Two word titles. Wait...I screwed that up.

Asura's Wrath

(Wait a minute.) Didn't I already do this game? Intense character action game, mashing buttons all the time, vague religious base for batshit insanity that ensues? This is totally El Shaddai all over again, isn't it? How fucking lazy of you, Capc-wait a minute! Intense character action game, mashing buttons all the time, vague religious base for batshit insanity that ensues? How could I forget how fucking awesome this game is?

Now I could begin this blog by talking about how pessimistic the game is about gods and people, or how every character is a selfish, petty psychopath, but who gives a shit about all that? What you really want out of this game is the balls-out crazy. It starts off with Asura angrying spaceships to death (all while listening to this), and somehow, hams it up from there. Perfect example: Asura punches his way to the stars. Does it make any sense? Fuck no! But do you care? See the answer to the previous question. This game knows that you're here for some strange shit, and it's determined to deliver, even if that means whipping out some titties. Hell, the game's supposed to be based on Hindu lore (guessing by the title), but you get a Japanese aesthetic and some decidedly non-Hindu names thrown into the mix, like Wyzen and Olga. How much weirder can you get?

Asura's gonna hug the FUCK out of that finger.

Of course, this is all seen best through the demigod/robot/ghost/ball of anger that is, for some reason, called Asura. (Except the name thing, I guess.) He's supposed to be a victim of circumstance, I guess, but it's kind of hard to see that behind all the anger. In fact, it's hard to see anything behind all that anger. When he's not yelling about his anger control issues, he's rephrasing what somebody just said into a useless question. Rephrasing what somebody just said into a useless question? Exactly like that. I mean, yea, it goes back to that "totally fucking nuts" thing from before, and I appreciate honesty in a title, but I have to wonder if the game has more than creative psychosis?

What's that? Quick Time Events?...Somehow, that works out completely well. I guess somebody noticed that this game is more cutscene by volume than Dragon's Lair and decided that if you can't beat 'em, it's because you didn't press Y fast enough. Actually, about that: you don't have to do the Quick Time Events. Should you miss one, the game's still gonna go on. Sure, you won't get a good score, but since scoring is irrelevant to progress, who the fuck cares? (Incidentally, that second half sums up my life philosophy rather well.) So wait, why is this good again? Well ignoring the shattering of illusions with which I began this, the Quick Time Events do a pretty damn good job of supplementing the action. Part of it is just how weird the game is, but a larger part is just really effective timing. I know that this will sound completely disingenuous, but when the game asks you to hit Y, it really feels like you're punching somebody square in the jaw, and when you mash B, it really feels like that last thing, only moreso. They're like the world's best punctuation mark to some already solid action seq-

Asura's Wrath in a nutshell.

Oh, right. There's gameplay in this game. Remember that? Sad to say that the gameplay isn't the focus of this game. I mean, yea, the story's pretty cool, especially when you dig into the little details (like how humanity makes no visible technological progress in 12.5 thousand years), but it's still depressing to see said story making the gameplay its bitch. It's a character action game where the goal of every battle is to press buttons until the game wants more cutscenes of Asura being good and pissed. That's the best way I can describe this: just mindless button mashing until the game says it's over.

Though that's not to say that the fighting sucks or anything. Yea, it's mindless button mashing, but what exactly is wrong with that? Sometimes, you just want to punch enemies in the face again and again, and Asura's Wrath gives you just enough to make that all happen. Enough moves, enough enemy types, enough buttons to mash (like, two), etc. And it's not like the fights are the only things there; you also get some cathartic shooting mini games, those titties from before, and....no, that's pretty much it, but the quality of each makes up for the quantity. I'd call it a solid game, but most of it is gaseous cutscene, instead. I'd still recommend it, though. Higgs Boson.

Review Synopsis

  • You have six arms, Asura. At least one of them should be able to hold a stress relief ball.
  • And another two are going to be handling all those quick time events.
  • The remaining three will punch you in the face. Naturally.

Speaking of destroying planets, somehow, this video fails to do just that.

Coron Land

(Somehow, that video serves as the perfect transition into this game.) After all, it looks fun at first, but it goes on for way too long. Just enough time, however, to realize that the game has only one OK idea to carry it that whole time. Although on that note, this paragraph also seems to act as the perfect allegory for the game. Let's see if I can keep the streak going with the blog itself!

Giant Bomb has an older brother, and it turns out it's kinda racist.

So here's how the game works: there are enemies in this room. Bash them with your magic wand until the game decides you can move on. (I'm not covering the story because all I could say about it is a vaguely ironic 「平仮名は可愛いです。」 ) I know that sounds petty and reductionist, but there's only one button you'll ever use the entire game, so it really is that simple. And that's the problem with this game: it's way too one dimensional. Shooting enemies in some Bomberman/Bubble Bobble hybrid sounds pretty cool, and it delivers on that pretty well, but you need more than that to carry a whole game like this. Different enemy arrangements don't count, either. I need some more mechanical variety in a game, like maybe different abilities or power-ups or whatever. (Granted, the game already has two power-ups, but they're simply "move faster" and "kill everything on screen". Wooh.) Otherwise, it feels like you thought of how long the game should be before you decided what it should be about, and now you're wasting my time out of sheer stubbornness. What else you got, Coron Land?

Bosses?.....OK, that could work. Actually, now that I think about it, these boss fights are pretty cool. They're decently challenging, and each one forces you into enough strategy to be considered fun. (Back of the box quote, right there.) There's just one problem: they're UNGODLY LONG. Every boss has more hit points than they do pixels, and since you only have one decidedly non-upgradeable attack, you're gonna be spending a lot of time with these guys. The final boss is particularly bad about this, constituting about 50% of the game's length alone. Speaking of length, there are only three worlds to this game, confusingly making it both really short and far too long. So yea, this game isn't very good. Its only saving grace is its technical competence, and you can't sell a product on technical competence alone. If you could, my blogs would probably me more popular than they already are.

Review Synopsis

  • It's shooting enemies into bubbles and...that's it, really.
  • Yet somehow, the game is longer than two levels.
  • Bosses are kinda cool, though.
23 Comments
24 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

Asura's Wrath

(Wait a minute.) Didn't I already do this game? Intense character action game, mashing buttons all the time, vague religious base for batshit insanity that ensues? This is totally El Shaddai all over again, isn't it? How fucking lazy of you, Capc-wait a minute! Intense character action game, mashing buttons all the time, vague religious base for batshit insanity that ensues? How could I forget how fucking awesome this game is?

Now I could begin this blog by talking about how pessimistic the game is about gods and people, or how every character is a selfish, petty psychopath, but who gives a shit about all that? What you really want out of this game is the balls-out crazy. It starts off with Asura angrying spaceships to death (all while listening to this), and somehow, hams it up from there. Perfect example: Asura punches his way to the stars. Does it make any sense? Fuck no! But do you care? See the answer to the previous question. This game knows that you're here for some strange shit, and it's determined to deliver, even if that means whipping out some titties. Hell, the game's supposed to be based on Hindu lore (guessing by the title), but you get a Japanese aesthetic and some decidedly non-Hindu names thrown into the mix, like Wyzen and Olga. How much weirder can you get?

Asura's gonna hug the FUCK out of that finger.

Of course, this is all seen best through the demigod/robot/ghost/ball of anger that is, for some reason, called Asura. (Except the name thing, I guess.) He's supposed to be a victim of circumstance, I guess, but it's kind of hard to see that behind all the anger. In fact, it's hard to see anything behind all that anger. When he's not yelling about his anger control issues, he's rephrasing what somebody just said into a useless question. Rephrasing what somebody just said into a useless question? Exactly like that. I mean, yea, it goes back to that "totally fucking nuts" thing from before, and I appreciate honesty in a title, but I have to wonder if the game has more than creative psychosis?

What's that? Quick Time Events?...Somehow, that works out completely well. I guess somebody noticed that this game is more cutscene by volume than Dragon's Lair and decided that if you can't beat 'em, it's because you didn't press Y fast enough. Actually, about that: you don't have to do the Quick Time Events. Should you miss one, the game's still gonna go on. Sure, you won't get a good score, but since scoring is irrelevant to progress, who the fuck cares? (Incidentally, that second half sums up my life philosophy rather well.) So wait, why is this good again? Well ignoring the shattering of illusions with which I began this, the Quick Time Events do a pretty damn good job of supplementing the action. Part of it is just how weird the game is, but a larger part is just really effective timing. I know that this will sound completely disingenuous, but when the game asks you to hit Y, it really feels like you're punching somebody square in the jaw, and when you mash B, it really feels like that last thing, only moreso. They're like the world's best punctuation mark to some already solid action seq-

Asura's Wrath in a nutshell.

Oh, right. There's gameplay in this game. Remember that? Sad to say that the gameplay isn't the focus of this game. I mean, yea, the story's pretty cool, especially when you dig into the little details (like how humanity makes no visible technological progress in 12.5 thousand years), but it's still depressing to see said story making the gameplay its bitch. It's a character action game where the goal of every battle is to press buttons until the game wants more cutscenes of Asura being good and pissed. That's the best way I can describe this: just mindless button mashing until the game says it's over.

Though that's not to say that the fighting sucks or anything. Yea, it's mindless button mashing, but what exactly is wrong with that? Sometimes, you just want to punch enemies in the face again and again, and Asura's Wrath gives you just enough to make that all happen. Enough moves, enough enemy types, enough buttons to mash (like, two), etc. And it's not like the fights are the only things there; you also get some cathartic shooting mini games, those titties from before, and....no, that's pretty much it, but the quality of each makes up for the quantity. I'd call it a solid game, but most of it is gaseous cutscene, instead. I'd still recommend it, though. Higgs Boson.

Review Synopsis

  • You have six arms, Asura. At least one of them should be able to hold a stress relief ball.
  • And another two are going to be handling all those quick time events.
  • The remaining three will punch you in the face. Naturally.

Speaking of destroying planets, somehow, this video fails to do just that.

Coron Land

(Somehow, that video serves as the perfect transition into this game.) After all, it looks fun at first, but it goes on for way too long. Just enough time, however, to realize that the game has only one OK idea to carry it that whole time. Although on that note, this paragraph also seems to act as the perfect allegory for the game. Let's see if I can keep the streak going with the blog itself!

Giant Bomb has an older brother, and it turns out it's kinda racist.

So here's how the game works: there are enemies in this room. Bash them with your magic wand until the game decides you can move on. (I'm not covering the story because all I could say about it is a vaguely ironic 「平仮名は可愛いです。」 ) I know that sounds petty and reductionist, but there's only one button you'll ever use the entire game, so it really is that simple. And that's the problem with this game: it's way too one dimensional. Shooting enemies in some Bomberman/Bubble Bobble hybrid sounds pretty cool, and it delivers on that pretty well, but you need more than that to carry a whole game like this. Different enemy arrangements don't count, either. I need some more mechanical variety in a game, like maybe different abilities or power-ups or whatever. (Granted, the game already has two power-ups, but they're simply "move faster" and "kill everything on screen". Wooh.) Otherwise, it feels like you thought of how long the game should be before you decided what it should be about, and now you're wasting my time out of sheer stubbornness. What else you got, Coron Land?

Bosses?.....OK, that could work. Actually, now that I think about it, these boss fights are pretty cool. They're decently challenging, and each one forces you into enough strategy to be considered fun. (Back of the box quote, right there.) There's just one problem: they're UNGODLY LONG. Every boss has more hit points than they do pixels, and since you only have one decidedly non-upgradeable attack, you're gonna be spending a lot of time with these guys. The final boss is particularly bad about this, constituting about 50% of the game's length alone. Speaking of length, there are only three worlds to this game, confusingly making it both really short and far too long. So yea, this game isn't very good. Its only saving grace is its technical competence, and you can't sell a product on technical competence alone. If you could, my blogs would probably me more popular than they already are.

Review Synopsis

  • It's shooting enemies into bubbles and...that's it, really.
  • Yet somehow, the game is longer than two levels.
  • Bosses are kinda cool, though.
Posted by Humanity

I oddly find Asura's Wrath insulting as a game. While Walking Dead introduces some sort of choice in it's gameplay, Asura is literally going from cutscene to cutscene and fully priced at that. The fact that so many people recommend it as a game is quite honestly just leading people astray. If you take a lot of time to explain that you won't be doing much playing per-se and your primary form of enjoyment will stem from watching over the top anime cutscenes then thats OK - but if someone is deciding between two titles and you go "oh yah man Asuras Wrath is an awesome game!" I think thats just wrong.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Humanity said:

but if someone is deciding between two titles and you go "oh yah man Asuras Wrath is an awesome game!" I think thats just wrong.

Well, it is an awesome game. Yes, there are an assload of cutscenes, but from what I remember, Asura's Wrath does a pretty good job of engaging you in those cutscenes. It's one of the few oddly appropriate uses of Quick Time Events: pulling you into the action instead of outright replacing it. Plus the game parts aren't too bad, either.

(Also, you're not gonna get far referencing The Walking Dead with me. I have yet to touch it.)

Posted by Humanity

@Video_Game_King: I haven't touched it either, but I've seen enough gameplay videos to know that it's not for me. I simply need my videogame experiences to be a lot more engaging than that. Recently playing Hitman: Absolution there is an entire level that is devoted to you walking up to a door, opening it and then executing a slow motion hostage situation shootout and another cutscene plays. Following that is a level where a cutscene plays, you gain control of your character in a shop, press a single button to put on a new suit and walk out engaging another cutscene. Possibly the worst mixing of cutscene to gameplay I have seen in a long time.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Humanity said:

I simply need my videogame experiences to be a lot more engaging than that.

What about emotional engagement or visceral engagement? Something can be engaging on multiple levels.

Posted by Humanity

@Video_Game_King: Sure but unlike a book or a movie, when I play games I'm expecting a certain level of my own involvement in what transpires on the screen outside the realm of emotion.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Humanity:

But can't a game subvert that to meaningful effect? And aren't there multiple ways of interacting with a game? Hell, the choice of the medium alone is worthy enough of merit (there's a better way of saying that; I just don't know it), since it inevitably gives the player some agency, some role in the story. (Something similar happens with books, since you're always pushing the story forward, but not to the same extent of games, obviously.)

Posted by pyromagnestir

You really are fucking up my youtube history King... And I suppose the guys who posted this and this aren't helping either. Then again, I'm not sure I'm doing myself and favors either.

Posted by LordAndrew

The move failed!

Edited by AndrewB

Yeah, you have a habit of posting about games I have no interest in (well, Asura's Wrath might not fall into that category) and including a random video I do. That Ditto battle is one for the ages. Totally have done that in one of the old core Gameboy games.

And then RacistBomb which I hear hired Brad away. I know, right? Who'd have thought?

Posted by Video_Game_King

@AndrewB said:

And then RacistBomb which I hear hired Brad away. I know, right? Who'd have thought?

Me. Two years ago.

Posted by AndrewB

@Video_Game_King: OH. GRS! Giant Racist Shoebox. That's where that site came from.

Posted by Humanity

@Video_Game_King: Once again, yes I'm sure it can - just not for me personally. To put it bluntly I want to play a game. I want to be actively engaged 90% of the time with full control over my playable character/vehicle. We can sit all night discussing how story elements can often engage a player more than the mundane task of holding left trigger and pulling the right trigger but at the end of the day (or should I say end of the night!) I need that action of pulling those triggers to be a major element of any title I'm playing. Thats not to say story isn't important to me, which it is. A good story can keep me engaged and stimulated when the actual gameplay has long ceased to do so. The meat needs to be there though in the form of well balanced gameplay. I think a great mix of good storytelling and gameplay is exmplified by L.A. Noire. The story had me coming back for more even when turning over limp wrists and opening cadaver wallets lost all forms of novelty. Yet there was still enough of the driving, shooting and investigating that I never felt like I was just watching the game unfold without my input.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Humanity said:

I need that action of pulling those triggers to be a major element of any title I'm playing.

Except that's exactly what they are in Asura's Wrath.

Edited by Humanity

@Video_Game_King: I'm not sure what you are arguing for at this point. Asura's Wrath is basically a beat-em-up game in the likes of God of War. Are you telling me it's gameplay is comparable to a game like God of War? That is has fully realized combo driven combat that takes precedence over quick time events and button mashing? That the ratio of cutscene to gameplay does not overwhelmingly favor cinematics? When I say I need pulling triggers to be a major element of the game I mean there needs to be substantial gameplay present. If you are arguing that Asura's Wrath has substantial gameplay that is complimented by over the top cutscenes featuring quick time events and button prompts then I suppose we disagree on the matter.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Humanity said:

If you are arguing that Asura's Wrath has substantial gameplay that is complimented by over the top cutscenes featuring quick time events and button prompts then I suppose we disagree on the matter.

It kind of does all that. I'm also arguing that there isn't the strong cutscene/gameplay dichotomy that you're proposing there is in Asura's Wrath. In the game, they're kind of the same thing; just two sides of the same coin. Or something.

Posted by Humanity

@Video_Game_King: Well I'm glad it does something at least.

Posted by csl316

Loved Asura's Wrath. Not only for the crazy nonsense, but that the game had heart. And incredble music.

Definitely wasn't a dumb button masher on hard. Shit got intricate!

Posted by Superkenon

@Humanity said:

@Video_Game_King: Sure but unlike a book or a movie, when I play games I'm expecting a certain level of my own involvement in what transpires on the screen outside the realm of emotion.

If I may interject into the past here, it's worth noting that the 'Hard' difficulty exists, and that it actually makes the battle segments an interesting challenge -- many enemies drop your health meter by half in a single hit, and mashing buttons is a sure way to get yourself killed. Not the hardest thing ever!! by any stretch, but it was intense enough to get me involved in the action, and feel a palpable sense of accomplishment whenever I reached a Burst. I was ready for this thing to be almost entirely cinematic madness, but there's a game there that's definitely engaging and fun to play.

Won't sit here and pretend the movies aren't the main feature of this package, but it's worth mentioning that there's more to it yet. Clearly not for everyone though.

Posted by Hizang

Asuras Wrath is one of the coolest games this year, fact.

Posted by Humanity

@Superkenon: Not a huge fan of harder difficulties that make enemies have twice the health and you take twice as much damage from every hit - but like you said, different strokes for different folks. I know some only enjoy playing Halo on Legendary while I tried it once and it was a real chore.

Posted by Superkenon

@Humanity: Yeah, I know what you mean. Always depends on the kind of game it is, for me. Some I would never want to bother with on the harder settings, but others are at their best when they're keeping me at the edge of death the whole time, I feel. Particularly ones that would feel like trifles otherwise (like Asura).

The level of craftmanship involved in the creation of the difficulties helps for sure. But, yeah. Each man to his own path...!

Posted by AssInAss

@Humanity said:

@Video_Game_King: I haven't touched it either, but I've seen enough gameplay videos to know that it's not for me. I simply need my videogame experiences to be a lot more engaging than that. Recently playing Hitman: Absolution there is an entire level that is devoted to you walking up to a door, opening it and then executing a slow motion hostage situation shootout and another cutscene plays. Following that is a level where a cutscene plays, you gain control of your character in a shop, press a single button to put on a new suit and walk out engaging another cutscene. Possibly the worst mixing of cutscene to gameplay I have seen in a long time.

Clearly, someone hasn't played Max Payne 3! You think that's bad HAHA!

Did I mention they're unskippable! HA

*oh god why*

Posted by Humanity

@AssInAss: I actually played Max Payne 3 and even wrote a review of it on this site! I thought it actually did a really terrific job of interfacing gameplay with ingame cinematics. I probably had a lot more fun with Max Payne 3 than Hitman, which I beat today and oh man, that ending is something else.. I don't think I've played a game thats SO anti-climatic in quite a while. I felt literally nothing and while I usually watch the entire credits in order to see if anything might be at the end, here I just skipped and jumped straight to dashboard. The worst part is that it's not a BAD game but it is just tragically disappointing. Blood Money had such an amazing ending, and such great gameplay.. I just don't know what Io were thinking.