With From Software's vast experience in the giant robot genre, you would expect a game like Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit to at least meet the standards of previous games in From Software's library, which includes numerous games in the Armored Core mech action series. But this simply isn't the case. While Murakumo succeeds in delivering an excellent sense of speed when you're chasing after enemies in massive cities or other environments, it fails to do anything worthwhile beyond that. The controls can be unresponsive as well as quite cumbersome, and the gameplay mechanics are just so simplistic that the game loses your attention within a matter of minutes. In addition, the missions in the game (which are all quite similar) usually boil down to using the right mech for the right job and don't necessarily require a high level of skill.
Indeed, just about every mission in Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit revolves around chasing some sort of enemy mech or aircraft around an environment dotted with all sorts of obstacles, and the fact that you're free to fly around in any direction is quite intriguing--at least until you realize that the game probably would have been more enjoyable if it were on rails. Not only do these enemies go along a specified path, but if you try to fly in the opposite direction or take some sort of alternate route through the environment that causes you to lose track of the enemy for too long, the mission automatically ends, indicating that the target has been lost. Obviously, this was meant to place emphasis on the high-speed aspects of the game, forcing you to keep pace with the enemy target at all times, but it also makes the game feel far more linear than it should.
There are five different mechs in the game, each of which has different ratings in attack power, mobility, accuracy, speed, and defensive capabilities. However, these ratings are largely worthless because all of the mechs in Murakumo are completely awful. These are perhaps the weakest, most underpowered, and worthless group of giant robots found in any game of this sort to date, and what makes it worse is that each is equipped with only two different kinds of weapons, one of which is usually rendered worthless during a mission. If there were some sort of team-oriented giant robot action in this game (something similar to Voltron) then their weak abilities might have been justifiable, but you'll gain very little, if any, enjoyment out of piloting these mechs.
Even if you're deliberately trying to stay behind the enemy's smoke trails, Murakumo's unresponsive controls will help you veer off course and lose sight of the target. For some unknown reason, the mechs in this game only like to be steered horizontally and vertically, so if you try to steer them in any direction that's a combination of those two, you'll find yourself fighting the control pad. Even something as simple as firing a primary weapon has been botched in Murakumo, since it takes a split second or so for the game to register that you pressed the primary fire button--as you can imagine, this is incredibly problematic for a game that relies so heavily on speed and the ability to maneuver in between obstacles.
Unfortunately, Murakumo doesn't win any points for its visual presentation. The texture quality in the game is relatively low, and the detail level on the mechs and enemies is woefully disappointing. The special effects are also kept at a really low level, with some reflective surfaces featured on the mechs, basic dynamic lighting during the night missions (which also show some horrible spotlight effects), and some heat-distortion effects--none of which appears to be pushing the Xbox hardware. The frame rate tends to jump around a little bit when you make turns, but for the most part it does remain solid, which is impressive when considering how fast the game moves, but less so when you see how bad it looks.
The sound in Murakumo is pretty standard for a game of this type. The soundtrack is made up mostly of generic guitar riffs, and there's nothing that really stands out. The voice acting isn't horrible, but voice actors' performances don't do anything to give the game some added personality.
Murakumo might seem like a highly entertaining game at first, but it is in fact one of the worst games to come out for the Xbox this year. All of the missions in the game (even the ones that you can unlock by completing Murakumo's main mode) grow incredibly tiresome, not only because they're mostly identical but also because the mechs themselves are so poorly designed. Replay value shouldn't be a concern for most since you'll probably stop playing the game after a few missions anyway, never to see Murakumo again. If you're looking for some giant robot action, go pick up MechAssault instead.