E3 2013 Impressions: Muramasa Rebirth (Sony PlayStation Vita)

Muramasa: The Demon Blade was something of an overlooked title on the Nintendo Wii. It had the misfortune of being released on a console where third party titles generally don’t sell very well. Also regretful is the limitations of the platform not allowing the 2D art style to shine to the degree that it should. Muramasa Rebirth is a second chance for Vanillaware’s side-scrolling hack-and-slash to reach a new audience, as well as give Vita owners a new title worth checking out.

Muramasa Rebirth is an enhanced Vita port of the original Wii release, which means all of the gameplay is relatively unchanged. So if you’ve already taken the original release for a spin, then you should feel right at home with this edition. One of the main draws of the game was collecting each of the title’s 108 swords and discovering their effects as you alternated between them in the midst of combat. Perhaps the most obvious improvement is the visuals. If you’ve seen trailers of the way Dragon’s Crown plays on either the Vita or PlayStation 3, then you already know the full potential of a Vanillaware title when displayed in HD. This is how Muramasa was meant to look. Now if only Grand Knights History could get the Vita treatment.

Despite being on the Vita platform, you don’t have to worry about touchscreen controls being shoehorned into the experience. While you can use the touchscreen to navigate menus, the core of the game is played with the buttons, and all of them are customizable. There’s even a button assigned for jumping now (as you had to push up on the Wii version if you wanted to jump). Rebirth is also being given a new translation by Aksys, so if you had difficulty following along with the adventures of Momohime and Kisuke in the Ignition release, there should hopefully be improvements in this area.

Finally, four new characters and scenarios will be available as DLC upon release. Since this new content was not apart of the demo I played nor was there any information disclosed as to the details of it, I really can’t say much about it. Though if you like Muramasa or Vanillaware titles in general, it certainly couldn’t hurt to have the opportunity to get more of it. Muramasa Rebirth will be releasing in both a standard edition and a collector’s edition (which includes a Vita face cover, skin, pouch, and a framed lithograph) on June 25th, 2013.



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