Sunday, January 10, 2010
This fuzzy photograph of my CRT TV displays possible the most gorgeous vista from what I regard as the most beautiful game I’ve played in my life: Muramasa The Demon Blade on Wii. Good looking 2D games are dead – the ocean of twin-stick shooters and crappy whatever else available on download services look awful – and Muramasa (also possibly A Boy and His Blob) are the last vestiges of quality 2D art. As long as you play it on an old CRT – it loses so much when played on an HD TV.
This area, a demonic battlefield in Kisuke’s story, has no fewer than 10 layers of parallax scrolling, about 3 or more which are transparent, and the transparencies stack on top of each other with a stunningly rich sunset as their ultimate backdrop. There are animations as flags and material ripple in the wind, some containing rips, and all scrolling past each other in an exquisite way which defies words. Modern 2D games either take the lazy approach of being 3D polygonal, or if they do use sprites do so cheaply with flat backgrounds and animationless characters. I'd long given up on seeing such effort put into a 2D game.
Muramasa seems to have taken a battering on Metacritic, scoring 81 overall, which is such a shame. Besides being a stunning revival of a dying skill, because I’m having concerns as to where the world’s 2D artists have gone, its one-stick-one-button gameplay is purity itself. A friend likened it to Commodore 64 games, where developers had to make intelligent use of limited inputs, and mastering the system makes it a joy to use. I love the combat. I love how free flowing and graceful it is, especially now that I’ve perfected my technique.
Such a pity so few reviewers felt this way. Shame on you.
Posted by Sketcz at 11:51 AM