Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae Review (XONE)

Touted as a character action game similar to Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden, Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae features neither the cool characters / settings nor the satisfying gameplay of the games it is trying to emulate.  It doesn’t even manage to be sexy or fanservice-y despite the promise of attractive Japanese schoolgirls fighting it out.  Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae is just plain boring and not really worth your time.  See our full review for details.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Zenith Blue
  • Developer: Zenith Blue
  • ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
  • Genre: Hack and Slash
  • Pros: Looks OK
  • Cons: Bad camera; boring, repetitive gameplay
  • MSRP: $12

The story in Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae features a blond schoolgirl who is being controlled by an ancient sword to do evil things and a dark haired schoolgirl who wants to stop her.  They have names, of course, but the story is mostly nonexistent after the opening cutscene, so it is easy to forget and doesn’t matter anyway. 

Gameplay is typical character action fare where you have a couple of different types of attacks – in this case martial arts and sword slashes – and using them in different button combos results in different moves.  You also have powerful special moves that use up a little meter each time you use them, so keeping the meter filled with normal attacks and then mixing in special attacks is the general rhythm of the gameplay.  Each enemy you defeat gives you points that you can use to power up your abilities or buy new ones, and you can buy these upgrades at any time during the game in the pause menu. 

That is all fairly standard stuff for the genre, but it is surprisingly boring in Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae.  Your character has no personality whatsoever and isn’t flashy or cool or interesting and the actual combat is incredibly bland and repetitive.  The game is playable as a button masher on the easiest difficulty and requires a little more strategy and smarts on tougher difficulties as different enemies have unique weaknesses you have to exploit, but either way you’re still just tapping out the same exact combos over and over and over again.  Beating up the waves of enemies isn’t satisfying because your attacks don’t feel visceral or powerful at all and totally lack impact.  Even your special attacks lack any sort of wow factor at all.  There’s no blood or dismemberment or flashy special effects or, well, anything.  The game is just boring.

The problems continue with a total lack of level design – the backgrounds change, but the actual gameplay area is simply a circular arena – and atrociously bad A.I. that doesn’t do much to fight back. Enemies, even the low level grunts, take an absurd amount of hits to take down, so you just tap tap tap away at your combos until they go limp and fade out.  Also worth noting is the lack of enemy design variety.  Just a couple of unique types that come in a few different colors to show you how strong they are.  And, finally, the camera is really awful here.  It is way too close to the action which makes avoiding enemy attacks from offscreen or simply finding enemies scattered around the battlefield more difficult than it should be.

I also have to admit that I’m a little disappointed in how little fanservice there is here.  I think it was reasonable to expect at least a little considering how the game is presented, but there is none to be found.  Well, there are lots of panty shots – your character is fighting in a skirt, after all – but I don’t consider that to be particularly titillating.  I know this paragraph doesn’t fit into the ultra PC world we live in today, but I don’t care.  Now excuse me while I return to my regularly scheduled diet of smutty anime.

Overall, Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae isn’t by any means a bad game, but it also doesn’t do anything particularly well, either.  It is the very essence of a mediocre game.  Even the one net positive I will admit, that the graphics are decent, aren’t especially impressive.  It is just bland and boring and repetitive and not really worth your time.  Skip it.