Monday, March 5, 2012

Asura's Wrath Review

Asura's Wrath, the one word I can use to describe it is mental. I have never ever played a game before where the main character has that many underlying issues that causing him to have extreme anger at almost every turn. The rage built up inside is granted however and allows you to unleash complete fury on your foes which is always exciting. The developers took a few risks when creating this game involving how the game is presented. While this is a full on action game at heart, the whole story is broken up into episodes and mimics a television series by having 20 minute stories which overall meld together to form the game. This was an interesting gamble that was very hit or miss as the interactive side of the game coupled with the vast amount of time watching cut scenes may deter some gamers.


The art direction of this title is quite an unique experience which I can best associate to the fighting series Street Fighter. To me the game looks like a hybrid combination between hand drawn images that have been given a cartoon style overlay. The game looks stunning and every part of the game has been lovingly crafted to provide a high level of detail. Characters each have distinguishable features and the animations are spot on. Throughout my time with the game I didn't encounter any frame rate dips, which is surprising since there are times when a lot of stuff is happening at once. Early on in the game a giant creature breaks its way through earths core and starts attacking the demigods. It's an incredibly busy scene which holds up nicely.

Being more of an interactive adventure than anything else, the choreography of the cut scenes is incredibly important. All the scenes look spectacular and give correct camera angles to receive the full experience. This seems fairly simple but its amazing how many games can struggle to pull this off. Sometimes the text is a bit hard to read if the bottom of the screen is made of darker colours but most of the time it is fine. The worlds you see are extravagant, mystical creations that you won't find outside of a Japanese creation. It looks great and is something you can really appreciate if you take the effort to understand the storyline.

The musical score for Asura's Wrath is excellent and does a nice job of complimenting the action. Since Asura is angry for a majority of the game, the score is tense and upbeat while also slowing down for more of the subtle, emotional areas of the game. Being a Japanese title the developers can sometimes make weird choices when bringing the game to an western market. The voice actors do a great job and each one matches the tone of the character they play. The game isn't the best you've seen or heard in terms of blow away graphics, but what it has tried to accomplish it can succeeded in by sticking to their limits.


For a game which is strictly an action game, it is surprising that the developers took an extremely hands off approach to the title. As I have now mentioned, Asura's Wrath is more of an interactive show that features a lot of watching the story unfold in between unleashing an onslaught of fury on your foes. While it does include an interactive element in the experience of quicktime events titles such as Final Fantasy XIII-2 or Battlefield 3 have, quite a lot of the game is about resting your fingers and taking in the experience. The time out of the game is only heightened by the games 'episodes' which extend the beginning and ending of every segment of story. They have pulled off the presentation of the game superbly, but the ratio of cut scenes to actual gameplay is probably slightly out of whack.

As an action game that is almost solely based on a hell of a lot of hacking and even more slashing, this is a super experience. While the game is constantly changing, the main processes remain throughout. You have light and heavy attacks which can be used in conjunction with jumping as well as ranged attacks for foes that prefer aerial combat. There are brutal finishing moves and all of it helps built up your wrath to unleash a deadly array of attacks when the bar is full. The true action sequences are so much fun and are varied from episode to episode. You will move from on rails shooter sequences to classic one vs many action scenes to some just downright bizarres objectives which I will leave you to find on your own. Trust me, you won't believe they let this n a video game that was given the tick of approval for sale in Australia!

The two biggest gripes I have with Asura's Wrath is the length of the game and the lack of action for the length. It won't take you very long to complete this game. Each chapter took approximately 20 minutes to complete on average and with 18 chapters it will take 6 hours on the easiest difficulty. This bumps up to around 8 or 9 hours on the harder difficulties but still this is quite short. What makes it worse is that a large chunk of this time is taken up by watching a story which will take a really dedicated effort to understand and appreciate, so the amount of time playing as Asura is short. By the time I finished the game I just wished they had extended all of the action.

The story is simple to understand but difficult for you to really get connected to emotionally. It starts off strong but teeters off as you progress. Asura is a demigod that fights alongside other demigods to protect heaven and everything good in the universe. Very early on you will learn that Asura is betrayed and his family are taken from him, leading to a long trail of revenge and fury to recover them. He is killed and revives himself centuries later out of anger alone, which anyone who has experienced this will know that its not good for your emotions. A lot of screaming and shouting will follow as you follow Asura throughout many different worlds.


Asura's Wrath is a good game that absolutely shines in its presentation and delivery but ultimately falls down in the length of the title. For a full priced title, there are too many cutscenes and not enough action for a game this short. I like the idea of episodes and the mimicking of television shows, but they needed to squeeze more out of the story and have Asura fighting more people for longer periods of time to make this truly successful. Asura's Wrath is a superb game if you can find it at a discounted price as it probably isn't worth the full price of admission. Perfect for anyone who likes to resolve their anger issues and end the day by watching credits roll like any good show these days!

Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8.5/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Overall - 8.5/10