Asura's Wrath Review
Your enjoyment of Asura's Wrath is going to depend largely on your ability to put spectacle over gameplay. At only about six hours and consisting mostly of Quick Time Events and cutscenes Asura's Wrath is more of an interactive anime than a game by standard definition. Even though it's short, the simplicity of the systems in place could easily turn a six hour experience stale, but the three different styles of gameplay alternate frequently enough to keep things fresh.
The most prominent of the three is of course the Quick Time Events. You will be given prompts that have you pressing the circle or triangle button or doing something with one or both of the analog sticks. Standard QTE fare. Outside of those sections Asura's Wrath switches between a simplistic button mashy beat'em up and a style of shooting that has come to be known as Panzer Dragoon. There is not a lot to say about the gameplay because there is not a lot to it, but that's definitely not where Asura's Wrath shines.
If you know anything about this game I'm sure you remember a six armed man punching the planet-sized finger of giant space buddha until his arms explode. When I first saw that trailer I remember thinking how insane that was. Asura's Wrath is in the business of constantly topping itself and finding ways to keep you thinking just how crazy it is. That scene is only chapter 3. The story in Asura's Wrath moves at a pace to match the speed with which Asura beats down his foes. There are a couple of flashback sequences that feel more like padding, and a few more calm moments break the action, but you can be sure there's no shortage of hurtling through the air destroying everything and everyone in your path.
Getting engrossed in the story is not integral to loving all the explosions and rage-fueled punching Asura's Wrath has to offer, but it is surprisingly well crafted. The story is fairly simple; Asura seeks revenge against the Seven Deities for betraying him and taking his daughter for their power. Strangely enough, I found myself actually caring what happened to these characters by the end. Maybe it was the unique take on the Hero character that Asura is, often responding to notions of saving the world with “I don't care about that”. Or maybe it was that the game is packed with so much energy all the time that it's hard not to get drawn in. The only time things weren't prepping to pop off, or already popped, was between chapters where the player is presented with still images and unspoken dialogue to provide a little more context.
Once again though, the spectacle of this game is where it really shines. Asura's Wrath is as I previously mentioned more of an over the top interactive anime. The game embraces this in such a way that it feels like if all gameplay were removed and it were turned into a movie or animated series not much, if anything would really be lost. The framing of shots, camera angles, and visual effects are all that of something trying to make your eyes pop, and stay that way. I frequently found myself swept up in the moment of what was happening and getting pumped every time I was treated to a close-up of Asura punching with all his might or facing everything, regardless of how massive, with a “BRING IT ON!” attitude. As an added bonus, to break the action or dramatic moments, Asura's Wrath has commercial bumps in the middle of its of acts to give that anime feel a little bit more.
Literally world breaking clashes between deities aside, Asura's Wrath is still marketed as a video game. As much as I enjoyed the trip. Its hard to freely recommend it at 60 dollars. With not a lot to offer in the way of game play it's all about how much you think its worth to interact with six hours of a more ridiculous(and way better) Dragon Ball Z.