Asura's Wrath is a Capcom published title developed by CyberConnect2. Announced at Tokyo Game Show 2010 as an Xbox 360 and PS3 release, the initial reports on the games trailer painted it as an action game in the vein of God of War. While the game does contain sections of third-person action and shooting sequences similar in nature to Panzer Dragoon, the crux of the game is a cinematic presentation laden with quick-time events, conceptually similar in nature to Dragon's Lair or Heavy Rain. The game's presentation is very much in the vein of an anime production, with over-the-top action sequences, set-pieces and even commercial break bumpers and "Next Episode" teasers.
Asura's Wrath is the tale of the demigod Asura, one of the Eight Guardian generals who protect the Shinkoku Tristrium from the evil Gohma on Gaea. After scoring a decisive, but temporary, victory against the Gohma's Vitra, Asura is summoned to Emperor Strada's throne room. However, when he arrives, he discovers the Emperor has been murdered, and he is framed for the crime. After escaping the imperial forces, he rushes home to his family only to find his wife Durga murdered and his daughter Mithra kidnapped. In a rage, he attacks his former allies and comrades, the other seven Guardian Generals, who have his daughter imprisoned. When Asura learns that the top general, Deus, is responsible for the coup, he attacks, but is quickly defeated and thrown to Gaea below. As he falls, Asura swears his vengeance.
Twelve thousand years later, Asura awakens in the Narakan underworld. With the aid of the Golden Spider, Asura climbs out of hell only to find that the once green, fertile lands on the surface have become a barren waste. The Eight Guardian Generals have used Mithra to become gods and have renamed themselves The Seven Deities and that humans are being slaughtered for their Mantra under the belief their souls will ascend to heaven. Determined to have his revenge and save Mithra, Asura's wrath will not be sated until the job is done.
Asura's Wrath has been designed as an interactive season of an anime, and its story is divided into 22 episodes. The production is rather in-depth as every episode features mid-episode bumpers, ending cliffhangers and coming soon previews. The episodic nature allows the game to be constructed by different members of CyberConnect2's development team who are listed in the credits at the beginning of each.
The overall story consists of a total of 4 acts:
- Part I: Suffering
- Part II: Rebirth
- Part III: Karma
- Part IV: Nirvana (downloadable content)
Part III contains an extended ending titled "Episode 18: The True Ending" which reveals the plot for Part IV. The episode is available after the player has earned an S Rank on at least five different episodes or played 50 episodes in total.
The core gameplay consists or a few distinct styles that vary up the pacing while creating a unified and cinematic narrative. In many ways, you control Asura as if he was an actor on a stage. His scenes consist of light brawler scenes and on-rails chase sequences in between Quick time events where the player must input commands relevant to the context of the action.
There are a number of times there the player can interrupt one of the Seven Deities monologues when given an on-screen button prompt.
Regular combat consists of basic moves that, while not complex, provide Asura with a complete suite of moves. Defensively, the player has a lock-on targeting system and evasive dodge. It starts with his basic attack move that deals light damage to enemies but can be charged on the ground or in the air to deal massive damage. This single move can be combo'd into long strings that can stagger enemies or knock them into the air. A firing mode unleashes a steady volley of projectiles at enemies and can be fully aimed if Asura's feet are planted or home in on his target if used in the air. Heavy attacks inflict a large chunk of damage and can cancel an enemies attack animation. The move has it's limits as every use requires a thirty second cooldown. Strategic use of the Heavy Attack is crucial to success as they can also be used to initiate a special move on a downed enemy for increased damage. Attacks also fill up Asura's Unlimited Mode meter. Activating Unlimited Mode allows Asura to repeatedly use heavy attacks until it depletes.
The player's combat proficiency and time is graded in the post-episode evaluation screen under the 'Battle points' category.
On Rail Shooting Chase Scenes
The on-rail sequences are Asura's Wrath's attempts to facilitate a number of race/chase scenes. In these moments, Asura's primary combat is his firing mode and the gameplay creates a feel similar to classic games of the genre such as Panzer Dragoon, Space Harrier and Sin & Punishment. The player controls Asura's ability to jump, move in all directions on the screen and use the cross hair to fire energy blasts. These ranged attacks are used to whittle down an opponents life bar, or build up your Burst Gauge.
Scripted Quick Time Events
The Quick Time Events include button presses that are all appropriate for the context of the action including mapping the face button presses to the moves Asura has in combat including jump, attack and heavy attack. Heavy Attacks take center stage during these scenes and the player is given a grade based on how well the button is pressed timed to when Asura's fist makes contact awarding the player with 'Good', 'Great' and 'Excellent'. Same goes for other movements corresponding to the thumbstick, where a timer appears around the prompt to indicate how much time the player has to complete the motion. To portray intense power struggles in the action, the player must rapidly hit the attack button until the Burst Gauge is filled and they can enter Burst mode.
Your performance in these events are graded in the post-episode evaluation screen under the 'Synchronic rate' category.
Performance on the Quick Time Events and combat builds up Asura’s Burst Gauge. When it’s filled, pulling the trigger activates Burst, a mode that delivers a brutal attack on your enemy and initiates a new QTE fight scene against your target. In practical terms, Burst is a narrative device that effectively resolves that scenes tension and ends the story beat.
Asura can equip one of nine different Burst Gauges, all of which have their own distinct traits. They are unlocked by completing various in-game accomplishments.
- Avenger - Asura's default gauge.
- Defender - Decreases damage taken. Unlocked by achieving a total rank of A in 3 episodes in Part I: Suffering on any difficulty.
- Destructor - Fills up the Unlimited Gauge faster. Unlocked by achieving a total rank of A in 3 episodes in Part II: Rebirth on any difficulty.
- Thermoregulator - Recover from overheating faster. Unlocked by achieving a total rank of A in 3 episodes in Part III: Karma on any difficulty.
- Survivor - Length of time in Unlimited Mode is extended. Unlocked by achieving a total rank of A in 10 episodes on any difficulty.
- Blind Master - None of the gauges are displayed throughout the game. Unlocked by achieving a Total Rank of A or higher for all episodes in the game on any difficulty.
- Augur - All counterable attacks are automatically countered. Unlocked by completing all episodes with the Blind Master gauge equipped on any difficulty.
- Mortal - Reduces the length of the Life Gauge. Unlocked by achieving a Total Rank of S in 10 episodes on any difficulty.
- Obliterator - Maintains the Unlimited Gauge at maximum at all times. Unlocked by completing all episodes with the Mortal gauge equipped on any difficulty.
At the end of every episode, the player is graded on a scale ranging from 'D' to 'S'. Earning high marks unlocks various bonuses including new Burst Gauges, Trophies and Achievements as well as opening up 'Episode 18: The True Ending'.
Asura's Wrath is full of colorful characters whom battle on Gaea over the control of it's inhabitants and their vital resource, Mantra.
The ill-tempered demigod Asura, his sworn duty is to lead the Shinkoku Army as one of the eight Guardian Generals of Gaea against the Gohma. Asura's fighting style is unique as it evolves based on the amount of arms he has withdrawn. He alternates between either a set of two or six, usually varying in size and speed. His wrath is an alternative energy source to the Seven Deities use of Mantra. This allows him to take on several forms throughout the story, ultimately leading to his ability to overcome adversity. He is also the parent of Mithra along with his wife Durga.
Throughout the campaign, Asura achieves a new level of Mantra and Wrath, the two forms of energy that he is dependent upon. This allows him to transform into various versions utilizing either multiple arms or larger ones. It may also be accompanied by various symbols attached to his back and or over a colored aura. Depending on the form of energy Asura utilizes, either Wrath or Mantra, varies his appearance drastically:
- Normal Form- This form is seen in flashbacks between Augus and Yasha, primarily showing Asura wearing black finger less gloves but with his arms being a normal skin tone. Asura also will have an actual pupil color for his eyes during this form.
- Vajra Form- This form is the standard during the entirety of the game as it allows Asura to have golden Arms and turns his eyes white.
- Six Armed-Vajra Form- Asura's Six Arm Vajra Form debuts in Act I, Episode I. This allows Asura to grow four additional arms that drastically change his combat style and his overall power.
- Beserker Form- The first instance this was triggered was after the Death of Girl during Olga's Strike. Asura's body becomes covered with Wrath that turns his skin Black and renders him mentally unconscious but physically indestructible. In Beserker form, Asura is a danger to the Gohma and Shinkoku Army, although he does not attack the inhabitants of Gaea giving the idea that he retains some form of his conscious.
- Mantra Form- Asura had achieved this level of Mantra power in Act III, Episode 18, after receiving aid from Mithra. This form grows his normal golden arms from his Vajra Form to an enlarged state. This form is the unity of Wrath and the highest level of Mantra power that appear to have the strength of several Six Armed Vajra Forms.
- Asura the Destructor Form- This is a special form achieved during Act IV, Episode 22, where Asura becomes larger than Gaea. His body becomes colorized silver and returns to having six arms. This is the full fledged god form that Deus was attempting to achieve.
The melancholic demigod, Yasha is one of The Seven Deities. He is passive aggressive usually and prefers not to use force unless entirely necessary, as he is seen ending quarrels between Augus and Asura in flashbacks. Yasha has a unique fighting style as it is reminiscent of hand to hand yet he materializes Mantra energy and launches it forward as a projectile during certain strikes. He is Durga's brother, so is Asura's brother-in-law and Mithra's uncle.
The chaotic Augus is one of The Seven Deities. While blind, he is an aggressive fighter as well as Asura and Yasha's sensei. Augus uses a large katana than can literally stretch from the moon to the Gaea, while also being a skilled hand to hand fighter who can materialize Mantra energy from his ligaments. He shares a bond with Asura as they both stride in being the strongest on Gaea, something in common he found interesting while training him in the past.
The violent demigod, Wyzen is one of The Seven Deities. He is one of the original conspirators with Deus' idea of overthrowing the current Gaea emperor. Wyzen is the first to challenge Asura before and after his departure from the eight Guardian Generals. Wyzen commands the Septentrion Marek.
Wyzen has two forms following his normal size:
- Vajra Form- the size of a mountain, Wyzen loses the armor on his right arm but becomes more agile because of it.
- Gongen Form- powered by the Mantra Reactor, Wyzen becomes larger than Gaea and his appearance is reminiscent of an ornamental Buddha statue.
The methodical Kalrow is one of the Seven Deities. He is the leader of the Shinkoku Army fleet and a strategic mastermind. He constantly exclaims that fighting is useless and prefers to rest. He is one of the key conspirators against the Gaea Emperor and supports Deus' "Great Rebirth" movement. He exclaims to Asura that Mithra has been the key to their success and has allowed them to reach new bounds in power. Kalrow commands the Septentrion Phaeda.
The aggressive Olga is one of The Seven Deities. She is the 2nd fleet commander for the Shinkoku Army. She is fiercely loyal to Lord Deus and can often be found at his side supporting his cause. Although she does not display any physical combat skills, she is directly responsible for fleet attacks on Gohma using air strikes. Olga commands the Septentrion Alioth.
The conniving Sergei is one of The Seven Deities. He is one of the original conspirators against the Gaea Emperor and follows Deus "Great Rebirth" plan. He is revealed to be one of the Deities ordering attacks on the Gaea inhabitants in order to manifest Matra faster to support their fight against the Gohma. Sergei never displays any physical combat abilities but does to appear to have an fascination on personal beauty and art of one's soul.
Deus is the leader of The Seven Deities. He is the main antagonist throughout the narrative and has achieved a level of power unparalleled to former Mantra users. His fighting style consists of using Mantra energy in the form of electricity and manipulates it using hand to hand or nunchakus. He is responsible for overthrowing Emperor Gaea's Emperor in favor of his campaign, "The Great Rebirth".
Mithra is a priestess for the Shinkoku Army and enhances their Mantra abilities through channeling Gaea's and her prayers during combat. Her power allows the eight Guardian Generals to achieve a form unreachable previously allowing them a direct flow of Mantra energy. She is the key component in Deus' "Great Rebirth" and remains behind after Asura is banished. She is the daughter of Asura and Durga, her uncle is Yasha.
Durga is the wife of Asura, mother of Mithra and sister of Yasha. She is murdered in Act 2 after Asura is believed to be a traitor of Gaea. She is seen throughout the game as means of inspiration for Asura to continue his journey. She also tells Yasha in a flashback, that Asura is more afraid of children than they of him.
Girl is a inhabitant of Gaea, she finds Asura after his rebirth in Act II. She bears a resemblance to both Durga and Mithra and appears to have a little brother. She is a Member of a neighboring village who prays to the Seven Deities. Girl follows Asura throughout Act II, before losing her life in Olga's attack strike causing Asura's Wrath to manifest a new form. Her language is Japanese with no mention of meaning and her name is never given.
Vlitra is a massive manifestation of Impurity within Gaea. For many thousands of years, the Eight Guardian Generals have fought to save Gaea from its threat but have never been able to truly destroy it. Every time it's defeated, it goes into hibernation only to awaken many millennia later with even greater strength. It was defeated by Asura only to lay dormant for twelve thousand years.
Chakravartin is first introduced as "The Golden Spider" that Asura first encounters in Episode 3, while he is hanging from one of the great pillars that separates Gaea and the underworld. It is revealed in Episode 18: The True Ending that he seeked Asura, calling him, "The Redeemer". Chakravartin is responsible for the Gohma who have been attacking Gaea and its inhabitants in hopes to find a successor that will take over his responsibility to watch over the world.
Downloadable Content (DLC)
On 27th March Capcom confirmed that there would be five pieces of DLC for Asura's Wrath and each will have a new artistic style inspired by the game and priced at 160msp/€1.99/£1.59 each. The first episode was released on March 28th for both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. This was titled "Episode 11.5" and provided insight into what happened between the episodes supplied in the full game.
The second piece of DLC arrived on April 4th called "Episode 15.5".
Part IV: Nirvana
A four episode act released on 25th April, Nirvana continued from Episode 18: The True Ending's cliffhanger. This content is the definitive conclusion to Asura's Wrath. The pack was priced at 560msp/€6.99/£5.49.
The final two pieces of DLC arrived in May 2012 and feature alternate fiction that pits Asura against Street Fighter's Ryu and Akuma. Throwing the same spin on the brawler gameplay that the main story did to anime, these episodes translate Asura's move set into a 2D fighting game inspired by Street Fighter 4 complete with that games Ultra Meter for his opponents, ink pen aesthetic, versus screen and announcer. In both episodes, Asura must win a two round battle against each challenger before taking on their evil versions.
Both episodes also feature a mission mode that unlocks after completion. This mode requires players to accomplish a specific feat in the 2D fight mode including defeating their opponent in a specific amount of time and performing a multi-hit combo.
'Lost Episodes 1: At Last, Someone Angrier Than Me'
Released 9th May 2012, this dlc is the first 'what if' style content and has Asura fighting against Ryu. After their classic fighting game match, the two warriors battle on the surface of the moon where Asura had fought Augus. During the fight, Ryu's desperation and anger force him to lose control, turning him into Evil Ryu.
But another challenger appears...
'Lost Episodes 2: The Strongest vs The Angriest'
Released 16th May 2012, this episode continues directly after the events of the first. Akuma interrupts Asura and Ryu's fight to defeat the angry deity. When he doesn't his anger transforms him into Oni and the two titans clash in a never ending war...
As is consistent with its cinematic ambitions, Asura's Wrath is packed with extra features that showcase its development. These assets are unlocked by completing each episode including Part IV and the Lost Episodes.
- CG Art- Pictures of the CG models used for the games characters.
- Illustrations- Concept and action art.
- Interludes & Movies- Consists of the movies found between episodes of the main game and promotional videos prior to the games release.
- Bumpers- Mid-episode bumbers. Can be set to episodes default or a customized selection that will randomly be displayed.