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Muramasa Rebirth: Another delight from Vanillaware

Content of the article: "Muramasa Rebirth: Another delight from Vanillaware"

I started my journey into vanillaware's library by playing Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, i was impressed by how much game and how much i enjoyed it so i decided to see what other title in their library i could play. And lo and behold, i remembered i had nabbed Muramasa Rebirth when it was free on PS plus a couple of years ago, so i jumped right into that one.

Just like Leifthrasir, Rebirth is a beat em'up with rpg elements. You move from screen to screen, region to region, beating enemies, finding merchants and restaurants to eat and save points. One big difference from OS is that encounters aren't predetermined in each area, they are random, so there's not a ranking system like in leiftrasir, instead the game rewards you XP after each random encounter depending on how well you did in the fight.

In this game, the characters (there's two this time around) use blades known as "demon blades" aka swords that regenerate over time. There's two types of them: normal, fast swords and long, slower but more hard hitting swords. You can equip 3 of these at any time and switch them on the fly as you fight. When one of them gets broken (each time you block/parry the sword's energy decreases) you need to switch to another one and wait for that one to regenerate, or use an item called a whetstone to restore that sword's energy.

You start with only two swords, but you can use Muramasa's forge to craft more, there's a LOT of swords to craft (108 specifically) and apart from difference in Strenght stats and passive effects, each one of this swords has a different ability you can unleash with the circle button. The enormous variety of swords is the number one factor that keeps the game from getting repetitive (this is a 25-30 hours beat em up if you intend to get all the endings after all). The way you approach each encounter will vary a lot depending on the swords you have equipped at the moment.

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The alchemy system from OS is missing here, you can still cook, but it's mostly to gain XP and materials to forge swords (yes, eating gives you a currency called "spirit" that lets you craft swords, the other one is obtained when you beat enemies), but i think it was a good decision because the combat is now more streamlined, but definetly not easier, id say this game is a little thougher than OS, but nothing unmanagable

There's two characters this time around: Jinkuro-Momohime and Kitsune, each with their own story that runs in paralell with the other, althrough one common critical character, they don't overlap very much. Momohime is a young girl that gets possessed by the spirit of a notoriously infamous assassin, and kitsune is a boy with amnesia who wakes up suddenly knowing how to fight like a master. I'd say this aspect i found weaker than OS, the story was all over tha place and gets wayyy too convoluted the more you progress through it. That being said it isn't bad, just uninpressive, and seeing a 18 yo girl talking like a ruthless assassin in momohime's campaign was hilarious most of the time.

Again, i have to talk about the art, and just like every other vanillaware game, it's full of 2d hand draw goodness, the locales are varied and pretty looking, the characters design are a delight, particularly the gods you encounter and the two kitsune ladies that help our heroes in the story.

So, bottom line i didn't quite like it as much as OS, but it's still an impressive game on it's own, the only downside? It's a ps vita exclusive and it never got re-released on any other platform, i hope vanillaware puts out a steam port so more people can find out about it. What did you guys think of it?

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