Review by Psycho Penguin
"One of the more interesting games from SquareSoft"
My favorite video game company of all time is SquareSoft. Never in my life have I seen such a company that could focus on mainly one genre (RPG) for so long, then delve into other genres (Einhander as a shooter, Ehreigz as a fighting game) and succeed so wildly as a result. So when I heard of the cool Playstation game made by SquareSoft named Brave Fencer Mushashi, I made sure to pick up a copy of it as soon as possible. Hearing of the amazing gameplay elements, the game reminded me of Secret of Mana, which is one of my favorite Super Nintendo games of all time.
Did the game disappoint me? Well, it disappointed me a little bit, but overall the game stands out as one of my favorite Action/RPG's on the Playstation, as well as one of my favorite Action/RPG's of all time. It may not be as fun to play as any game in the Seiken Denetesu (Secret of Mana, Legend of Mana, etc.) series, but Brave Fencer Mushashi is definitely a fun game. It may seem too childish and kiddy at first, but give it time and you will realize that it really is a pretty fun game that does have its share of flaws. Of course, every game has its flaws, so I’m not going to bash on this one for having flaws.
The graphics are on par with the usual SquareSoft quality. The game's graphics have a kind of kiddy look to them but the game still looks mighty fine. The character and enemy designs are both funny and nice looking, and the bakgrounds are very well designed. The towns each have a nice design to them, and each town and dungeon features a unique design to it which keeps you in your seat to the very end. And oh yeah, the Full Motion Videos are
Cool, as well.
Character designs in the game are pretty good. First off, I like the design of the main character in the game. His name is Mushashi, and he is a lot like your basic Japanese ninja. Well, he doesn’t have the black suit and mask or anything, but he is a ninja at heart. He basically has blue spiked hair and a regular red and white outfit. His eyes are interestingly shaped, as well. The other characters (minor ones, like shopkeepers) are designed well, also. I especially like how there is a variety of character designs in the game, and how most of them look different from one another. Overall, the character designs in the game are great.
Enemy designs in the game are top notch, as well. I especially like the boss designs in the game. For instance, the first boss in the game is a steam blower, and he looks very well designed. The only problem with him is he is made of individual polygons which connect to one another, so you can make out each individual polygon on him. Otherwise, the boss designs in the game are great. Now onto the actual enemies. Most of the actual enemies in the game are nicely designed, as well. I especially like some of the later enemies in the game, as they look different than the earlier enemies in the game. Overall, the enemy designs in the game are great, as well.
Overall, the graphics in the game are pretty good. The backgrounds in the game are colorful, but lend to the game’s childish feeling a lot. The character and enemy designs are top notch, especially Mushashi himself and some of the bosses in the game. Adding to the fun is the fact that there is little or no major graphical flaws in the game. One of the major problems I had was the camera system, as it turned a lot with only a slight tap of the L2 or R2 button. Otherwise, no major complaints.
The big thing featured in Brave Fencer Mushashi is that your main character, Mushashi, has the ability to talk, so he actually speaks in certain points of the game, as do several other characters. This is a good addition and should be welcome to all those who were pining for voice acting, but the quirky and kiddy voices can be a turn-off sometimes. Speaking of turn-off, I do wish SquareSoft added a feature where you can turn the voice acting off. The music is to the usual SquareSoft quality although some of the tunes featured in the game aren't too good.
Music in the game is the definition of a mixed bag. On one hand, you have the usual music that lives up to SquareSoft’s high standards. On the other hand, some of the tunes in the game just aren’t very good. One of the major complaints I have with the music in this game is the fact that it sounds way too kiddy for my tastes. I mean, come on, the game already seems kiddy enough, why try to add to it even more by adding some kiddy music? Thankfully, some of the music in the game is decent, and much better than the kiddy tunes featured in the game. I especially liked the boss theme of the game, as it pumped me up into getting ready to battle the boss. Overall, the music in the game is pretty good.
Sound effects in the game are pretty good, as well. The coolest part of the sound effects in the game, in my opinion, is the fact that there is voice acting in the game. Yes, the voice acting that I like to see in role playing games is featured in this game. Unfortunately, like the rest of the game, the voice acting sounds really kiddy. I especially got a good laugh when Mushashi said ''I am..Mushashi!'' Great stuff. Fortunately, if you don’t like the voice acting featured in the game, SquareSoft provided an option which allows you to turn the voice acting off at your convience. Other than the voice acting, the sound effects are your basic adventure game type, with weapons, enemies getting hit, etc. Overall, the sound effects in the game are decent.
Overall, the music and sound effects in Brave Fencer Mushashi are solid. I like the music in the game, although a lot of it does sound too kiddy for my tastes. And speaking of kiddy stuff, the voice acting in the game sounds horrible enough, as the voices sound very kiddy. Oh well, at least there is voice acting featured in the game, which I have always been a fan of.
Brave Fencer combines the action sequences of a game like Fighting Force and the RPG elements of a Final Fantasy to make a very good action/RPG. The game itself features many of the same elements of Secret of Mana, but there are a few new innovations. The coolest innovation is that your main character, Mushashi, has the ability to assimilate special skills from the enemies. This is needed in some points of the game, but thankfully the assimilate command, as well as all of the other commands, are easy to pull off.
To assimilate a special skill, just hold R2 while pressing triangle until your assimilate bar fills up, then let go and if you hit the enemy you get the skill. It also takes AP to use these skills. Another innovation is the passing of time, your character gets much more tired at night and may conk out at any time. It is a good idea to keep your character well rested. Because if you don’t keep your character well rested, he may just pass out on you at any time. There is nothing better than having your character fall asleep on you in the middle of battle.
Brave Fencer Mushashi is not your average role playing game. Think of it as a Secret of Mana hybrid and you are good to go. First off, battles take place in real time. Yes, there is none of this ''get thrust into battle against an enemy you don’t see and wait your turn to attack him''. Instead, you can see the enemies as you walk around, and engage on them in real time battle. As I have already mentioned, it is fairly easy to take their special powers. For instance, the jumping flowers can have their jumping ability stolen from them. It definitely is an innovative idea, indeed.
Overall, this game is very fun to play, and although it seems kiddy and childish at first, you soon realize that it is very fun to play indeed. There are a few innovations to the game not seen anywhere else, for instance the ability to take the enemy’s powers. There are also a lot of secrets present, which add to the replay value, as well. The game does have some flaws, like it just isn’t as fun as I expected, but overall it is a great game that is only rivaled by Legend of Mana on Playstation. The game may seem childish and kiddy, and it is for the most part, but it is still pretty fun to play, even with its flaws.
Other Important Scores
Replay Value: Medium
Brave Fencer Mushashi may not have the highest replay value of all time, but I did have a fun time playing through it the first time around. I even went back and completed it a second time just to get all of the secrets that I missed. Yes, this game features a lot of secrets, etc, which allow you to want to play the game, until you get them all. For instance, there is a doll shop, and you can try to get all the different kind of dolls. The game just does not have the drawing power that I would have liked, however. Yes, I did play through the game twice. But I do not want to play through the game anymore. The game was fun to play through, but I just don’t feel like playing through all of it again. Adding to the fun is the top selling point, the secrets, I already got. Overall, the replay value in the game is pretty good, for a while.
This is not the most challenging game of all time, but the game does provide a decent challenge, especially when it comes to doing all the side events, like getting all of the dolls in the doll shop. Also, the game is quite large, much larger than I expected it to be. Some of the bosses in the game are quite challenging, as well, but they can be defeated quite easily once you figure out the bosses various patterns. I expected the game to be a medium challenge, and it turns out I was correct, as it was just an average challenge. Overall, the challenge in the game is decent.
-There is a lot of innovations in the game, including being able to steal enemy powers.
-The game makes good use of a clock, as daylight and night time are featured in the game.
-There are a lot of secrets in the game, which add to the replay value greatly.
-The game just isn’t that fun to play, I expected it to be more fun.
-The camera system in the game is wacky, to say the least.
-The game does have a very childish feel to it.
Overall, Brave Fencer is an oustanding Action/RPG from the masterminds at SquareSoft. With an unique blend of quality platform action and solid RPG elements, Brave Fencer Mushashi is a recommended purchase. This game is very fun to play, and although it seems kiddy and childish at first, you soon realize that it is very fun to play indeed. There are a few innovations to the game not seen anywhere else, for instance the ability to take the enemy’s powers. There are also a lot of secrets present, which add to the replay value, as well. The game does have some flaws, like it just isn’t as fun as I expected, but overall it is a great game that is only rivaled by Legend of Mana on Playstation. The game may seem childish and kiddy, and it is for the most part, but it is still pretty fun to play, even with its flaws.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/02/00, Updated 07/16/01
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