It’s easy to imagine that many people could get a really good impression of a game from the first few hours. Whether you’re watching a trailer or playing a demo or borrowing a game, first impressions are essential to selling a game. Brave Fencer Musashi is a game that makes one of the strongest first impressions I’ve seen. It’s a solid enough intro to a game and if it had gotten better from there, I would have no complaints, but that’s not the case.
The Role You Play
You play as the the titular Musashi. You learn just nearly everything about him within the first thirty minutes or so, from how to use his weapons, to how to absorb enemies and steal their abilities, to how to navigate the 3D world. The first impression is very solid with some very straightforward tutorials that lead up to a stage where you climb up a tower, grab a second sword, run down the side of a tower while being chased by a rolling stone head and end up having to fight a giant steam knight boss.
The story begins with Princess Fillet of the Alucaneet Kingdom and several of her aides summoning Musashi from a parallel world. They give him a sword called Fusion and recruit him to help acquire another Sword called Lumina and five scrolls to make the sword more powerful. After recovering the Lumina sword, a henchmen of the thirstquencher empire abducts the princess. At that point, it is up to Musashi to find the five scrolls in order to unlock the full power of Lumina and use that power to rescue the princess and bring peace to the Allucaneet Kingdom.
At its core, Brave Fencer Musashi is an action RPG, but there are a lot of platforming and puzzle elements thrown in, as well as a slew of other things. All of the different elements constantly keep you guessing and figuring out what to do next, but it is remarkably inconsistent. The fact that the game is both a platformer and an RPG means that there is a lot of leniency with attempting to make it through a lot of the game’s more arduous sections. There are a lot of difficult platforming sections where you have to traverse obstacles, battle through enemies and try to solve puzzles along the way. These hazards will chip away at your health, but you have numerous options to heal, including items you can buy in town and health drops from defeated enemies. The issue comes from the dungeons in the game being very long and bizarre to the point of really testing your patience.
Brave Fencer Musashi has it’s share of frustrating moments in terms of trying to figure out where to go and what to do. You do unlock new abilities and access new areas regularly, and figuring out how much or how little of that to make use of is tough and can pad the play time out quite a bit. That being said, in total, the game is about 15 hours long in total.
There are a lot of different, diverse locations in this game and there is a satisfactory soundtrack to go along with all of them. There is a track for a mine, a snow palace, to the top of a mountain, and about four different tracks for the town. This game takes you on a wild rollercoaster of an adventure and has a very satisfactory soundtrack to go along with it.
The game uses a clock feature to ke track of the in-world time. A lot of events revolve around the time, such as the sun setting and rising, businesses opening and closing, and certain wild animals appearing and disappearing. Musashi also gets tired the longer he goes without resting. He has the option of resting at the town in or just taking a nap in the middle of the ground wherever he happens to be.
The Talking Parts
One of the most peculiar things about the game is the voice acting, or the lack thereof. Early on, you are given the task of rescuing thirty-five townspeople, but very few of them have any spoken lines of dialogue. Most of the shopkeepers have about one or two lines of dialogue, and it’s usually just when you enter or leave the shop. It’s just very jarring to hear such sparse dialogue. The dialogue in the game has a strange tendency to switch between spoken and non-spoken in the same scene. Musashi’s dialog is okay, and he’s played well by voice actress Mona Marshall, but the pacing of Musashi’s conversations can be inconsistent due to the Playstation’s bizarre loading time.
Z…We’ve reached The End…Anything Else?
If you run out of health and die, you will lose a lot of progress. The only way to save your game and prevent losing your progress is at the town inn. There are also memory boxes scattered in various places throughout the dungeons, but all they do is serve as checkpoints in case you die, and they take away half your money if you use them. This means that your only option for saving your progress and quitting the game is the town inn. For a game that takes on as much of a scope as it does and takes you on a big adventure through a rather large sprawling world, it becomes limited in how far you can go because you constantly have to return to the only village in the game to restock your items and save the game.
Brave Fencer Musashi feels like it tried to do a bunch of things, but bit off way more than it could chew. The action, platforming and RPG elements don’t mesh well and a lot of the ideas are either too simple or aren’t as refined as they should be.
Final Score: 6/10