Muramasa Rebirth Review
Muramasa Rebirth Box Art
System: PS Vita
Dev: Vanillaware
Pub: Aksys Games
Release: June 25, 2013
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 544p Alcohol References, Fantasy Violence, Language, Sexual Themes

In addition to what you cook yourself, there are shops one can happen upon that offer treats or meals with similar effects. There are also traveling salesmen one can encounter who offer ingredients, items to be used both in and out of combat, accessories to equip, additional recipes, and maps of new territories (particularly useful for avoiding much of the tedium of backtracking).

With a focus on spirits, the afterlife, and the violence endemic to feudal society, Muramasa has a dark undercurrent coursing through it that runs contrary to the beauty of many of the visuals on display. Townsfolk are designed with a simple and jovial appearance, and the player is often dashing through idyllic countrysides or quaint little towns. Even the frozen wastes of Mount Fuji’s peak are striking in their austerity.

Muramasa Rebirth Screenshot

Muramasa, though, is also a game of dark caves and vengeful ghosts, of demonic ninja and undead warriors. While some of the lesser demons are almost comical in their appearance, others are intimidating by virtue of size alone. The most unsettling, though, are the grotesque fusions of man and monstrosity, such as the defiled monks who tower over the player, with a single eye surrounded by blue-tinted flesh.

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The bosses, in fact, are where George Kamitani’s designs truly shine. They move in intricate and often unsettling ways, dwarfing the player’s character, filling the screen with deadly attacks that one can scarcely avoid. Their battles tend to be the most enjoyable, with the exception of a few where the patterns they use are so simple as to make them an exercise in dull repetition rather than an actual challenge. Repetition isn’t the worst the combat has to offer, though; more problematic are those situations in which the platforms on a given screen interfere with one’s ability to attack the enemy cleanly. A would-be air combo can be interrupted by an errant ledge, which breaks the otherwise smooth flow of the combat.

Any complaints I have, though, are fairly minor (save the tedium of backtracking). Muramasa Rebirth is a wonderfully enhanced version of an already terrific game that melds old-school action sensibilities with more modern complexities and a storyline that manages to feel notably mature.

By
Shelby Reiches
Contributing Writer
Date: July 1, 2013

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
Kamitani’s artwork is stunning, but there is a more-than-healthy amount of repetition in here.
5.0
Control
Not only are the controls already smooth and responsive, but Rebirth allows for them to be remapped in wonderful and logical ways.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sounds of combat are satisfying, and the music sets the stage fairly well. Voice acting is all in Japanese, and it does an admirable job at conveying emotion.
4.0
Play Value
Two characters, each with hours of dedicated gameplay? The promise of additional downloadable content? Muramasa should keep you satisfied for a while.
4.8
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Two Stories - Follow Momohime, a princess possessed by the evil spirit and journey west, battle demons, and much more! Follow Kisuke, a ninja who has lost his memory, and travel east in search of the demon blades.
  • HD Graphics - Using hand-drawn graphics and Japanese artistic styling, Muramasa Rebirth creates a colorfully painted world on your PS Vita screen!
  • 108 Blades - Search and forge new deadly weapons and build an inventory of up to 108 blades. Each blade has a unique special ability. Equip yourself with these deadly blades and become more powerful as your foes close in on you!

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