|System: PS Vita|
|Pub: Aksys Games|
|Release: June 25, 2013|
|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, 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.
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.
Date: July 1, 2013