Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Muramasa Rebirth

Review: Muramasa Rebirth

2:00 PM on 06.28.2013 // Chris Carter

A slightly sharper blade

Muramasa: The Demon Blade was probably Vanillaware's most uneven game. Alongside of the expected spectacular visuals, a beautiful soundtrack, and surprisingly simple yet enjoyable combat system, came a fairly uninteresting story, and a lot of repetitive gameplay elements.

Although Muramasa was great on paper and on a canvas, it didn't always follow through with its premise, which was disappointing. It looks like not a whole lot has changed in 2013,  because other than adding in some gorgeous visuals, Muramasa Rebirth on the PlayStation Vita doesn't change much.

The repetition sure is a lot more manageable on the go in shorter spurts, however.

Muramasa Rebirth (PlayStation Vita)
Developer: Vanillaware
Publisher: Aksys Games
Released: June 25, 2013
MSRP: $39.99

Muramasa actually gives you pretty much all the tools you need at the start of the game after you choose one of the two potential main characters -- Kisuke or Momohime --  each who have a different story (but ultimately visit the exact same areas, just in a different order). In a somewhat initially confusing fashion, each character can equip up to three swords, allowing the player to switch between them. If you use a sword too long, it breaks, forcing you to switch to another while it "heals" (they're spirit swords) and recovers its durability.

Everything's great from a combat perspective, as all the staples are fully intact -- the downward thrust, the uppercut slash, the dashing cut, dodge rolling, blocking -- it's all right there at the start, and it allows for quite a bit of finesse and skill based play. As I said, these are pretty much all of the tools you're going to get during the roughly two 10 hour campaigns outside of crafting, and it's just about all you're ever going to need.

But while the setup and foundation are solid, where the game somewhat fails is that most of the time, it doesn't quite give you a venue to show off said finesse, as it's consistently intent on delivering you handfuls of goons and relatively low-rent enemies who don't do much more than fill the screen. Thankfully, the environments are classic Vanillaware -- gorgeous and full of life, especially on the Vita's OLED screen -- and compliment the incredible soundtrack quite well to the point where you may not mind it as much.

Boss fights are the absolute highlight of the game, and show off how fun the combat system really can be without any elements of repetition involved. In top Vanillaware form, every boss looks incredible from a visual standpoint, and will test your skills to the max mechanically -- especially on a higher difficulty setting. I'd go so far as to say that a few of them in particular are among my favorites of this generation, as they have a clear old school feel to them, and a sense of challenge. With a pared down story and a few more boss fights, any semblance of combat repetition could have been eliminated -- they're that fun.

It's not just thug fighting that gets repetition too -- actually getting around in the game's environments, despite how stunning they are, is at points, grating. Often times playing Muramasa is like playing a sprawling Metroidvania with large heaps of barren wastelands, with massive amounts of backtracking. Some form of real fast-travel system outside of the bare-bones one included, even if it was only for areas you've been to before and at limited areas (save points) would have been a key addition in the Vita version, but alas, you'll be hoofing it quite a bit -- and thankfully, that's when you can put the Vita on its idle setting and come back later.

The translation is definitely improved from the Wii version, as each character is now more defined. Kisuke is a lot more standoffish in particular here, as his newly improved dialog helps cement his cold demeanor far better than the original script. While I didn't notice an Earth shattering difference in quality, you can easily tell that it is superior if you've played the original. As a side note, the voices are still in Japanese, and they're still great.

Outside of the flaws of the original, there is one major new problem that should be addressed: the DLC elephant in the room. The powers that be have strangely decided to not include the four new characters in the retail version in favor of selling them as DLC, for an undetermined price, and at an undetermined date. When you're charging fans for a full price portable version of something that's barely been updated content wise, you better have a few extras ready to sway people -- but in this case, it's paid DLC not available at launch.

While the core game with all its blemishes and wonder is fully preserved, I can't help but think how great this re-release could have been with the characters fully intact as unlockables. For those of you who are on the fence, waiting for a verdict on the DLC and picking up the Vita version at a lower price may be the best option.

But in spite of the lack of new content, Muramasa at its core stands on its own as a solid action game. Vanillaware's visual style is absolutely timeless, and even though you may get sick of seeing the same locales over and over, the Vita's portability and instant standby feature make it much easier to pick up and play over the course of a few days.

If you've already played Muramasa to death, I doubt you'll find anything worth paying full price for in Rebirth (yet), but for those of you who haven't experienced it and haven't played a Vanillaware game, this is a great way to see that beautiful art everyone keeps talking about.



Muramasa Rebirth - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Muramasa Rebirth

  Jul 08

New Muramasa Rebirth DLC haunts Vita next week

More action-packed Japanese folklore inbound!

  May 20

Hot deal: Muramasa Rebirth DLC discounted on PSN

Both Genroku Legends available for $2.49 apiece

  Feb 20

Muramasa Rebirth's second DLC is out next week

'Genroku Legends A Cause to Daikon For'

  Jan 09

Muramasa Rebirth gets a trailer for its second DLC

He's a farmer who attacks enemies with his tools

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

I Haz Kickstarter!

Cblogs of 11/27/15 - Life is Strange, and Sad

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront KICKS ASS!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Little Slice of Childhood

Top 5 Reasons Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 IS AWESOME!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

I’m Not a SJW, I’m an Anthropologist: Making the Case for Diversity in Games

Insidia REVIEW - A whole dark, gloomy, and kinda creepy world to explore

DS REVIEWS: Trace Memory

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Been playing Gears of War 3's campaign on Xbox One. Looks great on there, and Sam's voice actor is Chloe's voice actor in Uncharted 2/3. Hell yeah!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: With all the controversy surrounding review scores, what do you personally consider a "bad" score versus a "good" score? Is there a game in particular that was panned by critics that you nevertheless enjoyed? Or vice versa?
TheVeganGamer avatarTheVeganGamer
Finally got around to playing Diablo 3 with some friends, holy smokes! That game is rad!
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Public service announcement: Marry an orphan. It makes the holidays so much easier when you don't have to deal with pain in the ass in-laws.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
So... how long is it until we get the inevitable Colonial Marines or Ride to Hell: Retribution PS4/Xbox One re-releases?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Screw Bloodborne. I finally managed to overcome not tearing up while listening to the entirety of Never More. Git gud! [youtube][/youtube]
NYCpunk avatarNYCpunk
you know what's not okay? scalpers with 10 copies of fire emblem fates SE on ebay for $200+. and no one is saying anything.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Fallout 4 wouldn't be Fallout with ridiculous glitches and shenanigans. Here are a few I've run into - [youtube][/youtube]
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I've never earnestly went drinking before so it's cool to know I'm the slow, sleepy, impaired type.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Got to admit I didn't expect to find a mewtwo amiibo at my bookstore of all places...
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
My cousin found out I slept with his girlfriend and is pissed. Understandable. I am totally sick of the angry phone calls though. It reminds me so much of playing Call of Duty online. The screaming 11 year olds suck on there too.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Huh. Apparently even Japan has a Black Friday sale going on on PSN right now.
Lawman avatarLawman
Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I know that somebody has 2,625 more medallions than me. No, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I don't really care.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
This fucking Bloodborne DLC, jesus. I'm on new game+, about level 90, and shit just tears my dick off. I don't know if I want to start another guy just to avoid NG+ and level him up, etc. sigh....
Shinta avatarShinta
Wii U, top selling black friday item on Take that you anti-Wii U people.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Got a PS4 that came with SW Battlefront this week, and planning on picking up the FFX/X-2 remake. Hype is through the roof, especially for FFX. If I were to get one other game, what should it be?
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Did a google maps search around my parents house for bars and there isn't one in like 25 miles, so I picked up an Intel compute stick and South Park: Stick of Truth on Steam. That's more or less the drunken screaming I'm in the mood for at about the cost.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Do you ever have that moment of clarity when talking to someone and suddenly realising: You're just a skull, and they're just a skull, with fucking eyeballs and a sac of skin being the only comparative difference between you visually? ..just me then?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
After quitting for two days out of frustration, I beat Ludwig on my first try of the night. I'm on cloud fucking nine right now.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -