stuck around in long because it was the Wii.
However, I always wanted to spend more time with the game. I enjoyed the gameplay and loved the graphics. So, getting to play the game on the go on the Vita is great, and may even help with some of the repetitiveness that hinders the game.
Muramasa Rebirth is relatively the same game as the Wii version, minus a few differences I’ll touch on later. The story is split between Momohime and Kisuke, with both campaigns taking around 10 hours each.
Momohime is a princess that is forced to flee her castle and head toward Kyo from Edo after being possessed by a spirit. Meanwhile, Kisuke moves from Kyo to Edo while trying to regain his memory as a ninja. Unfortunately, the story isn’t really gripping and takes a backseat to enjoying the graphics and moving from screen to screen.
In the last graph I both touched on the greatest strength and weakness of this game. The graphics in the game are great. They’re beautifully animated and a joy to experience from area to area. Plus, the bosses all have a unique appearance and are interesting to see while fighting.
Meanwhile, repetition can set in quickly with this game. A lot of the game is about traveling from place to place with no quick travel added in for the Vita version, which seems to be a sorely lacking feature considering how much backtracking the game offers. While some screens will give enemies to fight or treasures to find, a lot just have a few souls here and there to collect as you run along with nothing to do.
Another repetitive part of the game is the non-boss battles. Random enemies never give you a chance to fully utilize the combat system, which I’ll discuss shortly, and the same enemies will appear time and time again. To get some of the levels you need to use weapons, though, you need to get ready to grind enemies for experience.
Thankfully, one feature the Vita has will help experience the game in shorter bursts so players don’t get burned out too quick. Saves can sometimes be far between, but idling the Vita and coming back later can let you experience the game in short chunks while finding the next save or area to go to.
Combat is a solid experience in the game, but one that doesn’t get fully utilized until boss battles normally. Regular enemies just die too quick for the most part, but bosses can really let the combo numbers fly up as you slice and dice them up. However, juggling, dodging, downwards slices and more are all there from the start, letting you combo as best as you can.
You can have your choice of three swords in combat, using triangle to switch between them. If you use a sword too long by blocking or countering blows it will eventually break, forcing you to switch while the previous sword is recharged with souls to be used again.
Swords have different stats and abilities, along with a special move that can be used at the expense of draining a sword’s spirit quicker. New swords can be obtained by beating bosses, but most swords will be made through the forge to get the best blades. Forged blades require spirit and souls to make. Spirit is obtained by eating food that can regenerate your health, sometimes forcing you to eat when you don’t need to just for that bit of extra spirit for a new sword.
The gameplay is the same from the Wii version, but the Vita version features a few graphical changes from the Wii that makes characters a bit more defined. In addition, extra bits of dialogue have been added to give more character background, although it’s still voiced in Japanese.
The biggest addition to the game, four new characters, aren’t even available to play currently. Instead, the characters will be added in as DLC later for an unknown price. Considering it’s a new version, I really don’t see the reasoning in waiting for a longer amount of time to put extra content in a game that’s already supposed to already have extra content.
- Combat is solid.
- Lot of different swords to make and collect.
- Graphics are amazing.
- Parts of game can get repetitive.
- Generic enemies can get repetitive but are also necessary.
- No fast travel.
Muramasa Rebirth is great for fans that have never played the game before. It adds a bit more but keeps the formula the same. For gamers that experienced it on the Wii, they may want to wait to get a judgment on the DLC characters or for a lower price before checking out the game a second time.