From the moment I saw the first videos to Asura’s Wrath, I knew that it’s a game I NEED to play. The over-the-top action, the gameplay and the pure wrath and destruction was something I wanted to experience. Now I finally got the chance and I’m left wondering ”What did I just play?”
The story follows Asura, one of the eight guardian generals, who fight against the evil force named Gohma with his godly friends. All is well until Asura is framed for the murder of an Emperor. After that his wife is killed and his daughter kidnapped to act as a power source for the fight against the Gohma. He also gets betrayed by his allies and is sent to Naraka, which is basically the equivalent of hell, for 12 000 years. Finally escaping hell, he realises his former allies have tormented innocent people to get their souls, so that they could fire up the ultimate weapon to destroy the Gohma, once and for all. Needless to say, the wrath is boiling inside him.
Asura’s Wrath could be described as an anime in which you take part. It’s divided into 18 chapters, each being approximately 30 minutes long with long cut scenes telling the ludicrous story of Asura’s wrath (heh), have a foresight on the next chapter’s happenings, lots of chaotic fighting and even a pause ”to be continued” screen in the middle of the level; just like in an anime. While watching all the action on the screen is nice, the enjoyment decreases since you have little actual gameplay. It took me about eight hours to complete the game of which maybe only four hours were actual gameplay. Though the cut scenes are enjoyable to watch, the focus on the story might be a deal-breaker to some.
After finishing the game, there isn’t much replay value. You can play it through with harder difficulties and try to master the levels by getting the highest grade on every level. you also have the chance to switch between gauges, which give you various effects like more or less health or more power to your rage. It isn’t much though. The gameplay can be divided into three sections: The normal, simple ‘beat em up’, the chaotic ‘on rails’ shooting and the quick time events, lots of QTE’s.
The basic combat is very simple: You have your light and heavy attack, counter, you can shoot fireballs, evade, there’s also a special attack button, more on that later. You can play through the game by just smashing buttons and the action still looks great and fluent, though a little too chaotic since there’s so much action on the screen at once. Asura has an auto-lock on enemies but it’s irritating when the camera spins around trying to keep up with the action. Also, some bosses have a couple of cheap shots, but you will eventually, through simple trial and error, learn and be aware of them.
The neat trick about the fighting is that you don’t progress from one battle to another just by eliminating all enemies. In order for you to progress you need to fight until you have maxed out your ”rage” meter. When that is full, you can activate it with your special button and trigger an action-packed QTE which leads you to the next battle and a crazy cut scene.
Occasionally you will have an ‘on rails’ shooter section, where you’re diving from the sky, running at high-speed towards your goal or just staying still and shooting everything in sight. These bits are a nice change of pace but they’re very monotonic. They could have had more variety than just spamming two buttons and having big explosions.
By far the best selling point to seeing Asura’s quest for revenge is the epic over-the-top action and pure rage which gets comical in scale. Half way through the game you have already fought a planet-sized buddha statue, demolished whole armies with ease, flew with lighting speed though space, escaped hell and much much more. And it just gets crazier from there. Destroying entire space armada’s with pure RAGE for example. Everytime you think Asura has reached his max, he puts another gear in and all hell breaks loose. Believe me, this action is full of testosterone. It will make your jaw drop.
Overall, Asura’s Wrath isn’t your typical game. Its unbelievable set pieces, interesting anime styled story and the comical scale of rage makes it fun to play. Then again it’s more of an interactive anime than a game. With some minor flaws it’s not great, but it’s a decent game. Either way you look at it, Asura’s Wrath is an experience!
Score = 70%
Will you play it in 12 months = No
Available On: PS3 & XBOX 360
Photos courtesy of Google Images.