Muramasa's Stunning Graphics Can't Keep Gameplay Afloat - Muramasa: The Demon Blade - Nintendo Wii - www.GameInformer.com
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Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Muramasa's Stunning Graphics Can't Keep Gameplay Afloat

A lot of hope rests with Muramasa. A samurai-infused 2D action game from the makers of the exceptional Odin Sphere, Muramasa is a visual masterpiece with the potential to appeal directly to the Wii’s hardcore base. But simply wanting to like Muramasa isn’t enough; it also needs to hold up its end of the bargain as a piece of entertainment – a feat it manages ­only ­sporadically.

No one can deny that the game is beautiful. The vibrant backgrounds, hulking bosses, and flashy combat make Muramasa a treat to behold. I definitely took a little extra damage because I was staring at the gorgeous art instead of paying attention to my enemies. A little more context behind the characters and their breathtaking surroundings would have been nice, but narrative clearly isn’t a priority. Instead of getting a story, you’ll traverse the Japanese countryside, encountering random ambushes by various ninjas and mythical beasts.

Combat is where Muramasa’s sharpened blade truly shines. Movement is quick, controls are responsive, and the intense action puts your reflexes to the test. Mid-air clashes over the rooftops and effortless dashes through enemies give combat an exhilarating kinetic vibe. Unfortunately, most encounters don’t last more than a minute or two, forcing you to sheathe your blade just when you’re warming up.

As much as I enjoyed the battles, the system doesn’t get deeper or evolve. The moves you perform during the tutorial are the same ones you’ll use against the final boss, save for your sword-specific special moves. You never get the sensation of becoming more powerful as you progress; the swords you forge grow stronger, but so do the enemies, so nothing really changes. In a particularly lame decision, the two playable characters even control identically.

Apart from the disappointing ramp-up, Muramasa’s other major issue is backtracking. Certain s words essentially act as colored keycards, breaking down previously impenetrable barriers – often in areas you’ve long since beaten. This means you need to take an uneventful run back, fighting weak enemies along the way. The process serves no purpose other than artificially extending the game and snuffing out your enthusiasm in transit.

Even in the face of some structural missteps, Muramasa is a visually stunning game that is entertaining in the heat of battle – though that heat eventually cools down due to short and shallow encounters. Without better pacing and a lot more depth, Muramasa isn’t fit to run with the top-tier action titles.

 

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Second Opinion:

7.00

 

Muramasa is a supermodel holding a cardboard sword – a gorgeous game that treats combat like a flimsy prop. Rarely are visuals a game’s main attraction, but Muramasa’s colorful backdrops and hypnotic flowing animations are its only attention stealers. The remainder of this experience is bogged down with energy-sapping gameplay design. Roughly half of this quest is dedicated to backtracking across the same areas to reach previously locked-off areas. This design leads to a lot of back and forth with little in terms of variation or pay off. This long and pointless journey (the story is about as interesting as a credits scroll) also fails to deliver excitement in its combat, which seriously is treated like a “the player will likely grow bored right about now” prop. The battles are uninteresting, and while offering sword upgrades and a fairly deep move set, they don’t offer the precision needed to make you feel like you are fully in control. I can’t stress enough how amazing this game looks, but this virtual art gallery comes with a price – lackluster gameplay.

 

User Reviews:

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  • 8.50
    Muramasa The Demon Blade(MTDB) is a side scrolling(2D)action RPG.I think the game is very fun, playable and beautifully presented.You can easily hack n slash some long combo attacks and the combat has enough strategy to have some depth. --------- Story --------- The story for MTDB is set during the Genroku...
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  • 10.00
    The first thing you should notice when turning on this game, is that the game looks amazing. Very much like, yes "A Painting drawn to life." There are two stories in the game. You can play as either a boy or a girl. I chose the girl as the boy is just quite ugly, so i figured i might as well...
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  • 10.00
    super awesome and beautifuly crafted game
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  • 8.00
    Right from the outset, I'll say that, yes, it's a good game. The action is wonderful, fast-paced, and fun. The battle mechanics are simple to learn, but hard to fully master, as most action games should incorporate. If you're looking for a good action game for the Wii, this is it. Although...
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  • 7.75
    Muramasa is a surprisingly great game. While having a fun, unique gameplay, it manages to hold onto a great story line along the way. The story is pretty fast paced so there's never a point where your bored. The gameplay is amazing and you have the ability to switch swords in battle and reforge blades...
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