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Musashi Samurai Legend

Developer: Square Enix | Publisher: Square Enix
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 03/15/05 | Genre: Action/RPG

Back during the later years of the PlayStation's life, Square brought us a mysterious new title called Brave Fencer Musashi. The game as fun and was one of the first titles to move Square from their normal franchises. It may have been a few years since we last saw Musashi but he is finally back on the PlayStation 2 in an all new adventure.

A few years ago, the big industry buzz word was cel shading. Since then, several games have gone on to use the method in creating their titles. Square Enix has refined this visual style in a new form they call Manga Shading. Manga Shading is essentially the same thing as cel shading but with a Japanese Manga flare. This graphical style gave the developers freedom to be creative in the remaking of Musashi for the PS2. Instead of looking like he did before, Musashi now sports a long, zig-zagging hair style that looks like something straight out of a Japanese Anime.

The game starts off with Musashi being summoned into a world full of chaos. He has to destroy the enemies, rescue a princess, and save the world in order to be able to travel back home. To help him accomplish these goals, Musashi will come equipped with a Katana and a series of larger blades that he will obtain as he progresses through the game. The two swords are used to string combos together and, most importantly, look cool in the process. Why would anyone want to defeat one their enemies with one sword when using two looks so darn cool?

Besides performing combos, players can focus their energy on learning moves from enemies. This is all painlessly performed by hitting the square button just as an enemy strikes you. After this, you can use their moves. Unfortunately, this does require an enemy to use their moves on you before you can learn them. Sometimes enemies won't use their moves and it can get frustrating waiting for them to attack you. I would have preferred Square just let you learn new moves after defeating certain enemies or achieving some other goal.

Musashi Samurai Legend is not a difficult title. While learning the moves of your enemy is a great idea, players will find that their basic attacks will usually provide all the damage they need to exact on their mortal enemies. Also, if you die while fighting a boss, you can continue the fight at the boss. This, unfortunately, removes all sense of urgency you normally have when fighting a boss. Sometimes going through the same ten minute cinema over and over again can be enough of an impetus to fight your butt off.

While the latest incantation of the Musashi series is not a disaster, I found this update to be a little lackluster. Players will be able to get through this game in around ten hours and can unlock a "hard mode." But once you play through the game there is little reason to go back and play it at a higher difficulty level. I am normally a huge fan of Square titles but I suggest that you rent this title before making a purchase.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 03/24/05
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Violence
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Screenshots for Musashi Samurai Legend

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