Also On: PS3
This game. THIS GAME. Seriously, even as I’m writing the review I can’t get some of the awesome imagery contained within Asura’s Wrath out of my head. On one hand I want to knock it down a peg or two for having the audacity to compose the majority of its gameplay out of “Quick Time Events”, which have become a damn near bane of modern gaming. But somehow Asura’s Wrath makes that work, in part because they’re never set up to make you fail a sequence, and the other part comes from the fact that everything you see in the game looks so freaking cool.
And while I could see the overuse of QTE’s getting tired after a few sessions with the game, the pacing is so well done that it never gets tiresome. And as a testament to how true that is, I find myself seriously wanting to replay the game again, which doesn’t happen very often. And thankfully, once you advance past chapter 4 or so, the game starts to take the training wheels off a bit and actually give you some honest-to-god action to participate in.
So what, exactly, is the game about? You take on the role of Asura, a demigod that gets betrayed by his brethren and killed, only to be reborn and seek revenge on the other 7 that sent him to his early grave. It’s a pretty standard revenge story, but when you replace typical human protagonists with god-like figures, everything gets ratcheted up a notch.
The action never slows, as Asura rips through his former companions. In the midst of their infighting you’ll also encounter monsters known as Gohma, which are beast-like creatures that all 8 of you had been fighting against before. There are a few secrets revealed along the way, and as a whole the story in Asura’s Wrath never really disappoints. It’s definitely engaging enough to keep you pretty entertained, and you’ll have a hard time putting the controller down, most likely opting to finish the game in one sitting.
The game makes heavy use of interactive cut scenes, comprised of a series of button prompts that display on screen like other QTE’s that you’ve probably encountered before. They’re usually in-tune with the action you’ll see, like a singular button prompt that has to be timed as a solitary punch lands, or multiple mashes of another button as you hammer away at a foe, or bounce back an energy beam with one of your own.
As I mentioned before, you can’t really fail the cut scene stuff. It all ties into an end of chapter ranking system though, and achieving high ranks in chapters are tied directly into some of the unlockables, including achievements and trophies. It also ties into the end game content to a limited degree, so it’s in your best interest to do as well as you possibly can in these sequences.
Besides the QTE’s, you’ll occasionally go toe to toe with the actual demigods, or their minions. These sequences are like most third person action titles, with a strong and regular attack button, jump, dash, and the ability to bounce back quickly from hard hits. On the normal difficulty most fights won’t be too taxing if you’re at all familiar with the genre, but the last couple sequences do get to be a little challenging. You can totally fail these battles too, so the game isn’t without the occasional Game Over screen, but the checkpoints are pretty lenient.
The majority of these fights involve you pounding away at your foe in an effort to build up a Wrath meter, which will then kick off the next sequence of QTE’s. I can only think of a few sequences where filling the meter didn’t immediately allow you to end a fight, and I came to view that Wrath Meter as a sort of reverse-fill life bar for the enemy I was currently fighting.
Overall the action feels really great, and while the combat system doesn’t have the depth of other top-tier action titles, it does the job of filling the gaps between action-packed sequences. If the concept of a sword drilling through someone’s gut and literally bursting through the opposite end of a planet, or repelling the giant finger of a god that’s taken on the size of the world you’re fighting on sounds at all awesome to you, you’ll probably enjoy the majority of what Asura’s Wrath wants to show you.
However, if you equate gaming value with the amount of time you’ll spend with a title, Asura’s Wrath won’t be for you. If you need your $60 to be justified by a dozen hours or more of gameplay, then check this out as a rental. But if you enjoy getting unique and sometimes odd experiences from video games, than Asura’s Wrath begs to be played and even purchased.