By MajorMitch 1 Comments
I more or less finished three games this week, starting with Mass Effect 3 and Gears of War 3. With ME3 I finished up my insanity run and grinded out that 5,000 kills achievement. That means I have a S-Rank on it for now, though we all know there will be DLC later. The last few missions weren’t as tough as I was expecting them to be on insanity; the game overall wasn’t that hard, but maybe that’s just due to me having played a whole lot of Mass Effect at this point. Anyway, despite the promise of future DLC, there was a nice sense of closure to putting ME3 back on the shelf for now. Gears of War 3 also went back on the shelf after we finished what we wanted to do in Raam’s Shadow. That didn’t take long, but it was fun. Who knows what the future holds for Gears at this point, if anything.
After all that, I wanted a short game to play this weekend. After looking into how Blockbuster does its business these days (I haven’t rented a game in years), I ended up renting Asura’s Wrath and beating it in less than a 24 hour period. That game is absolutely ridiculous in the best ways possible. If anything, it was a loud reminder of how boringly “serious” a lot of games are (or maybe “seriously boring” would be a better phrase). I happen to like it when games just let go, chuck that dark and gritty vibe that seems to be mandatory in 90% of games, and become everything you don’t expect. That’s the main reason I liked games like No More Heroes and Bayonetta as much as I did, and Asura’s Wrath is similar in that regard.
In terms of how it “plays”, however, Asura’s Wrath doesn’t really have a close relative. The vast majority of it is pretty much quick time events matched to the most incredible action cutscenes I’ve probably ever seen. Normally I don’t like either quick time events or too many cutscenes, but when your starting point is a demigod the size of a planet poking at you from outer space, I’m on board. Asura’s Wrath puts no ceiling on anything, and constantly one-ups itself with sheer scale and audiovisual splendor. The game simply looks and sounds absolutely amazing; you know the animators and sound teams had a total blast with this game. As cliche as it is, I genuinely can’t think of another game that is consistently this epic and over-the-top, and it does it all with a level of pure energy and enthusiasm that’s super refreshing.
That’s the good about Asura’s Wrath. There are other action sections outside of the quick time events that aren’t so great. They range from God of War style character action stuff to Space Harrier style shooting sections, and none of it is interesting. It’s all pretty rote, there are constant camera annoyances and the controls don’t even feel that responsive. Still, none of these sections last that long. I always appreciate it when a game knows why you’re playing it, and Asura’s Wrath absolutely does. It does its best to get you through those action sections as fast as possible, and back to the glory of its quick time events and cutscenes. I seriously doubt the total time for the action sections comprised even a fourth of the total time I spent with the game. It’s great that these sections are so short, but it also makes me wonder why they’re in there at all.
Perhaps it’s pure padding; Asura’s Wrath is a super short game, which is part of the reason I decided to play it this weekend. I would guess it took me no more than 8 hours (maybe less), and I have no interest in playing it again. That suited my needs perfectly, but it also makes it a weird game to judge as a $60 retail item. On the one hand, that’s much less playtime than your average video game gets you per dollar. On the other hand, that’s about on par with what you’d get from buying movies. 8 hours at $60 is equivalent to 2 hours at $15, which is about what you’d pay for a new DVD release. And seeing as Asura’s Wrath is basically a long (and spectacular) movie, it makes some kind of sense. I guess it all depends on how you approach it. I rented it, so I don’t have to make that deliberation, but I could see the pricing being a serious deterrent for a lot of people.
That’s probably the main thing holding Asura’s Wrath back in all honesty. I had an absolute blast with it, and think it’s one of those games that is just worth seeing in whatever way you can. It's quite the spectacle. Whether it’s worth $60 or not, that’s going to vary from person to person. Moving on, the next thing on my plate is Xenoblade Chronicles, which comes out this Friday; I’ve been looking forward to that for a while. I won’t be playing it over the weekend though, as a bunch of friends are coming up for the weekend, which should be a lot of fun. So I may or may not have a post next week, but will certainly be up and running again two weeks from now, and should have some initial thoughts on Xenoblade by then. Anyway, that’s all for now, until next time!
Currently playing: Nothing specific until Xenoblade Chronicles comes out!