Brave Fencer Musashi Review

I’m Being ‘Pun’ished

What can you say about a game built on puns, characters of massive intentional stupidity, and a sardonic anti-hero? Odds are, you can guess the title if nothing else comes to mind. Brave Fencer Musashi stood in stark contrast to the other offerings released by Squaresoft in 1997; Final Fantasy VII was about to put the PlayStation on the map, and Parasite Eve was a game far more noticeably designed for adult audiences. However, using its own brand of insane humor and its penchant for delivering Musashi into countless hysterical — and often painful — situations, Brave Fencer brought the action RPG back to life in the age of 3D.

Although mostly typical of free-roaming action systems in general, Brave Fencer differed from its competition in several major ways. By using the primary attack button to charge and wield Fusion — Musashi’s katana — you were able to steal the abilities of any enemy you encountered. These skills ranged from shooting long-range telekinetic bullets to temporarily using the sword as a pogostick to help cross large spike-covered areas. After completing the first, very short quest and obtaining Musashi’s second sword — Lumina — you’re given the power to use quick attack combos, as well as the ability to utilize elemental powers such as ice, fire, wind, and light. Although most of these abilities are largely manifest through expending Musashi’s life giving Binchotite energy, nearly every creature you defeat will help to recharge that energy, just as saving any of the wayward citizens of Allucaneet Kingdom will add to the total amount you can use.

THIS is their plan for world domination?

In much the same fashion as the story and characters use humor to their advantage, the soundtrack uses upbeat and eclectic instrumentation to weave a decent enough set of tunes. Additionally, Brave Fencer features a huge amount of voice acting for an RPG made in the 32-bit era; thankfully the voice acting is of high enough quality that it doesn’t detract from the rest of the game. Similarly, the game’s graphics — although clearly terrible by the standards of today — serve to further reiterate the happy-go-lucky nature of Musashi’s quest through their bright, colorful, super-deformed polygonal style.

Given the light-hearted nature that virtually every aspect of the game goes well out of its way to provide, it should come as little surprise that the game is little more than average as far as difficulty is concerned. A small percentage of the boss encounters, and an even smaller number of the puzzles can prove to be tricky to work out a strategy for at first, but after a handful of attempts, even those few areas should pose little threat to an adventurer such as Musashi. In light of the very few deep challenges awaiting the player as they progress through the wacky and cliché rescue-the-princess-and-save-the-kingdom story, the game shouldn’t take more than a solid day or two of hardcore play time to complete and even less if you find yourself playing it a second time.

Yeah…I’m bad!

Thankfully the very nature of the action RPG is to shy away from complex menus and hard-to-understand game mechanics, which makes Brave Fencer very easy to pick up and start playing regardless of your previous gaming experience. Admittedly, a few of the more bizarre Fusion powers involve a little guesswork as to their true usefulness, but you will never find yourself stuck in the backwater of some menu that is programmed to be read in ‘ye olde Englishe’. In most other regards, the control scheme is pulled directly out of every other 3D action game anyone has ever made which — perhaps not noteworthy or precisely innovative — simply adds more to the charm and simplicity of the adventure.

So, to make an already long story short, Brave Fencer Musashi is a game that anyone can play, a game that almost anyone can beat, and an adventure that anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of word-play should find themselves laughing aloud to as they try to defeat the Thirstquencher Empire and rescue Princess Fillet.

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'Average' -- 3.0/5



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