Asura's Wrath Review
I debated writing this review for a few reasons. First off, since I'm not a member of the professional video gaming industry, I'm not eligible to play these games early. Since I have to wait till after the game has been released to play it, I'm not much use to people trying to decide to make a day of purchase. Secondly, I'm not the greatest writer ever so, this is actually a bit of work for me when most people don't really care about it anyway. After having beat this game however, I feel it my civil duty to warn the public against the horrible atrocity known simply as, Asura's Wrath. Before I get started, I feel it necessary to tell you that I'm the only person on the entire internet that doesn't care for this game. Every review site I've checked has given it at least a decent enough score. So, that probably means the game is great and I'm just wrong but, you're kind to continue reading anyway.
Asura's Wrath tells the story of the demigod, Asura, his life, and the events that follow him over the course of 12,000 years. I won't get too much into the story here because, the game is all about the story but, more on that later. It's a fairly simple tale of heartbreaks and triumphs, all based around Hindu mythology. I think that's really issue number one. I, being a western citizen, have no real in-depth knowledge of Hindu mythology. So, instead of me being really impressed with how they've woven mythology and science-fiction, I found myself completely lost and confused by the silly series of events that unfold. The core story to the game is decent enough but, I think it was kind of lost on this game. If it had been applied to a more practical setting, I could have enjoyed the twists and turns more thoroughly.
Let me explain that comment about the game being all story. Asura's Wrath wants to be more of an anime then a game. It goes to great bounds to get the point across that this is suppose to be emulating an anime in it's appearance. The individual levels are referred to as "episodes", it shows the credits after every "episode" and, it even has eyecatches at the half way point of each "episode". Have you ever watched an anime and thought, "Boy, I wish I had to push the 'B' button every so often." If so, I've got the game for you. Graphically though, the art style kind of works out. The imagery is... odd to say the least but, Asura's Wrath uses, at least an iteration of, the same engine as Street Fighter IV. If you've ever played SFIV, you know the art brush style kind of lends itself to an anime-like appearance. The art style isn't quite the weeaboo fodder you'd expect this kind of game to be but, they did of course have to include several gratuitous scenes of people punching absurdly large objects and overly-bouncy breasts.
There is a little bit of game play to be had though. As I mentioned with the B button bit, a lot of the game simply comes from QTE's in the middle of the cinemas. It's very RE4-esque in the way that, you'll be watching a cinema with the controller sitting beside you, have a random button prompt appear on the screen and, have to scramble to stop what your doing and hit said button as quickly as possible. The only game play outside of the QTE's is a basic beat 'em up style, punch everything in sight that you'd expect from the people that brought you such hits as Devil May Cry and Final Fight: Streetwise. Even with such simplistic game play, they still managed to mess it up a little bit. It's hard to explain but, when you start a combo, it locks onto that path. Whatever direction you start punching, that's where you're going to keep punching even if the enemy has long since moved out of the way. There are also some on-rail shooter segments I rather enjoyed. It's a shame though because, like the beat 'em up parts, the only purpose of the on-rail shooter segments was to get done as quickly as possible so you can return to your regularly scheduled programming.
I really think the only people that will enjoy Asura's Wrath are the kind of people that enjoy games that they can't lose. Without trying to be too insulting, I'm mainly referencing people that thoroughly enjoyed titles such as FFXIII and Limbo. Games where, as long as you continue to put forth effort, you'll eventually win, no matter what your level of skill. Asura's Wrath does have levels of difficulty to choose from but, that's a mute point. The only real challenge comes in the rating system that grades you after each episode. You'll be rated on how well you performed the QTE's, how quickly you played through the level and, how well you handled the beat 'em up and on-rail shooter sections. I can honestly say that without trying, on normal difficulty, I was able to get an A or S rating on every mission. The QTE's don't fail you if you miss them and, health is of no concern in the other segments. There's an achievement for using a continue that I had to purposely go back and get after I had completed the game and had still not received it.
Most people were willing to contribute this game to some kind of an experiment, a challenge to the tried and true that video games have fallen into over the last generation or so. Under that pretense, some would say that it's ok that this game is less of a game and more of an artistic experiment that draws the line between cinematic and game play. I, on the other hand, say nay. This game is a piss poor attempt at capitalizing on a market that just simply doesn't exist. I don't think anyone wanted an interactive anime with horrible game play, overused story tropes and, repetitious dialogue that makes Neverdead almost appear Shakespearean by comparison. I hope this style is never replicated in the future. I award you no points and, may God have mercy on your soul.
Sorry, this last bit is a little tacked on. I didn't originally write the review with a 1-5 scale rating in mind. I'm willing to give the game at least 1.5 out of 5. For all the flaws the game has, at no point in time did I ever feel it broken. I never had it glitch up on me or act in anyway that felt unintentionally flawed. Honestly though, that kind of scares me. The fact that Capcom put that much effort into post-production makes me think that they really thought they had a winner here. I just hope they don't carry that certainty into the form of an Asura's Wrath 2.