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About the product
- Redesigned for the PlayStation Vita, Muramasa takes this award winning game to new levels with HD graphics and more!
- Two Stories - Follow Momohime, a princess possessed by the evil spirit and journey west, battle demons and much more! 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!
- Additional Characters - Play in four additional scenarios as different characters!
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Enter the visually powerful and colorful world of Muramasa! Face deadly enemies as they follow your every step. Become Momohime, a woman possessed by the evil spirit or Kisuke, a ninja who has lost his memory as they journey through ancient Japan fighting samurai, ninja, monsters and evil spirits!
From the Manufacturer
In a land of myth and legend, a tale of two souls and 108 deadly blades begins. Muramasa Rebirth, the follow-up to Murasama: The Demon Blade, comes vividly to life on the PlayStation Vita handheld entertainment system with redesigned high-res graphics, enhanced controls, and available downloadable scenarios.
Journey east as the amnesiac ninja Kisuke in search of the legendary demon blades. Or travel west as Momohime, a princess possessed by a vengeful spirit, as you hunt for the same weapons. With 108 powerful blades, each with a special deadly attack, fend off enemies big and small in this exciting action-RPG specially redesigned for the PS Vita.
Muramasa Rebirth Key Features
High Res Graphics
The stunning 2-D artwork comes to life in OLED-ready graphics. See the vibrant colors and detailed art as they should be seen on the PS Vita.
Available Downloadable Scenarios
Four additional characters and scenarios will be available to download, each featuring a new story line, new characters, and new enemies.
Two Modes of Play
Whether you enjoy hack/slash type play or prefer to use your character’s special abilities in a controlled manner, Muramasa Rebirth offers two modes of play to satisfy every player’s needs.
If you don’t like the original default buttons, customize the buttons to make the gameplay truly yours.
Top customer reviews
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Before discussing any of the main aspects of the game, it's worth noting that this game is one of the most Japanese games you will ever play. What I mean by that is everything -the visuals, the music, the story and characters, the gameplay, etc.- is deeply influenced by Japanese history, culture, and folklore. For my money, this is beautiful thing. I love Japanese culture, and this game is a treasure trove that delves deeply into that. It delivers a deeply original, unique game and stands out among the increasingly homogenized gaming market we've become accustomed to here in the West.
As is the case with prior VW games, the story in Muramasa is a very character-driven affair. You get to play as one of two characters. There's Momohime (literally meaning "Peach Princess" in Japanese. That's brilliant.), a beautiful princess whose body has been taken over by a vengeful master swordsman named Jinkuro. The other character is Kisuke, an amnesiac master ninja who is being hunted by his previous ninja clan allies for crimes he does not recall committing. His quest is one to regain his memories... at first. Both tales are quite complex stories that are wonderfully told. They also contain some very surprising tonal shifts and focuses. I don't want to spoil anything, but the stories in this game feature motivations, goals, character personalities, and events that I guarantee you will not have seen in a game before, and then mixes them up in a way that makes them even more unusual. Despite some strong themes of honor, love, and redemption in the mix, this is most definitely the darkest, most sinister game from VW I've ever seen (and I've played them all). Hell, in one story you'll find yourself essentially playing a character you'd ordinarily regard as a dastardly villain in any other context. In the other, you play an anti-hero. It's also filled with refreshingly new elements and ideas because it's so heavily inspired by Japanese folklore. It's all VERY interesting, compelling stuff. Even better, there are three *very* different endings for each of the two main character story modes, all of which are fascinating. The writing is generally fantastic, and thanks to the all-new, VASTLY improved localization in this Rebirth version, it's better than ever. All of the characters are developed fairly well and they're all very compelling, and that's true for those filling main or supporting roles. As far as I'm concerned, the story in Muramasa is a winner.
As is expected from a VW title, this game is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and undeniably captivating. Much like everything else, there is so much Japanese influence to the characters, enemies, (incredible) bosses, locales, etc. Seriously, from a glowing, enchanted cherry blossom garden under a breathtaking canopy of stars, to a plateau overlooking a valley of mountains and hills shrouded in fog, all lit afire by a vibrant sunrise, to a mythological battlefield where the combatants are locked in eternal battle... it's just all so incredible looking. Every locale is notable. Some are beautiful, others are unnerving and mystical, and others are serene with an almost film noire sensibility. This is a gorgeous game to play through. Something I really loved too was that as you run across the various screens/locales, the time will elapse, going from day to night, rain to shine, giving a real sense of time to the story even though the transitions are so quick in real-time. Loved it. The characters, both major and minor, as well as the enemies, are all lovingly rendered and superbly animated. Each of the main characters, Jinkuro-Momohime and Kisuke, as well as all their supporting characters, all have distinctly unique personalities and movement styles that just scream attention to detail. All of this is no surprise to anyone who knows VW, as this is all their calling card. Great stuff here. Even better, Muramasa shines and sparkles on the Vita. The OLED screen really does a lot to take what was already a good-looking game into a gorgeous one. I cannot applaud the visual upgrade enough for this game. It really makes me wish for an HD Vita version of Odin Sphere . That would make my day, but sadly, I don't think it's going to happen (when Muramasa Rebirth was originally announced, they also announced that Odin Sphere would get the same treatment. That was years ago... *sadface*).
The music and sound design is also superb as well. Once again, Hitoshi Sakimoto, as well as the rest of Basiscape, did a wonderful job on the soundtrack. There's a beautiful Japanese musical sensibility in the entire OST, and that applies to both the instrumentation AND the musical tones and focus of the compositions themselves. There's also two versions of each song, one for normal level traversing, and another, more intense version for battles. Great stuff. Since the game is so heavily Japanese in its themes and focus, it is not surprising that all voice-acting is exclusively done in Japanese. Thankfully, the voice actors did a stupendous job giving life and authenticity to both the characters and the story itself. Bravo to the sound director of the game, as he did a fantastic job in this area.
While VW is mostly recognized for their achievements in art and sound design, they're often not given enough credit for their aptitude in game design. Muramasa is, at its core, a highly fluid 2-D action game. As you traverse the world, fights will break out and you won't be able to travel until you beat all enemies on that screen. Your performance is graded after each fight, and rewards/XP levels depend largely on how you do. The combat in this game is incredibly fluid and viscerally satisfying. I can't think of many games that have made me feel like I'm a badass Samurai from an iconic anime the way that Muramasa does. The combat is simple and easy to grasp, but deep enough to engage you as you grow in skill. Boss fights are spectacular as well, with a need for strategy and skill alike. As is the case with VW games, there is lots of RPG spice underneath the action that deepens the experience nicely. As you play, you'll level up and grow stronger. There's a forging system in which you can craft better swords using "souls" (aka XP and little glowing flames you can pick up while running around) and "spirit," which is acquired by eating food. Each sword has its own unique ability to use and perhaps even provide passive boosts. Lots of strategy involved with this game. Mechanically, Muramasa is a excellently designed game with lots of variety, excitement, and refinement. Even better, the Vita version has made some really nice control improvements that anyone who has played the original will immediately notice and appreciate.
Outside of fights, the world is arranged in a series of screens for each region you visit, creating a huge network of levels to traverse that feels very reminiscent of Metroidvania games. There's LOTS of backtracking to do. Unfortunately, the game was in major need of refining in this area. There is a fast-travel system you unlock to alleviate some of this, but it's woefully inadequate and only available after getting the first ending. This is the only major flaw I can think of regarding the gameplay, and it's made all the more disappointing because they could have fixed this when they brought it over to Vita for this release. Ah well... at least the game is so beautiful. It helps alleviate boredom from backtracking, but not all the way. One more nit-pick: I'm not a fan of the trophies they added to the game. They're remarkably obtuse, requiring at least four different playthroughs (one of which is genuinely cruel and unfair) and dozens of arduous hours to get a platinum. Needless to say, I won't be going for every trophy in view of that. It's a letdown, because I DID platinum Dragon's Crown, so I know VW can do a better job of this. Ah well, bad trophies/achievements are ultimately a VERY minor, throwaway aspect that should not ruin a game's score. Still, it's worth noting.
Muramasa Rebirth is the best version of a deeply satisfying game that is as compelling thematically as it is in its presentation. VW delivered a wonderful game in Muramasa back on the Wii, and they've done it again with this shiny new version on the Vita. Really, I can't think of a better platform for the game. I so hope they'll give Odin Sphere, arguably VW's Magnum Opus, the same treatment (fingers crossed eternally for that). There were so many reasons to enjoy this game in its original state, and this version just makes it better. The Vita is a wonderful little system, and it really delivers the potential the game has always had. If you own a Vita, you owe it to yourself to get this game. It is one of the most beautiful, artistically inspired games on the system, featuring superb stories, characters, music, and gameplay. This is a must-own for Vita owners. So buy it, prepare yourself for yet-another VW masterpiece, and immerse yourself in the beauty and magic of Japanese-inspired mythology.
* Ah, you thought the review was over eh? Not exactly. See, one of the best parts of this version of Muramasa is that it comes with four very meaningful DLC episodes from Marvelous AQL and Vanillaware. Each one features brand new characters with totally unique gameplay mechanics, new stories, new levels, new music, etc. Each DLC is $5 upon release. Right now, only two have been published. Each lasts about 2-3 hours. So really, that's $20 for what will amount to the original game growing by 50%, as Kisuke/Momohime's stories each take roughly 10-15 hours to finish if you take your time. That's a pretty great deal, if you ask me. So that's my opinion on the game having DLC. I will be updating this review by adding a very small review recapping my opinion of each episode as I play them. I think it's really cool they're supporting the game like this post-launch.
* Reviews for each episode of "Genkoku Legends" *