We're living in an age of downloadable content. Practically every game has these extra incentives to purchase that will extend or enhance the experience. It's a clear case of innundation, and we're so submerged that finding a good bit of DLC is like winning an award. Well, Vita owners just won, because they got Genroku Legends - Fishy Tales of the Nekomata for Muramasa Rebirth.
I have to admit, my initial response to Fishy Tales of the Nekomata was something along the lines of joyful squealing. There's no sense denying it, especially since the first thing I did was take a screenshot of Miike walking up to everyone to hear their thoughts and post it to Twitter with the caption, "I'm a kitty!" Still, once the cuteness overload had passed and I'd had enough of taking screenshot after screenshot of Miike and Okoi-Miike in various adorable positions, I realized that Fishy Tales of the Nekomata is really an example of everything DLC should be.
To start, it's a perfect compliment to the Muramasa Rebirth storyline. The original tales of Kisuke and Momohime are complete, and the Genroku Legends serve as an opportunity to further explore the in-game universe. Part of the magic of the game is the way mythology is intertwined into the story, with various iconic youkai tossed into real locations and even interacting with a few historical figures from the Genroku era. The Fishy Tales of the Nekomata lets us see the world beyond Kisuke and Momohime's paths, and understand other conflicts that may have been happening at that time.
It's also an opportunity to finally let Vanillaware make Muramasa Rebirth into what it was originally supposed to be. It's no secret that the company was forced to cut content from the Wii version of Muramasa: The Demon Blade, with many story and gameplay elements removed. Muramasa Rebirth and the Genroku Legends DLC is a chance to rectify that mistake and transform the title into the kind of game the developer wanted and the fans deserved.
Especially since Genroku Legends - Fishy Tales of the Nekomata plays like a full game. This isn't a one or two hour side-story. Miike's adventures as it attempts to carry out the final wishes of its owner, Okoi, aren't a simple affair. She has her own journey around Japan, a unique fighting style, and her very own training skill tree that unlocks strength and skill bonuses and extra abilities. While her story isn't as long or deep as Kisuke's or Momohime's, it's just as import and filled with original content and experiences.
There's the same level of detail and artistic design in Fishy Tales of the Nekomata as there is in the base game. Vanillaware didn't skimp. It's evident that just as much attention and affection went into the creation of Miike's story as did the rest of the game. As you play, you can see how much this DLC meant to the developer because it's so rich, and I believe that makes for a better experience for players as well.
Yet, what I like most about Fishy Tales of the Nekomata is how it encourages players to go do outside research, just like the base game. Muramasa Rebirth was inspired by Japanese folktales and history, and players will recognize most characters from literature. It's one of the few games where I've felt compelled to pause in the midst of a battle to turn to the internet and find out exactly what I've been fighting. I died the first time I sent Miike against the tanooki not because I was underleveled or unskilled, but because I had to get screenshots and look up the exact name of some of the minions. I'd share them here, but they're NSFW. Instead, I'll leave you with the thought that I'll never, ever look at a tanooki the same way again.
True, we're in a time where every PlayStation Store and Xbox Live update finds us bombarded by DLC. It's something we have to accept. Fortunately, there are content updates like Muramasa Rebirth's Genroku Legends - Fishy Tales of the Nekomata to remind us that sometimes it's worth investing some supplemental stories. Especially when it lets you fight enemies as a giant cat head made of cats.