Muramasa: The Demon Blade - Wii

Game Description: Voted G4tv.com's best Wii game at E3 2009, Muramasa: The Demon Blade comes from the same studio who produced the beautiful (but flawed) side-scrolling PlayStation 2 action RPG Odin Sphere. The game takes place on Honshu, the main island of Japan, and follows the struggle over possession of The Demon Blade.
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3 / 5
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    (25 Ratings)
    4.6 / 5
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Muramasa: The Demon Blade Hands-On Preview

Muramasa: The Demon Blade Hands-On Preview

By Sterling McGarvey - Posted Jun 10, 2009

Amidst the fanfare of Nintendo’s press conference at E3, the company took the time to highlight some mature-geared third-party titles. Unfortunately, Muramasa: The Demon Blade didn’t make the cut for the big Tuesday. Not to take away from the likes of The Conduit or Dead Space Extraction, but that’s a real shame. Muramasa is, without a doubt, one of the best titles I saw on display at the show.

Vanillaware, the team behind the PS2 cult classic Odin Sphere, delivers a new vision that’s a bit less tactical than the developer’s previous effort. Instead, it draws from the same style of side-scrolling adventure as the likes of Super Metroid and Castlevania. Also, unlike the Norse-inspired motif of Odin Sphere, Muramasa is deeply rooted in Japanese mythology.

The visual style doesn’t boast the production values of Okami, but it’s an impressive display of classic Japanese art. Muramasa moves at a fluid pace, and that’s crucial for a game that’s so combat-heavy. You’ll step into the shoes of two characters, Kisuke, a young ninja with a bad case of amnesia, and Momohime, a princess warrior possessed by an evil warrior’s soul. Both are armed with three out of a total 108 swords to collect throughout the journey. Thanks to the two paths, Vanillaware has ensured a degree of replay value to the experience.

In my demo, there were two difficulty modes: Muso (normal) and Shura (painful). I opted for Muso to get a feel for gameplay. I picked Momohime, whom Ignition’s Shane Bettenhausen recommended for a first play-through. Like another E3 sleeper, Shadow Complex, Muramasa succeeds because it does such a great job evoking games of a bygone era while providing a contemporary facelift. 

It’s intuitive to play -- jumps and slashes are easy to learn -- but it gets challenging quickly. Although you start with three swords, you’ll learn that it takes some careful planning to keep them intact. Enemies can shatter your blade if your defense and offense are sloppy, and you won’t be able to rebuild it until you’ve given it some rest. As a result, you need to keep an eye on your sword gauge and keep a constant rotation of new attacks at your disposal. Button-mashers beware. I learned this the hard way, as I broke two of my swords in my first encounter.

After fighting through a half-dozen waves of enemies, I encountered a demonic priest. It resembled a blend of a giant cyclops and “Inside the Actors’ Studio” host James Lipton. Unfortunately, the beast offered up fiery attacks instead of histrionic behavior. After some careful leaps, dodges, and attacks, I managed to fell it.

Although my time with Muramasa: The Demon Blade was rather brief, I was more impressed with it than any other game I saw for Wii during E3. During a press conference in which Nintendo did its best to appease its loyal fanbase, one of the most hardcore games on the console came from an unlikely source. Hopefully, we’ll all be richer for it when the game comes out. 

Comments are Closed

  • ZDemon50

    I cant wait for this game!! I already pre-ordered and I'm all set to go!!

    Posted: July 22, 2009 1:32 PM
  • DierGuild

    This game is awsome!!!!!!!!!! I hate platforming, however I think I can adjust for this one. One of the challanges I think this game has is the constent sword care, I remembur a similer consept from Izuma 2. No problem it's already on my X-mass wish list ;)

    Posted: July 22, 2009 11:59 AM
  • guitarmasterx7

    I think it will b frikin aosum, but it wil b hard 4 me cuz im a buton masher, but either way im putting sept. 8 on my calendar

    Posted: July 21, 2009 4:29 PM
  • Enigmay84

    I'm tired of Side-scrollers on portable gaming platforms. There's just not enough graphical capability in the units (DS and PSP) and we have the ability to make such amazingly beautiful games. That Vanillaware is trying to keep these games on home consoles is wonderful and I hope that they continue to do so. With this game and the new Monkey Island games coming out I hope that it rekindles the love for side-scrollers and adventure games for the new generation of gamers who never got the opportunity to play such fun and intelligent games (respectively). Wow... Now I feel old because I referred to "The new generation of gamer" when I'm only 25...

    Posted: July 16, 2009 3:17 PM

    I agree with you Kuroakuma, I like side scroling adventures beter on the d.s, but this still looks like it is giong to be one of the greatest games on the wii

    Posted: June 14, 2009 11:36 AM
  • anotrZelda_usrname

    Its a side scrolling adveture, right?

    Posted: June 13, 2009 3:46 PM
  • kuroakuma

    its a very wicked looking game art wise o.o but for some reason it feels like it cud of just been a DS game or maybe better as a DS game, just like how Disgaea 3: for PS3 doesnt really seem it should been there...thats just my opinion :) still i told my brother get this

    Posted: June 12, 2009 7:22 PM
  • Gameguylegend

    yea, im buyin this game

    Posted: June 12, 2009 7:05 PM
  • animetrix752

    Saw this game in Nintendo Power and it looks like it'll be awesome; can't wait!

    Posted: June 12, 2009 6:32 PM
  • Blue_Vortex

    G4 is crazy this game doesn't look that good, looks boring. I'm more excited about Red Steel 2 (didn't make the list!) and No more heroes 2.
    I'll get this game if it's wii ware, if not hell no.

    Posted: June 12, 2009 2:23 PM
  • Pwnproof


    Posted: June 12, 2009 9:03 AM