While the Xbox One has received a wide range of budget titles since release, we’ve not seen a lot of true arcade hack’n’slash titles, With Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae things are about to change.
Mitsurugi (as we’ll lovingly use to refer to this very Japanese title) doesn’t try to break any new ground, instead it aims for pure arcade thrills, from the very brief 2 minute tutorial through to the fast paced waves of enemies with minimal story-line in between it’s all about the action, but for arguments sake I will point out we do have a bit of story-line underneath.
You play a young Japanese school girl called Misa who’s a blade templar searching for the legendary Demon blade, which just so happens to be held by her friend and class-mate Suzuka.
The power of the blade has consumed Suzuka and summoned a wealth of demonic enemies for you to battle.
Soon after this short intro you begin wave 1, and a few human like enemies appear, you begin bashing various buttons, X is a standard hand-to-hand attack which will increase your Katana gauge, and the Y button performs a stronger Kitana attack which then depletes the gauge.
As you take down a few enemies, you’ll notice red rings gather around your weapon and pulling the Right Trigger will activate Zanshin which captures the essence from your weapon and refills your health and Katana gauge as well as dealing damage and stunning any enemies that have taken enough damage to knock them into a bleeding state (flashing red), there’s also a powerful charge move called the Holy Technique which can charge quicker wit a tap of the RB button, this deals damage to any enemies within range, and can be used most effectively directly after Zanshin.
After a few waves of enemies you’ll quickly be onto some of the tougher robot type enemies who require far more hits, before long you’ll be knocking one into a bleeding state, followed by Zanshin, then the charged Holy Technique before doing the same with the next enemy, and continuing hitting, stunning and moving through the wave, this seems the most effective way of battling the majority of enemies and sadly leaves the game feeling incredibly repetitive before you’ve completed wave 5 and met the first boss.
Thankfully there’s reason to continue, and while the first boss is recycled later on in the game, you’ll find the varied attack patterns a welcome change of pace, and while not too tough, these guys are far more challenging that the majority of enemies you’ll come across.
Within a few hours, you’ll probably be nearing completion, Within 3 hours I’d breezed through easy mode and made my way half-way through the not much tougher normal mode, and while it’s a slightly bigger challenge, there is an upgrade system, which will be required, but once you push your health bar to maximum and open a few more combo’s you’ll find what started to feel challenging now feels far too easy, and the SP required to unlock these upgrades seems to come far too quickly, you won’t unlock everything in one play-through, but you’ll open more than enough to make the second run far easier even on a higher difficulty
The upgrades do have their benefits though, and make combat even more fluid, before long you’ll even be trying specific combo’s rather than just bashing a similar combination of buttons, but unfortunately there’s not enough variation to make most people play past the first play-through, even the less than exciting costume you receive as a reward doesn’t do anything to make the rather simple textured Japanese school girls any more appealing.
Sadly graphically it’s not on par with most titles available, while it’s a port of a PC game, it looks quite dated, and the graphics, and sound both match the more than a decade old arcade era.