Musashi Samurai Legend - Review  

The Straw That Broke Musashi's Back
by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

10-20 hours
Rating definitions 

   In order to save her world from an evil corporation, a princess uses the hero summoning spell to bring Musashi to the rescue. Though he arrives a little bit late and hasn't attained the status of hero yet, Musashi quickly completes his training and rushes off to assist as many people as he can while collecting the five legendary swords he needs to save the world in Musashi Samurai Legend.

   With five special swords in addition to the two he begins his adventure with, Musashi has a lot of special abilities at his disposal. As if that wasn't enough, he can even observe certain enemies and copy their abilities. Though much of the game is indeed hack and slash, the large arsenal of techniques Musashi acquires over the course of the game serve to significantly liven up combat at times, especially during boss fights or later in the game when players can afford items that restore MP. Musashi also has several variations of basic sword techniques, such as a quick combo, a jumping slash, or a heavy attack with his secondary weapon. He can technically also guard, but it is almost entirely useless against most attacks that he would need it against. Though the effect is usually minimal, the growth of Musashi's statistics can also be slightly customized to the player's liking. The AI is reasonable intelligent, but by no means is it clever either. It is smart enough to keep combat running at a good pace though.

   Most enemies Musashi will face over the course of his adventure can be defeated fairly easily. Of course, bosses are significantly more difficult, especially late in the game, but few pose too much of a threat. To make things even easier, Musashi can carry more items than he will probably ever need. Money for purchasing accessories and healing items is also very plentiful. The only real thing that makes battles difficult at times is the camera.

Another person who can't walk?  It's an epidemic! Another person who can't walk? It's an epidemic!

   Though not a major problem for the majority of the game, the camera can still cause some minor problems for Musashi in his everyday adventures. During certain boss fights and against certain enemies late in the game however, it can cause larger problems. The camera's main problem is that it is very slow, and it is very difficult to stay locked on to an enemy. As most bosses and some enemies can move around at incredibly high speeds, it is often difficult to keep track of where attacks are coming from at times. Aside from the problems with the camera, the controls are relatively solid. There are a number of shortcut buttons that can be used to quickly switch the equipped skill or secondary weapon. The localization is also decent, though there is little dialogue in the game.

   As with most action RPGs, Musashi features a relatively minimal story and amount of dialogue. Everyone is fairly straight to the point and hardly anyone elaborates on their respective backstories. There are a number of characters who are developed a bit, but it's nothing especially impressive. The central story is also fairly unimpressive. Still, something is better than nothing, and it could have been much worse, but it could have also been considerably better.

Musashi's special moves pack a serious punch Musashi's special moves pack a serious punch

   The story is fairly cliche and many of Musashi's abilities are very similar to those found in the original Brave Fencer Musashi, yet there are still a few new tricks up his sleeve. The most notable addition is his ability to carry characters and a few inanimate objects while fighting. Though he could simply set them down and fight normally, he can also toss them up in the air and attempt to slash as many enemies as possible before catching them on the way down. Unfortunately, most people he meets in the dungeon are crippled as a result of this without any creative explanation.

   As there are only six chapters, Musashi is a relatively short game. It isn't too difficult to finish the game in about ten hours, but there are several additional events that can be completed if the player wants as well. In addition to leveling up, these events can add another ten hours to the total play time. Despite the short length of the game, it should be noted that save points are infrequent, so quit a bit must often be completed in one sitting.

   The majority of the music found throughout the game is fairly bland and unmemorable. There are some better tracks, but they are few and far between. Some parts of the game must also be completed in near silence. The sound effects aren't particularly impressive either, as there is very variety in them. They still do their job, but they're far from impressive.

   While the music may not be particularly impressive, the visuals certainly are. The entire game has a unique, cel-shaded art style that fits the mood very well. Even more impressive is the fact that nothing really seems out of place at all, so everything fits together nicely. While many enemy models are reused several times, most are still quite detailed. Even the animations played after enemies are defeated are impressive.

   Musashi's story is a little weak, but it's still not bad for an action RPG. After all, the focus of the game is on the gameplay and battle system, both of which Musashi does a pretty good job of. The visuals are also excellent. It does have some minor problems here and there, but Musashi Samurai Legend is fairly enjoyable and a decent game to play overall, though there are better action RPGs out there.

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