Let's chat about Asura's Wrath
by, 13 Jun 2012 at 08:12 PM (1944 Views)
I'm not a reviewer, and I don't finish most games in a timely enough fashion to put out my finished thoughts on them before most people who wanted to play it, have. Regardless, this is what I will consider my review of the game, and where I will post similar "reviews" in the future.
So Asura's Wrath is one of those games that will have people who totally love it and others who can't stand it at all. I doubt there will be much of a middle ground where people think "Eh, it was ok". I stand strongly in the former group, my time with the game was a blast and I found myself thinking about it constantly, the anticipation of seeing the next act driving me to finish it quicker than anything else.
The game plays out like an anime series, divided into 3 main chapters with 6 sections a piece. In between sections are hand drawn stills (each section's is done by a different artist, lending a lot of different styles and making it very interesting) that fill in some of the story that you don't see while playing. Then before the next episode you're given the opposite of a "Previously on Asura's Wrath..." with a little taste of what's to come. I found myself skipping these after the first several because they show you some things that will happen in the next section, and I just wanted to be surprised by it all.
The story itself is intriguing, featuring betrayal and deviousness that helps drive Asura completely insane with anger and fuels his drive to keep coming back after a beating. And he does take a beating. But when he get's pissed, he goes bonkers and the scenes end up being very over the top, but in a good way. I found myself chuckling madly at the screen after many encounters, outright stoked by the awesome display of rage I had just witnessed. It's a Capcom game, so the characters are very well presented (and often very cliche'd (sp?)), they look as imposing as they're intended to, and they're all animated beautifully. The action unfolds with a grace and fluidity that only accentuates the colossal and brutal fights. Often it reminded me of the best fight scenes from Dragonball Z, but better, and it only takes Asura about .5 seconds to "power up" as opposed to an entire episode.
The gameplay itself boils down to 3 varieties, and this is where I believe the game will lose some people. You have "on rails" shooting sections, where you can move about the screen freely as it forces you forward, standard rapid fire and lock on attacks plus an air dash. Then there are the action sequences, basically a 3D beat em up mode with light and heavy attacks, dashing, counters, lock on firing and the like. The game doesn't feature a block button, and that's because you're a demigod and it doesn't want you playing defense. The action is all about jumping into as many enemies as possible and decimating them in moments. After the first couple of levels of getting used to the controls, that's exactly what you'll be doing. And for the most part, it feels great. Lastly is the QTEs. I know many people hate them, but I'm not sure why. I've enjoyed them in games where I feel they fit, and this type of game it fits like a glove. The game gives you enough time to see the unobtrusive prompt come on during an action sequence, but also goes by quick enough that it's completely possible to miss the button or direction press. Hitting the prompt at the "perfect" (Excellent) time has a visual distinction from hitting it only "Good", and even if it's a small change in the animation, it gives you reason to get it right. That, and your overall level score. Each level is scored by 3 things: Time, Battle Damage, Synchronization (how well you hit all the QTEs). Get 2 "Good" ratings on the QTEs and chances are you'll be replaying the level for a better rank.
The music in the game is grand in the right places and minimal in the others, but it was obviously carefully chosen because it all fits very well. Faces crunch against fists and explosions give appropriate booms and the overall score adds a layer of emotion to many scenes. The voice acting is pretty decent (I did not try it in Japanese, nor did I even look to see if there was an option), and some of the dialogue actually did a good job to get me hyped for the next fight or crazy setpiece.
One thing I have to mention that would seem arbitrary: the did rumble right. I haven't played a game in years that made me think twice about controller vibration, or even notice it was there. This game uses it to great effect. During a series of QTEs, you may be punching someone several times (ok, that happens A LOT). If you hit the button and get a "Good" rating, you get a meager, wimpy controller fart. If you hit the next one with an "Excellent", the rumble comes through strong and at the perfect time to sell the visceral connection of fist to face. I know it sounds silly, but it's something the game constantly reminded me of: "Hey, we know your controller vibrates, let's go ahead and actually make that interesting for you". For me, that goes to show that the people who put this together had the whole package in mind, and they wanted to immerse you in the game and it's world completely, and when it's all working together, that's exactly what happens.
The game is fairly short, though. 18 + 1 sections in the main game, and the longest one might take you a half hour. The sections and usually an equal mix of action/and or shooting sequences, huge setpieces with QTEs and story. The nice thing is that at almost any point, you can press select to skip to the next section. The game won't let you skip past any part that has you doing QTEs or fighting, but when all you're trying to do is turn your A rank into an S it's very nice to be able to skip parts that you would just be watching over and over again.
Overall, this was an excellent gaming experience, and one that I hope everyone gives a shot at some point or another. It's similar to various games in some respects, but as a package I can't think of anything like it. It really is like playing through a giant anime movie at times, and as such can make you feel freaking awesome about the hell you just unleashed on someone. I highly recommend this game, especially if you can find it for ~$30. At that price, it's incredible. And with a few more episodes which continue the story (and as I've read, show the "real" ending) already available as cheap DLC, there's more to enjoy once you're done with the base game. Like I said, some will love the hell out of it (LIKE ME!!!), and some will surely hate it, but that's all games isn't it? I hope more people give this one a shot, if for nothing else than to play something different (and GOOD).
Also for those who enjoy achievement hunting (yes I know, that's no one who posts here), it'll take 4 playthroughs at least, but it's a totally doable game. I started the game May 24th and got 1000/1000 on June 11th. I will be buying all the available DLC by the weekend and should have it done shortly after.
Also feel free to use this area as a supplement to the thread in GD for any questions or discussion.
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