This is the third and final part of my three-part Muramasa review. [Part 1] [Part 2]
I wondered if the game would be interesting for both high and low-level players if having sword choices matter in more gross ways. For example, if enemies had broad elemental weaknesses (acid, fire, ice, wind etc.) that gave you big advantages or disadvantage when pairing certain weapons against them, then you could give the player several interesting choices without requiring new core combat animations or AI. Since the main character can carry three weapons, the player could equip three different weapons advantageous against three different elemental types, or perhaps offer stacked bonuses for equipping three of the same type of weapon. Now each battle could be based around a single weakness or multiple weaknesses, and having a sword break (they recharge when using another sword, FYI) or not break means more to the outcome of play. Having skill to overcome a weakness in your equipment is now still valuable for the high-end player, but a low-end player can still overcome the problem through interesting choice and advancement. Additionally, you can add inherent bonuses rewards for defeating enemies with the element they are strong against to encourage (but not require) high-end play. Tons of options then become available to the designers, including advancement parsed between swords and elements, between purchasable advancement and drops, and with lots of variables added (base swords vs. swords with upgrades, swords with slots for elemental upgrades, food used to raise element levels or grant elemental bonuses, etc.).
Perhaps many of these thoughts may not have worked in practice. Regardless, I applaud the designers for making a high-end game that was deeply enjoyable when limiting yourself (or when the challenges happened to be exceptionally hard). I loved Muramasa, but wished it had more to offer in the "easy to learn" part of "easy to learn and hard to master." I wonder if the game would have been better served by limiting itself to the "hard to master" audience, and truly wish I could recommend the game it as much as I enjoyed it.