Sunday, August 10, 2014

Completionist 2014: Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae

Another one bites the dust. This time I took on Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae. Yayyyy Humble Japan Bundle. Your games are all so fucking short. I mean really, it took me less than an hour to beat it. Thank god I got it in a bundle. I mean, I like having these short games to bump up my score. But, this one felt almost the most hollow out of them all(so far).

Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae (Fuck it I'm not spelling that out again. I'm doing the 'Murican abbreviation to MKH), appears on the surface to be a third person sword action swing killing slash slash fest of the likes of Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden. And you know, the more I think about it, it KINDA is. If you boiled down the game flow down to its most basic elements, MKH is almost identical to those AAA games. Your character fights against waves of enemies that spawn out of thin air. Killing them without taking a hit increases a combo meter which rewards more Special Points(SP) which is used to upgrade your character's skills, health, or Magic(Katana in MKH's case). You repeat this X amount of times until you face a boss. Then you repeat this process until you get to a last boss which may have multiple forms.

I have to give MKH a lot of credit in the combat system. It starts out pretty clunky and limits you to only a few attacks. Honestly, I felt that it was a bit too clunky and limited. But once you complete the first level, you gain access to upgrade your abilities and learn new attacks. This let you add a bunch of attacks that greatly improve the system. There was a good variety of attacks that all seemed pretty cool, but you really had no idea how well they will perform in combat until you spend the points to get them. I fell back on my tried and true, GET ONE SKILL AND SPAM THE SHIT OUT OF IT TILL YOU WIN strategy. Granted, it is usually not the best strategy in this type of game, but I found one that works. Holynub protip: Get the dashing slash thing and upgrade the fuck out of it. When its maxed out (which really doesn't take a lot) you will just out maneuver all enemies and sidestep majority of all their attacks. Dodging attacks appears to be the best way to avoid any incoming damage in MKH. There is a block/counter feature, however I rarely found myself in a position where it would work. I think I've countered an attack once in my whole play-through. Your SP resources(called your Katana Gauge) is regenerated by performing unarmed attacks. This SP is used for all attacks that require your sword, including the all encompassing dash slash win move.

MKH also has a few "Cool looking" combat mechanics built in. Enemies that are damaged beyond a certain threshold will begin to blink red and start to bleed. Bleeding enemies are susceptible to an arena wide attack(Zanshin) that deals massive damage to them while also regenerating health and restoring MP. There is no cool down on this ability, so you can spam it if you want. However, you are not invincible when performing the technique and it does leave you vulnerable while casting it (about .5 seconds). To make best use of your Zanshin, you should damage all enemies until they're in a bleeding state, then spam Zanshin to clear the board. However, you can also forgo the Zanshin and continue to dash slash your way to a ridiculously high combo, leaving the Zanshin for only when you need to heal or regenerate your SP. There's a charge attacks called Holy Trinity. These require you to hold an attack for a few seconds and usually has multiple levels of charge. You can forgo the charge by pressing a button which burns a big chunk of your SP in place of time. These attacks are basically frontal ranged slashes that deal a lot of damage. I could never get the hang of them, and quite frankly, I never really felt the need to use them.

AAA games will progress the level by making you traverse through a map and deal with different combinations of enemies in different types of terrain. Maybe you'll be running on a rooftop, BAM! You're now falling and running around a village dealing with horses and shit. Wow that's awesome! What does MKH do? MKH forgoes the terrain changes and puts you in a static arena. On every level, the setting of the arena changes but there are no obstacles. You're basically fighting in a big open circle every time. The outer wall of the arenas don't even provide any type of environmental interaction of knocking enemies off the ledges or anything. Just a big invisible wall.

The plot is super generic and paper thin. Somehow, this schoolgirl is an heir to the Mitsurugi demon killing clan. Her best friend SOMEHOW gets a hold of a demon sword which makes her evil. So these demons pop up out of nowhere and its up to her to kill them in these big circle arena places that are randomly placed in Japan. That's it. Two characters. The demons don't even get a personality or anything. They're just, "Blah I'm a demon. Let me try to slash at you." At least in AAA games they throw some absurdly convoluted story line at you. Something to keep you interested in progressing the story. But not MKH. This game makes a complete zip-line from beginning to fighting the main boss in under 5 stages. Anything interesting happen in the in-between stages? Nope. Nothing. Just more "Oh hay there's demons here. Kill them." They couldn't even throw us a goddamn bone in trying to give a crap about these characters. Which kinda sets my feeling about this game in general.

The character models on the main character and her friend are pretty well done. Almost... A bit... Too well done... You can kinda see what they were really trying to focus on. DEMOGRAPHICS. Look at how short dat skirt is. Yup. The fan service is strong with this one. Granted, its nowhere near the levels of something like Vanguard Princess or DOA: Xetreme. But for a game that is as bare bones as it is, you can clearly tell what they were trying to focus on more. Although the models do look good, and the combat animations are pretty well done, the cut scene animations are pretty pathetic.

I really can't hate on this game too much though. It is a Doujin game made by indie developers for the Comic Market (Komike). The Japanese doujin game scene is very different from the western indie game scene. I felt like there was some thought that was put into this game, and it was executed fairly well. If this was put out about 10 years ago, it would rival that of some AAA titles of that time. But when it all comes down to it, I wouldn't pay $10 for it. You MAY get about an hour of entertainment from it. Part of a bundle, yeah that works well. $10 straight up, no thanks. Maybe sub $5 I could go for it.


>SCORE = -60


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