Reviews// Asura's Wrath

Posted 24 Feb 2012 08:52 by
Companies:
Games: Asura's Wrath
That's not to say the combat isn't fun. It's big, over-the-top stuff. Think along the lines of Bayonetta, but subtract any finesse you have in your mental picture. It's about massively over-powered guys fighting other massively-overpowered guys. There's not much room for subtlety.

There are no special moves or combos to learn. You need to attack until your rage meter fills up a bit, then you can power up a bit further and go on the attack a bit more. At key moments you'll enter a quicktime event, during which you'll be able to inflict yet more damage. It's not quite a pure button-mashing there's a degree of strategy to certain fights but it's most certainly more about power fantasy and spectacle than it is about technical gameplay.

Occasionally developer CyberConnect2 mixes things up with more of the shooting sections. They're diverting, because mindlessly shooting things is always fun in short bursts, but they're not particularly remarkable.

Finally: the afore-mentioned interactive cutscenes. There are a lot of them. They're all over the place. They provide oodles of narrative and they're peppered right through the combat. In fact, while you may start out thinking that what you're doing as you pound away at the bigger bosses is weakening them, what you're actually doing is building up your rage meter. Every single fight with a bigger opponent ends with you finally filling that bar, receiving an on-screen prompt and then hitting R2 to unleash a battle-ending... interactive cutscene.

And guess what? It doesn't always matter if you get an interactive cutscene right! The quicktime events that occur within a fight do actually count, but during several QTEs that formed part of an extended cutscene I tried pressing nothing at all and Asura still did whatever he needed to do. In others where I didn't bother to follow the prompts, nothing at all happened. Asura would simply stay where he was until I got round to pressing the requisite button or moving the requisite analogue stick. There were no penalties (except possibly a few less points) for doing this. It's cheating a bit, really, to call a cutscene 'interactive' when your involvement isn't really required.

Despite all that moaning I just did, though, Asura's Wrath is good fun. The design and the Dragonball-esque spectacle elevate it beyond its bitty presentation. Especially when Asura punches someone and makes a face like a rugby player ejaculating on a rollercoaster. Some people will be driven insane by how broken up the actual gameplay is and how on-the-nose the combat is. Others will revel in the game's bombast and forgive its flaws.

Pros:
+ Batshit craziness
+ Epic ancient Asian spacegod design
+ Real feeling of power
+ A metric shit-ton of spectacle

Cons:
- Annoying episodic presentation
- Lots of stopping and starting
- Un-sophisticated combat
- Interactive cutscenes that secretly aren't interactive at all

SPOnG Score: 7/10
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Games: Asura's Wrath

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