Muramasa: The Demon Blade

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Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Muramasa The Demon Blade.jpg
Box art
Developer(s)Vanillaware
Publisher(s)WiiPlayStation Vita
Designer(s)Yoshifumi Hashimoto (producer)
George Kamitani (director)
Composer(s)Hitoshi Sakimoto
Masaharu Iwata
Mitsuhiro Kaneda
Kimihiro Abe
Noriyuki Kamikura
Azusa Chiba
Yoshimi Kudo
Platform(s)Wii, PlayStation Vita
Release date(s)Wii
  • JP April 9, 2009
  • NA September 8, 2009[3]
  • EU November 27, 2009[4]
PlayStation Vita
  • JP March 28, 2013
  • EU October 16, 2013
Genre(s)Action role-playing game
Mode(s)Single-player
DistributionWii Optical Disc
 
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Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Muramasa The Demon Blade.jpg
Box art
Developer(s)Vanillaware
Publisher(s)WiiPlayStation Vita
Designer(s)Yoshifumi Hashimoto (producer)
George Kamitani (director)
Composer(s)Hitoshi Sakimoto
Masaharu Iwata
Mitsuhiro Kaneda
Kimihiro Abe
Noriyuki Kamikura
Azusa Chiba
Yoshimi Kudo
Platform(s)Wii, PlayStation Vita
Release date(s)Wii
  • JP April 9, 2009
  • NA September 8, 2009[3]
  • EU November 27, 2009[4]
PlayStation Vita
  • JP March 28, 2013
  • EU October 16, 2013
Genre(s)Action role-playing game
Mode(s)Single-player
DistributionWii Optical Disc

Muramasa: The Demon Blade, known in Japan as Oboromuramasa (朧村正?, literally "Hazy Muramasa") is an action role playing game developed by Vanillaware and published by Marvelous Entertainment in Japan, Rising Star Games in Europe, and Ignition Entertainment in North America for the Wii. The game was released in Japan on April 9, 2009, in North America on September 8, 2009, and in Europe on November 27, 2009.

Muramasa follows the story of Kisuke, a fugitive who has lost his memory, including that of a crime that he committed; and Momohime, a lithe princess possessed by a dark spirit. Gameplay allows players to use the Wii Remote (with Nunchuk), the Classic controller or the GameCube controller. The game allows players to use two different characters and features three difficulty levels.

Within its first week of release in Japan, Muramasa sold all of its shipped copies and reached the top Japan sales list.[5]

A PlayStation Vita port titled Muramasa Rebirth was released in Japan on March 28, 2013. The port features four new short scenarios with four new playable protagonists available as downloadable content. Aksys Games published it in North America on June 25th, 2013.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

Momohime fighting an Oni wielding a Kanabō

The game has three different control methods, one that involves the Wii Remote, one that involves the Nintendo GameCube controller and another that uses the Classic Controller, for players who prefer more precision.[6]

Graphically the game is the same hand-drawn 2D art style as its spiritual predecessor Odin Sphere, though inspiration was drawn from Japanese mythology and culture rather than Norse mythology.[7] The game has over 30 different locales set on an overworld spanning across Japan.[8]

Two playable characters are selectable: Kisuke, a young amnesiac ninja, and Momohime, a young princess of Narukami Han, Mino Province. Momohime starts off in the eastern Edo and goes to the western Kyo, while Kisuke goes the opposite direction. Both start with three katana out of 108 to collect and forge and can equip up to three at a time.

Weapons are distinguished into two categories, Blade (katana) and Long Blade (nōdachi). Blades are geared for high agility combat, with fast attack speed and less momentum, while Long Blades are bigger and deal more damage but have less mobility, suitable for sweeping a group of weak foes. Each sword has a Secret Art (ōgi), a powerful attack technique.[9] Overuse of a sword (either by unleashing Secret Arts or deflecting attacks) will deplete its "Soul Gauge" and eventually break it, dropping its offensive capabilities substantially. Sheathed swords will gradually recover Soul Gauge; broken swords are repaired when the gauge is fully restored.[10]

The game can be played in three modes: Muso, Shura, and Shigurui. Muso Mode focuses on character leveling as opposed to action, whereas Shura Mode is more action-based, recommended for skilled players. Shigurui Mode is only available after a player clears the game in Shura Mode. This mode plays in the same fashion as Shura Mode but limits the character's health to 1 and will never grow when the character levels up.[11]

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

The game takes place during the Genroku era at the time of shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi on Honshū, the main island of Japan. Because of his thirst for power, a conflict over immensely powerful swords, the Demon Blades of Muramasa Sengo, occurs. The swords are cursed and are said to bring tragedy, madness, and untimely deaths. As the chaos from the conflict spreads, creatures from the netherworld are summoned by these blades, along with Dragon and Demon Gods.[12]

Plot[edit]

There are numerous intersecting storylines of travelers. One tale is of Kisuke, a amnestic fugitive is aided by a Kitsune named Yuzuruha and the warrior miko Torahime to find a certain katana in the east. Another story is that of Momohime, the younger sister of Torahime, who is possessed by the spirit of the foul swordsman Izuna Jinkuro and is forced to assist him after fleeing from her castle while fighting supernatural forces bent on thwarting Jinkuro.[13]A third tale, Genroku Kaikitan, tells of a nekomata who assumed the form of a murdered girl to avenge her death.

Characters[edit]

Characters Kisuke (top) and Momohime (bottom)

Rebirth Characters[edit]

Four new playable characters are introduced in the Vita version of the game, along with their own story and boss characters. Unlike the other protagonists, they do not use swords and each use different playstyle.[14][15] As of present, the first DLC package has been released in Japan.

Development[edit]

Originally titled Oboromuramasa Yōtōden (朧村正妖刀伝?, literally "The Hazy Legend of Muramasa's Mystical Sword"), it was shorted to Oboro Muramasa before release. While being developed, the game was referred to as Princess Crown 3, as Odin Sphere was referred to as Princess Crown 2. Director George "Jōji" Kamitani said he wanted to create a similar atmosphere as The Legend of Kage and Genpei Tōma Den.[6] Audio production was assigned to Hitoshi Sakimoto's studio Basiscape as in Odin Sphere.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankings81.94%[16]
Metacritic81/100 (based on 57 reviews)
Review scores
PublicationScore
1UP.comA-
Edge6/10
Eurogamer7/10
Famitsu34/40
Game Informer7.75/10
GamePro4.5/5
GamesRadar8/10
GameTrailers8.3/10
IGN8.9/10[17]
Nintendo Power8/10
Play Magazine10/10
GamingUnion.net8/10[18]

The game was received generally positively. Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave it a score of 34/40 citing the game's difficulty, short load times, graphics and sound but criticized it for its lack of a climax.[citation needed] The game entered the Japanese sales charts at number 2, selling 29,000 copies in its first week.[19] It opened to similar numbers in North America, with 35,000 units.[20] On June 8, 2009, X-Play named Muramasa the "Best Wii Game of E3 2009". When reviewing, they scored it a 3 out of 5. Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb later explained in a discussion that "just because a game gets Best Wii Game Of The Year, doesn't make it good." It was then stated that they only based their previous crowning of Best Wii Game on the basis that they had only played a small portion of the game.[21] Play magazine praised Muramasa, stating "The art and animation throughout is so refined...the gameplay is intuitive and never grows old; the RPG elements are unique and superbly presented and the score is simply mesmerizing."[22] 3xGamer noted that it had some of the most unique backgrounds and music, which combined to make a solid gaming experience.[23]

The game was later released under Nintendo’s "Everyone’s Recommendation Selection" of budget titles.[24]It was also included in IGN's Top 25 Wii Games, coming in at #21.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alexander, Leigh (2009-04-21). "Ignition Picks Up Muramasa Rights For North America". Gamasutra.com. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  2. ^ a b c "Aksys Games to Release Muramasa Rebirth for PS Vita in N. America". Anime News Network. 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  3. ^ "Muramasa: The Demon Blade European Release Date Pushed Back". Siliconera.com. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  4. ^ Spencer (2009-06-12). "Rising Star Bumps Muramasa: The Demon Blade Up". Siliconera.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  5. ^ Sessler, Adam (July 21, 2009). "Muramasa: The Demon Blade Preview". X-Play. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Muramasa: The Demon Blade Developer Interview". 1Up.com. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  7. ^ "Vanillaware Unveils Wii Action Game Oboro Muramasa Youtouden". 1Up.com. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  8. ^ "TGS 2008: Muramasa Hands-on". IGN.com. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  9. ^ "The Five: Muramasa: The Demon Blade". CrispyGamer.com. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  10. ^ "TGS 2008: Muramasa: The Demon Blade Hands-On". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  11. ^ "Muramasa: The Demon Blade will accommodate action and RPG fans". Joystiq.com. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  12. ^ "Marvelous Entertainment USA and XSEED Games Announce Muramasa: The Demon Blade Exclusively for the Wii". XSEED Games. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  13. ^ "朧村正|ファミ通". Famitsu Online. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  14. ^ Spencer (March 27, 2013). "How Muramasa Rebirth’s Four Vita-Only DLC Characters Play". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  15. ^ 2013-10-31, 『朧村正』のDLC第1弾シナリオ“化猫-津奈缶猫魔稿-”のPVを公開, Famitsu
  16. ^ "Muramasa: The Demon Blade". GameRankings. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  17. ^ Bozon, Mark (2009-09-04). "Muramasa: The Demon Blade Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  18. ^ Kaye, Darryl (2009-09-15). "Muramasa: The Demon Blade Review". GamingUnion.net. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  19. ^ Jenkins, David (April 16, 2009). "Japanese Charts: Devil Kings Spin-Off Tops Countdown". Gamasutra.com. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  20. ^ Justin (October 22, 2009). "Ignition Confirms Muramasa Sept Sales Numbers, Expects Strong Sales Through the Holidays". Gamer Investments. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  21. ^ Vinson, Dana (June 8, 2009). "X-Play Presents the Best of E3 09 Awards". X-Play. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  22. ^ http://playmagazine.com/index.php?fuseaction=SiteMain.Content&contentid=1836
  23. ^ Henry. "Muramasa Wii Review". 3xGamer. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  24. ^ Spencer (January 20, 2010). "Nintendo Channel Voters Pick Budget Wii Games". Siliconera. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 

External links[edit]