Game Review: Asura’s Wrath
Developer: CyberConnect 2
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
ESRB Rating: T
The Eight Guardian Generals have been disbanded. With Asura banished from his rank and state as one of the defenders of the world, labeled a traitor by his former allies. With his family at stake, Asura must make his way back up to his former home, fighting through armies of the demonic Gohma ruining the planet. His wrath will not be sated.
Asura’s Wrath is a unique game in many aspects. Visually and conceptually, it’s a mix of God of War and Dragonball Z, with a hint of modern Final Fantasy. Asura and his enemies fly at each other with insane speed and strength; many times, Asura will destroy someone dozens of times larger than himself, constantly sprouting extra arms to take care of the issue at hand, pun intended. Designs are a mix of Dragonball Z and Final Fantasy, with much of the ships, suits, and other designs seemingly ripped from the world of Square Enix.
Gameplay takes from all different styles of gaming. At some parts, the game plays like Space Harrier or Star Fox, rapid-firing lasers and firing homing missiles. Asura might be falling from a ship or running down a corridor, but the game plays largely the same; move the reticle and fire at whatever enemy you’re tacking down. Others, and more predominantly, Asura takes down monsters with fast paced close range attacks, long-range blasts, and all-around attacks to keep everyone off you. Finally, the game heavily stresses quick time events, using both analog sticks and the face buttons, to play out the story.
The presentation of the game is easily the highest point of its production. Instead of levels or a hub or such, the game is presented as episodes of a TV show. The first part of each episode has credits, the episode title, and midway through, it cuts away for commercials (much like watching a show on DVD, it has the bumpers, but no actual commercials). When the episode ends, there’s a “to be continued” tag, and a preview of the next episode. At the end of each segment of episodes, or storyline, the full credits for that arc roll, and once you beat an episode, you can just sit back and watch it. Even then, most episodes are about 20-30 minutes long, so you can sit down, play an episode, and get back to the real world.
This is the debatable portion, and it comes about how to review the game. If you look at it as a game, it’s more playable than any recent Final Fantasy games (where you just hit X to win). Yet, when it comes to actual gameplay, it’s simple “keep attacking until you figure out what sort of strategy you have”. Many times, your best (and only) bet is to attack until your Burst gauge is filled, allowing Asura to do a cinematic defeat of the enemy. If you look at is as an interactive story, it’s a fun and over-the-top television series. There’s something to be said about feeling pumped as Asura runs past demons, punches the ground to fly up and destroy an armada of invading warships, and feeling as if you’re helping him out on the journey. It’s a unique game, or it’s a unique interactive television series; neither answer is right.
Asura’s Wrath is a unique title that there deserves to be more of. Much like Katawa Shoujo, Corpse Party, and other titles that break the conventions of gaming, it might not be perfect, but it challenges the status quo, and it’s a fun ride. Unlike other titles based on actual Japanese cartoons, this gets the vibe of some of the shows down pat, and is more immersive than the others. Still, when judged as an actual game, the action can be repetitive and monotonous, and quick time events, while used appropriately in this game, still have legions of detractors. It’s a fresh breath in a world where games are trying to break the mold; this is a game that’s pure story, without collectibles, leveling up, or anything to hinder it other than the player’s pass or fail attempts at defeating the bad guys.
- Incredibly unique story-telling method
- Repetitive when it comes to actual gameplay
- Great for slow bursts of gaming
Final Score: 7 out of 10