A lot of negative press has been surrounding Capcom as of late, particularly involving how they market their games. One of the more controversial titles in the past year was Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 — release lesss than a year after Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Then there’s the downloadable content on the disc. And of course, there’s the fact that they’ve been outsourcing their biggest franchises to western developers, which has also cause its fair share of backlash. Regardless, things are looking up this year. They may still be outsourcing their old IP’s, but this year they have two particularly good looking fresh IPs this year. These titles are Dragon’s Dogma and Asura’s Wrath. I recently got my hands on the latter.
Asura’s Wrath is probably the most unique looking game released this year so far. I know that the year is far from over, but we’re already halfway through and I consider that impressive enough. Before I got my hands on the game I tried my best to stay as uninformed as possible. I didn’t play the demo, I didn’t read very much news on the game at all, and I just steered clear from conversations involving the game. One comment did slip through my defences though. Asura’s Wrath is a Japanese anime in video game form. Knowing, at the very least, the genre in which the title belonged to, I determined that this perception of the game was a result of the over-the-top action elements and it’s graphical style. It’s a fair enough comparison, I thought, but the same can be said for ‘x game’ or ‘y game’. I just thought people were slightly exaggerating. Boy, was I wrong.
Platforms: PlayStation 3(Reviewed), Xbox 360
Release Date: February 24th 2012
Rating: 15 (BBFC), 16+ (PEGI)
Asura’s Wrath takes from anime beyond just the clichés, the graphical style and being very zany in a Japanese fashion. The game is split into eighteen episodes. Each episode is split into two halves, separated by eye catches. Brief credits appear on screen at the start of each episode, and there’s also a next episode preview at the end of an episode.
The story in itself is interesting and very entertaining, but it doesn’t have too much substance to it either. It focuses entirely on Asura’s rage and how it fuels his power as he tries to rescue his daughter. It was crazy entertaining though, despite being filled with clichés all over. As of such, even the characters’ personalities weren’t original – as they were essentially typical anime character archetypes. We’re not looking at something particularly deep here, but it certainly gets points for being artistic, and I mean that in as little of a pretentious manner as possible.
For the most part, the character of Asura is one in which we can empathise with. He’s relatively likeable, as much as he is defined by his anger. He’s exciting to watch, and gets your blood boiling. The intensity of the action makes the entire game just fantastic to watch. Oh, did I say watch?
The thing about this game is that it’s about one-third gameplay, and two-thirds of it are cinematic scenes. Those scenes do feature user interaction, however. This is through the use of Quick-Time Events in which the player must press the corresponding button in the manner that the game suggests. You do not fail instantly should you mess it up, and you are given leeway, but it’s quite compelling. Frankly, I looked forward to the Quick-Time Event segments of the game more than I did the actual third person action game segment!
Expect the action to be very basic, but still relatively fun. I can see why it’s just a small portion of the gameplay considering that it doesn’t have that much depth. All the same, it’s great to see how your attacks and techniques change with the story (such as when you lose or gain limbs); although, these changes are usually more cosmetic and doesn’t really impact your strategy.
Speaking of cosmetics, the graphics are beautiful. They’re very anime-esque. Whilst I can see that being a problem for some, it does make the game look magnificent. Likewise the sound is great and everyone is voice acted very well.
Honestly, there’s very little else to add about this title. It’s artistic, and whilst there are plenty of other games that rely on Quick-Time Event mechanics, Asura’s Wrath still manages to come out feeling very fresh and unique. As a title selling at full retail price, it doesn’t warrant a purchase. It’s too experimental and only lasts six hours. However, I certainly suggest giving the title a rent or buying it at a discounted price. It’s a game that really is worth playing.
Asura’s Wrath scores 7/10. It was completed on Normal Difficulty, without any downloadable content installed.