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Musashi: Samurai Legend PlayStation 2

Published by Atari
Developed by Square Enix
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

Musashi: Samurai Legend, an introduction.

It's seems rather odd that Musashi: Samurai Legend has arrived in Europe given that it's the sequel to Brave Fencer Musashi, a game that was only released in the US and Japan. Then again Musashi: Samurai Legend isn't the usual type of game we see from Square Enix. Musashi: Samurai Legend is an action RPG that feels very lightweight in comparison to many of the other Square Enix titles that we've seen.

What's the game about?

In a distant land a new Nebulium engine has been invented by a man name Gandrake. To power this engine the mineral Nebulite is needed. However it's discovered that to make the most of it magic has to be added during the extraction process. Magic can't be provided by Gandrake and his people so they attack Antheum, home of the Mystics, who are gifted in the magical arts. Out of fear the Princess Mycella of the Mystics casts a spell to call forth a hero. She's barely had time to finish the spell when she's taken captive. Whilst she's unaware of it, the spell actually worked and a young Samurai called Musashi has been summoned. Unfortunately though he doesn't arrive in the correct location but soon enough he arrives in Antheum and learns what needs to be done.

What's good about the game?

Those of you who like a light hearted approach to your RPG games might find Musashi: Samurai Legend appealing. For a Square Enix game it's a fairly lightweight RPG that uses a real-time combat system and it's probably not the most complicated real-time combat system you'll encounter in a game of this nature. The combat system is fairly straightforward with the usual quick attack, strong attack, block and jump moves being available. Musashi has a trick up his sleeve though. When fighting certain enemies he can duplicate (that is to say copy and learn) his opponents special moves and then use them himself. This is a rather nice feature and whilst some of the moves Musashi will learn aren't that useful, quite a few of them are. In true RPG style Musashi will gain experience and eventually level up. Compared to most RPGs the levelling up process is a simplified one but nevertheless you can tailor Musashi's abilities to suit your own style. Musashi has the ability to not only pick up certain characters but also the ability to fight whilst holding the character. Musashi can either bump his passenger into the enemy or he can throw his passenger up in the air and whilst temporarily relieved of his passenger's weight he can perform a strong spin attack on his enemy. Of course he can also put his passenger down and take out the enemy in the usual fashion too. In addition to the combat there's a small amount of platforming to be done and puzzles to be solved. Musashi will also encounter various citizens of Antheum on his travels and he'll have to rescue them by freeing them from cylindrical protective pods that they have placed themselves in.

What's not so good about the game?

The biggest problem with Musashi: Samurai Legend is that it is very repetitive. The various stages in the game require you to hack your way through a variety of enemies that present you with little challenge. The boss fights are more substantial but even here the challenge is not great and very few of them will require you to reattempt the fights. There's a fair amount of backtracking to be done at times and what makes this really aggravating is that the enemies respawn so you'll have to hack 'n' slash your way through them all again. This is great for levelling up of course but it really increases the tedium of it all. Even the parts where Musashi manages to be riding a vehicle such as a motorbike you'll still have to contend with the repetitive combat which kind of makes these elements a waste of time as they offer little, if any, variation.

How does it look?

Like many games in recent years, Musashi: Samurai Legend has adopted the cel-shaded look and all things considered it doesn't look bad at all. What you will notice though is that the outline of the characters has been done with really thick lines and it's a technique that the developers have called 'Manga Shading.' Indeed the game does have a kind of comic book look about it and even with the amount of cel-shaded games about it does look quite distinctive. Whist the game isn't really that fast paced the frame rate can drop significantly from time to time which is disappointing even though it doesn't cause any real problems.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Deaf gamers shouldn't have any problems with Musashi: Samurai Legend. All of the game is subtitled by default which means you'll be able to follow the storyline and all the dialogue in the game which is excellent. Tutorials tips are shown in text too. When you attack enemies you're shown numeric values that inform you of how much damage you've caused. Like most RPGs the music will change to signify impending battles and there's no visual representation of this but in all honesty it doesn't really cause any problems.

Final thoughts.

Let's be honest here and say that Musashi: Samurai Legend definitely isn't one of Square Enix's premier titles. It's not a game where you'll be spending 50+ hours on your first play through (you won't even get 20 hours out of the game) and it's probably not a game you'll replay as there's no real advantage in doing so given that there's nothing different you could so the second time around apart from levelling up Musashi's abilities in a different way. Completing the game does make a hard difficulty mode available (only easy and normal are initially available) so if you wanted to play through again with more of a challenge you can do so. As an RPG it's nothing special then but fans of hack 'n' slash action games might find Musashi more pleasing. Even then though it gets far too repetitive and might not provide enough of a challenge to a seasoned hack 'n' slash gamer.


Overall Game Rating: 6.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Not the best Square Enix game we've seen but it's a decent hack 'n' slash action RPG. Can get quite repetitive though and having respawning enemies can be irritating.