TGS 2008: Muramasa: The Demon Blade Hands-On

We take a hands-on look at Muramasa, a contender for best-looking game on the TGS floor.

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TOKYO--Muramasa, known in Japan as Oboro Muramasa Yotoden, is a 2D side-scrolling action role-playing game that comes from the same team that brought the gaming world Odin Sphere. But unlike Odin Sphere with its Norse fantasy setting, Muramasa plonks you into feudal Japan playing as one of several ninjas battling against creatures from Japanese mythology. We got some hands-on time on the TGS floor with this Wii exclusive, and it's looking like a heap of fun for those keen on some classic beat-'em-up action.

The first thing that leapt out at us was Muramasa's presentation--it's an absolutely gorgeous game, and its vibrant backgrounds look like a mix of classic Japanese watercolour paintings and the impressionist style of recent Xbox Live favourite Braid. We saw a variety of different scenes in the short hands-on demo, including a secluded waterfall, a rustic village set amongst fields of wheat, and the rooftops of an ancient Japanese village at night, and all of them looked extremely lush.

While story details were a little light (and tough to pry out of our non-English-speaking demo tester), we do know that the final game will have at least two playable characters to choose from: a male ninja dressed in blue and a female one adorned in pink. There will be two control schemes to choose from, one using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk and the other using the Classic Controller. We managed to get some time with the Classic Controller and found that Muramasa's control scheme was familiar and easy to get into. Attacks are mapped to the A and B buttons, while X is for using items (such as healing potions). The control stick is used not only for left and right movement, but also for jumping and double-jumping. The left shoulder button is used to switch swords. Both characters travel with two swords, which can be broken in combat if used too much. If a sword breaks, you'll have to switch to your other weapon until the broken sword repairs itself. The two swords exhibit different properties--the default sword was quick but did only minor damage, while the larger blade was much slower but took greater chunks out of opponents.

Enemies we came across included ghosts wielding wooden umbrellas, some pesky water demons, and one miniboss that looked like a gigantic ball of hair. The major boss at the end of the demo was a large red horned demon wielding a thick club. The action in Muramasa was hectic, with several enemies attacking our hero at once.

Our hands-on time with Muramasa was all too brief, and we're keen to find out more about the role-playing side of the game, as well as find out how many characters will be playable in the final version. Look out for more information about this attractive game on GameSpot in the coming months.

Discussion

25 comments
enrique_marrodz
enrique_marrodz

The style is just gorgeous! is a pleasure to look at and it sounds like fun too!

lightning_kf
lightning_kf

And here I thought the Klonoa remake would be the only Wii game that came to mind for me to buy. Now this and quite possibility Sin and Punishment 2 (seeing as how I never played the first one for the N64). 3 new games for my Wii makes me happy.

dareough
dareough

this game looks gorgeous (welcomes the wii to this gen)

Dualmask
Dualmask

Make sure you go out and grab this one, true believers (provided it doesn't suck). Support third party efforts on Wii!

dragon0085
dragon0085

Yes, finally a good game for the wii, and 2d to boot!

Nomad0404
Nomad0404

Finally a game where you can play with a controller that doesn't make you shake the wii-mote like an idiot! Kudos to them.

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

Pressing up to jump belongs in head-to-head arcade fighting games and nothing else.

Skylarkell
Skylarkell

already on my list after hearing it was also by the guys who did Odin Sphere.

TeabagChampion
TeabagChampion

This game looks great!!! I think its going to be epic for the Wii!

hi-buzz
hi-buzz

2D gaming is BACK and Looking Better than ever !!!! BRING ON MORE !!!!

hi-buzz
hi-buzz

The Wii is capable of producing some of the best 2D graphics I have ever seen...this game looks freakin' gorgeous,and then there is WarioLand: shake it,another gorgeous looking Wii 2D platform game..BUT THIS GAME IS EVEN BETTER LOOKING...NOW LETS HAVE 2D UPDATES LIKE THESE WITH METROID ,CASTLEVANIA AND MARIO on the Wii...

kamuijr
kamuijr

Another must have game for the wii!

glitchgeeman
glitchgeeman

Someone say Gunstar Heroes with swords? That makes the game an instant win in my book. :D But really, I can't wait to see more of it. After Castle Crashers, I need another amazing 2D game to sate my hunger for a decent side-scroller.

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

The combos look sick. It reminds me of Gunstar Heroes (with swords). I'm looking forward to this, hope it will be the best 2D sidescroller I've played since Super metroid on The SNES.

iamian87
iamian87

I hope this eventually comes out for more than just the Wii. I must play it.

NeonNinja
NeonNinja

DO WANT! WILL GET! 'NUFF SAID!

red_sovereign
red_sovereign

this game is already on my radar...now its just gonna move further up!

D3j1k0
D3j1k0

omg, I hope they let you use a button to jump instead of the control stick.... and I really hope the characters are differnet in ways other than looks -.-

elbert_b_23
elbert_b_23

man i hope this game comes to the states it sounds great and fun

dragon7x2k
dragon7x2k

I want this game, sounds like a lot of fun, besides it's played with the classic controller, what could be better?

blacksnake16
blacksnake16

Damn, its good to hear it's still being worked on,but yea this information is just about the same thing I found out months ago. Go Vanillaware!