Saturday, June 29, 2013

Game Diary - still Muramasa.

I think that's it.  I think that's my perfect Momohime Vs. Samurai screen.  It'd be more-ideal if they were more symmetrical on the screen, but overall it really works.  They're both in combat animations (getting Momohime up to run speed so she holds the blade over her shoulder before the samurai crosses the screen is a real challenge), the rice fields in the foreground, the woods beyond, the colors of the sunset on the clouds, the windswept tree... yeah.  I can dig it.

That works.

Momohime goes to Hell.

Last night I blitzed through the last half of Momohime's campaign, getting her first ending.  She and Kisuke each have three - dependent on the swords you wield going in to the final battle.  The swords necessary for the second ending are only given to the player once they beat both Kisuke and Momohime's campaigns (about eight hours each), but the player can easily defeat the campaigns at around level 40.  The swords that must be used for the second ending are then unlocked, but the player can only wield them when their Strength and Endurance stats are around 100 each - about level 50 - so I warped around the map with Momohime, beat some of Kisuke's bosses (you can go where the other character went, and fight the bosses they fought - a nice touch), leveled her up and returned to get the second ending.

What's really cool is I find each ending equally satisfying.  Her first ending is a delicious close to her relationship with Jinkuro, but Ending 2 plays a bit further with it and goes to a happier place.  They riff on the same emotion and the same conclusion of how the relationship's grown, but you're... I don't know, happier for everyone

I love how crazy the plot gets.

I don't often become really attached Vita games.  Perhaps their portable nature kind of encourages the player to easily walk away - or perhaps, as with PS3 games, saturation has taken its toll on my heavy gamer heart - but Muramasa feels like it's achieved the kind of long-term affection few Vita games can.  Games like Guacamelee and Gravity Rush.

Momohime goes to Heaven

I am now in the process of exploring every nook and cranny of Muramasa's mini-Japan, defeating all the optional Demon Caves and leveling Momohime up to 99 so she can wield the ultimate blade which I think is called the Oboro Muramasa, but I can't be sure because you don't see a weapon's name until you have it forged.

I keep thinking of that scene in Kill Bill where Hatsuo Hanzo presents The Bride with her custom sword.  "If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut."

I am gonna' get that sword, and see just how far this road goes.

I am gonna' platinum this game.  Or try to, anyway.

...which isn't a feeling I often get.  The last time I got it was for Guacamelee, where I'm only one trophy shy of the platinum.  The Vita version insists I haven't beaten it on hard mode (which is bullshit - but maybe it was on PS3), but that's more of a pleasure than a chore, so I can't hold it against it.

No, I'm gonna' enjoy this.  Might even give the next couple of Shahid's indies a pass, unless something really interesting like Stealth Bastard or Lone Survivor show up.

From the ending credits - another great header option.

I've gotten more use out of my Vita lately than I did when the platform launched - and it was a pretty dense launch lineup, with Rayman and Uncharted and a good half-dozen must-see titles.  Lately though, with just Guacamelee, Hotline Miami, a curiosity about a lot of interesting games on the platform (Rymdkapsel, WipEout, Atelier) and now Muramasa, I really feel like the Vita has achieved the potential I felt it had when I first laid hands on it.

Occasionally on message boards, on Twitter, in the comments sections of the enthusiast press, I'll see comments wondering why on Earth anyone suggests that the Vita isn't a phenomenal handheld - and I always have the same answer:

"If someone doesn't love the Vita, I have to posit it's because they don't have a Vita."

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