Plot & Characters: 7.5/10
Brave Fencer Musashi is a refreshingly simple game to pick up and understand, as far as the story goes. You are the young reincarnation of the brave warrior Musashi, who has been summoned to the kingdom of Allucaneet by the princess Fillet. Initially put off by your small size, Fillet sends you on a quest to retrieve the blades of Luminescence and the five scrolls of power, and use those to save her kingdom from the Thirstquencher Armies. Hilarity ensues.
No really, that’s it. There are side quests that require you to free all of the missing members of the Allucaneet court, but, beyond that, you are simply tasked with saving the Kingdom.
Characters are a cute affair, with the main character, and his rival Kojiro, taken from the Japanese legends. The rest, both good and bad, are named after food, or drinks, and each have their own ‘quirks’. Characters are mostly two dimensional (Fillet is the spoiled princess, Kojiro is The Rival) but this leaves room for fun gameplay, and many laughs at the sometimes anime-esque antics of the story.
Don’t be fooled by it’s light hearted premise though, Musashi could be outright frightening at time, especially for younger children. The game is broken into chapters, and Chapter three began to take a turn for the dark. Lets just say that its a race against the clock, and it’s more than your life at stake if you fail.
As an action RPG, Brave Fencer Musashi is focused heavily on defeating one’s enemies in combat. To do this, Musashi utilizes two swords; Lumina and Fusion, each with their own unique and fun to use powers. Fusion has the power to drain enemy attacks, so they can be utilized as your own. Lumina, along with the five scrolls of earth, water, fire, wind, and sky, also grant you new elemental based abilities.
Parts of the game’s mechanics revolve around the passage of time through night and day, and the days of the week. You’ll find yourself solving more than a few puzzles that can only be done at certain times, or during certain days. Be careful though! If you don’t allow Mushashi time to rest, his actions become sluggish and lazy!
In addition to the main game, side and mini quests also make up a huge portion of the game’s appeal. My favorite portion came later in the game, where Musashi must get his DDR on to defeat one particularly annoying enemy. Dance or Die!
Musashi is also a game for the completionist in us all. Beating the main story of the game is only half the fun. Mushashi can then go back to free all of the members of court to gain additional techniques, or even collect action figures of friends and foes alike in the town’s Toy Store.
Brave Fencer Musashi’s score was composed by Tsuyoshi Sekito, in his first composition for Square and most closely resembles the background music that can be heard in many current free to play MMORPGs (a close comparison could be made between the music for this game and that of Ragnarok Online).
While mostly forgettable, the music was pleasant enough to listen to, and never so annoying or repetitive that I wished to mute the television (though a lot of the voice acting got right up to that point.) The background music for each area often changed between night and day, and the songs for Allucaneet villiage were particularly peaceful and calm.
My favorite song, by far, comes from the aforementioned DDR segment, though it was hard to enjoy while jumping around for my very life! It was repetitive, but memorable; in fact, I find myself humming it right now!
Graphics were as to be expected for an RPG of the PS1 era. Though lacking the cut scenes of Final Fantasy VII, I would rate the graphics themselves on the same level as the game play, though with a far more cartoonish, and less gritty feel. The areas were well designed, and pretty enough to look at, though, once again, not particularly ground
breaking, or fantastic. The enemy design was interesting, but only on some of the larger enemies, like the Steam Knight of chapter one. Each character had their own drawn avatar that showed up in their speech bubbles, and these were done particularly well. Though the game’s graphics were not perfect, they were not hideous, at least, for their time.
Nostalgia is responsible for much of my love for this game. Looking back, it was a cute and simple way to pass the time, with above average game play, and interesting concepts and side quests. Otherwise, Brave Fencer Musashi is nothing special to look at, or listen to. Still, I think that this is a game that everyone should play at least once, if only to see what besides the beloved Final Fantasy series SquareSoft produced before Kingdom Hearts dominated their action RPG playing field.