Asura’s Wrath

AsurasWrathThis frantic fighting game certainly demands attention using sci-fi elements, quick time events, and huge boss fights for an intriguing, episodic story. Godly warrior Asura endures several challenges fighting the antagonist Gohma as well as other tragedies, trials, and even false accusations.

A stylistic anime series, an epic shooter, and a relentless fighter – this game spans 12,000 of events as players progress through quick-time events requiring well-timed and repetitive controller button mashing. Flash forwards, flashbacks, and other clever narrative devices make the story engaging. The incredible visuals make the story even more engaging and interactive.

More interactive movie than game, Asura’s Wrath borrows extensively from Asian mythology. The well-crafted story has several outlandish moments, humorous sidebars, intense action, and several poignant moments. Developers tell the story in cutscenes…a lot of cutscenes. The overall story has 18 episodes which run about 20 minutes each (if you don’t skip through).

Asura protects Earth and Heaven with eight other godly warriors from the destructive Gohma. He soon finds more to battle including betrayal, “The Great Rebirth” plan, and other scenarios involving his wife and daughter, Mithra.

With Asura out of the picture for a while, he engages his old pals/enemies again. Now known as “The Seven Deities”, each powerful character has their own story while Asura has a particular focus on Deus. The godly warriors (Asura included) exhibit many basic feelings, emotions, and even urges that really create a deeper experience. These characters and other related scenarios drive players to overcome incredible odds mainly playing as Asura.

Rampage and revenge run rampant in the story as sci-fi elements offer special discoveries and unique character progressions and story arcs. One important elements becomes Asura’s body parts or lacking body parts. The story varies with Asura battles with several arms then none. This “appendage action” variable creates very unique scenarios that also change the fighting styles mainly using light, heavy, and combination attacks.

The quick time event (QTE) button cues remain the same. An optional button that would switch among these fighting styles would be great, but game works well “on the rails” making the decisions for players. The two status meters show great powers when full. One give players visceral attack for a short time while the other gives even more power, known as burst, by destroying remaining enemies and progressing to the next battle.

Players hit the R2 button to activate this advancing burst power, which leads to the quick time events. These events require timing and reaction skills, but bad results do not hurt. The engaging action is fun and lock-on option helps, but without more substance behind it the actions, the results lack the optimal substance. Specific buttons and directional movements on the directional buttons are relatively easy. The prompting visuals are huge and they stay on screen for several seconds so most player won’t miss them.

QTE failures only diminish performance ratings given at the end of each episode or lengthen boss battles. These boss battles are an epic experience and the finishing moves impress, but can get repetitive. Accuracy and strategy are minimal. Players succeed by going after everything as developers promote maniacal action from players. Players can change the difficulty, but the lowest difficulty is best for all levels to save time and repetitive action.

Developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Capcom, this single player action, beat ‘em up gives your hands and fingers a work out while enthralling the mind as well. Unlockables include special episodes when achieving a perfect rating. The original soundtrack is scored by Chikayo Fukuda and Kaoru Wada composed the main theme, “In Your Belief.” Unlockables include special episodes when achieving a perfect rating.

You can tell by the title that this experience will be intense and it definitely entertains, but consider these two important elements: the cutscene to gameplay ratio and extra content. High cutscene ratio (without skipping of course) and no multiplayer mode, online mode, or, the biggest omission, no downloadable content (DLC).  DLC could have expanded the experience with gamers coming back for more additional episodes. With DLC, this worthy game would be a base (possibly with a lower price). Also available on Xbox 360.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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