I picked up Muramasa: The Demon Blade at my local game store yesterday. It’s pretty neat. It’s a 2D Wii action RPG where you go around stabbin’ people with your stabbin’ sword all day long. It’s beautifully drawn and has really fluid animation. I couldn’t count how many levels of parallax the backgrounds have. In terms of visual lushness, this game’s got it in spades. All of the enemies and characters are nice to look at. Just watching the videos will probably compel you to get it.
The combat is pretty basic, some might say repetitive. The game boils down to “stab and cut stuff while not dying.” Once you get the basic moves and attacks down, you’ll be doing them for the rest of the game, just with more powerful swords and special attacks. If you don’t like beat-em-up style gameplay, then you probably won’t like this, though the game isn’t “on” 100% of the time like most beat em ups. Often you’ll get empty screens where you can just enjoy the lush visuals as you trek to your next destination. The ups and downs make long play sessions easier, as having a break in your concentration keeps you from tensing up too much. It feels very Castlevania-like, but the platforming elements are rather limp, they’re very basic. You’re not playing this for platforming, though, so there you go.
So far the story seems sparse. I’m playing Momohime’s tale, who is a princess (or something) whose body has been possessed by an evil swordsman… or something. I think that’s the gist. What dialogue there is in the game is presented in Japanese with subtitles. I’m sure purist Japanophiles will love this, but I would have at least liked the option for a (good) dub. There’s a second quest, for a boy named Kisuke, but I have yet to start it.
The game also has a basic skill tree type element in the sword forging system. You can forge various swords based upon your current stats (strength, vitality, number of souls, spirit), and what you forge in one character’s game can affect what you can do in the others.
The music is very Japanese-y, I’m not really familiar enough with the style to really comment on it, other than it’s nice to listen to.
Overall, I enjoy the game. Maybe I’ll write another post about this when I beat it.