Reviews// Asura's Wrath

Posted 24 Feb 2012 08:52 by
Games: Asura's Wrath
Asura's Wrath is Marmite.

That's a line that could, arguably, be used to cop out of giving an actual opinion in any given review so I'll be up front about this I like it. I'm unprepared to promise that you will too, however. That's why you should actually read the review...

Asura's Wrath is a beat-'em-up that's almost an interactive movie. It stars Asura, a demigod who is very wrathful. He fights alongside seven other deities as one of the 'Eight Guardian Generals' who protect the Earth from the Gohma (which are often monkeys tarted up with red paint, or else assorted other animals tarted up with red paint). Things go a bit wrong, though, when the emperor dies and everyone thinks it's your fault. Before you know it, you're dead and 12,000 years have passed. And then you're alive, and your seven remaining colleagues have been ruling the planet, feeding off your daughter's super-powers. You're angry. Wrathful, even. Something must me done.

Needless to say, Asura's Wrath is batshit crazy. It's this batshit craziness that makes it a lot of fun. As things open up, you're in an epic space battle, buzzing around through space (not actually buzzing - in space no-one can hear you buzz) shooting down all manner of nastiness Panzer Dragoon-style. When a Ghoma the size of the planet opens its gob, you get a sense of just how brain-fudgingly bonkers and over-the-top Asura's Wrath is.

It's basically SciFi-Asian-Demigod-Superheroes punching each other around. With red-paint-monkeys.

The whole thing is presented in the style of an ongoing anime series, with 'episodes' that last around 15 minutes. They're framed by opening and closing credits, 'cutscenes' that consist of still illustrations and written dialogue, and a screen to give you scores and a grade. It's possible you will find this annoying. I did. Especially given that little recaps are included in the credits. It's possible that there are people out there who will actually play Asura's Wrath an episode at a time, taking significant breaks in between. Most won't. For those of us who won't, having play interrupted every 10 20 minutes is pretty infuriating.

The episodic structure is really just symptomatic of how the whole thing plays, though. The core gameplay consists primarily of brawling sections, which are themselves centred on epic boss battles. Even the combat is broken up, though, by expansive interactive cutscenes made up largely of quicktime events. I don't have anything against interactive cutscenes, but in Asura's Wrath they really do stop the game from having much flow. Expect pretty much no navigation between areas. Barring the occasional dash down a corridor, the action all takes place in arena-like areas. Fight, cutscene, fight, cutscene...
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Games: Asura's Wrath

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