Brave Fencer Musashi
Reviewed: 01/01/2004


When we reflect on the Playstation’s RPG roster, we don’t see many action RPGs. Being one of a few, you’d hope that Brave Fencer turned out to be something special. In fact, it does just that. The game isn’t at the top of the action RPG todem pole for any specific category, but the endearing atmosphere and enjoyable gameplay make it one to remember–at least for this reviewer.

Musashi, the game’s star (who takes his name from the Japanese folk hero), packs two different swords–one for each hand–that have different abilities and levels. The more he uses each of his two weapons, the higher their levels go, just like a character. While “Lumina” is the more powerful of the swords in hand, “Fusion” can be used a bit faster, and is also the key to the “assimilation” technique, which involves stealing useful abilities from enemies (compare to blue magic in Final Fantasy games). Often times, Musashi will need to assimilate a specific skill in order to perform the action necessary to solve a puzzle and move on in the game.

Similar to a few other games, Brave Fencer Musashi has a night/day feature with constantly moving time. The environments will be bright with sunlight at noonday, while the world sleeps during the dark nights. I’ve always been a sucker for this type of thing, so the game earnes respect from me for this feature, though I know it is not unique to Brave Fencer. All the while, Musashi is under your command, but he’s got a gauge for his energy, and if it falls below 20%, he’ll start to walk more slowly and attack with lag, so you must keep him rested at the local inn, or just by giving him the command to fall asleep where he stands to regain energy. This feature is pretty cool and goes for the classic “touch of reality out of nowhere” that fantasy games always seem to squeeze in.

In addition, the game’s base town, Grillin’ Village, is one of the best towns I’ve seen in an action RPG. I highly respect a well-done RPG town; this one’s quality build, combined with the day/night feature and cool graphics (which are kinda like FF7 with slight camera rotation and more 3D effects) form gameplay that is just plain good, and as said before, is almost unchallenged on the PS. I feel I’m genuinely having a good time when playing this game.

There isn’t much of a story to speak of, but then again, it’s hard to name an action RPG that has a very deep one. It only entertains in the dialogue, and shortly after playing, you won’t be able to retell the story of Brave Fencer Musashi.

However, the music is surprisingly impressive. When you think of great game soundtracks, Brave Fencer Musashi‘s doesn’t come to mind–and it probably shouldn’t–but in the game, the music is excellent. Sound effects do nothing to stand out, but the music greatly pleases.

At this 18 or 20 hour game’s end, most players who like this RPG sub-genre will feel pleased. The graphics and music are just peachy, with a heart-warming atmosphere that makes one realize that the gameplay is just plain fun. We need more games like this.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Very Good
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Great
Story Bad
Graphics Good
Sound/Music Great
Replay Value Average
The Verdict: 7