Asura's Wrath

I'm Pissed Off So I'm Gonna Punch A Planet

Asura's Wrath is like a good roller coaster. Thing is, do you want to go back for seconds?
Author: Scott Rodgers
Published: March 22, 2012
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If you have read any of my previous reviews it’s likely that you’ll know I am not a fan of quick time events. They’re far and away one of the most annoying gameplay mechanics I can think of. Few things infuriate me more (which is fitting for this title) than putting down a controller for a split second after an intense boss fight only to see “PRESS X. HURRY. YOUR VIRTUAL LIFE DEPENDS ON THIS. AHHHHH!” pop up on the screen. So when I was told that I would be writing the review for Asura’s Wrath I thought it was some sort of sick joke. I mean, this is a game that is basically an interactive movie and it just really didn’t seem like the sort of thing I would enjoy. I thought it would be a dreadful, tedious, grating experience that would make me want to blow up Capcom’s headquarters in some fiery explosion, not unlike those that you see in this game.

Boy was I wrong.

Asura’s Wrath is unlike anything I have ever played. You’ve probably seen or read a lot of comments like that by now. The game doesn’t treat itself like your standard run of the mill title. No, instead what CyberConnect2 decided to do was go for an experience that focuses on its presentation by pushing the interactivity to the backburner. Asura’s Wrath feels and looks just like a few episodes of an anime without the commercials but with the player chipping in some to help out as needed. Everything from the “breaks” that episodes have before commercials to the previews at the end of each section is in, hell, even the credits at the beginning of each “episode” are present.

The story centers around the coverboy, Asura, and spans over 12,000 years. While that may seem like it would lead to a lengthy and meaty title, in reality it only lasts 19 episodes. Well, I should say 18 because the hidden one really only adds to the plot. Anyway, more on the episodes later, let’s get back to the plot. There were Eight Guardian Generals who battled to protect humanity from the Gohma. Just what are the Gohma you may ask? Well, basically they’re these animorph looking guys who are black and red, and Asura beats the living snot out of thousands of them. They can be anywhere from the size of a man to an elephant and even beyond that. After the Guardian Generals were victorious there was a coup done without Asura’s knowledge that assassinated the Emperor of Shikoku. The charge of murder is wrongly placed at Asura’s feet, his wife is murdered, his daughter is kidnapped, and he is banished down here to Earth.

Asura isn’t the type to feel sorry for himself, though. Oh no, as his memories come back and he begins to grasp the magnitude of the betrayal he does what any great video game hero would do: he gets really pissed off and beats the crap out of stuff (thus the “wrath” in Asura’s Wrath). This sets off a chain of events that operates almost like some sort of hit list. Asura systematically works his way through his former allies leaving a trail of blood, broken bones, and craters in his wake. Some of the battles get so large and ridiculous in scale that it gets hard to really wrap your head around just how massive things are. Asura is the size of a person and he is taking down demigods the size of planets without fail.

As I alluded to earlier, most of the battles take place with quicktime events. In higher difficulties you are punished far more for missing and the windows are shorter but overall it’s simple: see a command on the screen and do it. This leads to some incredible scenes that wouldn’t be possible otherwise but it’s still tough to shake the fact that you’re only hitting a few buttons. There are also some traditional combat sections where you built up the Burst meter by battling but these are an absolute drag. It got to the point that I was dreading these sections because things just don’t control properly.
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