Asura's Wrath on PS3, XBOX 360

April 29, 2012
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Asura’s Wrath, one of gaming giant Capcom’s latest intellectual properties, is definitely not anything that one would expect from a video game. In fact, many might not call the title a game at all, but then those people would have to go on a soul-searching trip to broaden their definition of what a game is. Set up like an anime series, Asura’s Wrath plays out like Dragonball Z meets God of War. There’s gods poking holes in planets with their fingernails and 300,000 mile-long swords. The game is a perfect example of what a classic epic would be if it were mixed everything Star Wars related.
Story:

Let me get this out of the way: This game will make you angry. It won’t get you frustrated through unresponsive controls, character glitches or other technical malfunctions. No, it’s the story that will get to you. This tale of revenge is nothing new and in fact has been done better in video game series like God of War, but the way in which is presented is somewhat original.

Asura is one of eight demigod Guardian Generals protecting the advanced, floating civilization of Shinkoku. The race of beings that live there, worshipped as gods by the humans down below, are in a war with the earth-shatteringly powerful Gohma Vlitra and its diabolical spawn. After the forces of Shinkoku, led by the Generals’ commanding officer Deus, win a decisive battle against Vlitra, mass celebration erupts in both Shinkoku’s capital and all around the world of humans. As the world celebrates its victory over evil, General Asura and his brother-in-law and fellow General Yasha return home to his wife Durga and his loving daughter Mithra. Just as the family reunites, a messenger arrives to tell Asura that the aging emperor of Shinkoku wants to speak with him. But when Asura enters the chambers of the emperor, the old man falls into Asura’s arms, dead, with his blood on the general’s hands. Asura, confused and afraid, runs from the chamber and is quickly confronted by the other Generals, including Yasha. Able to fend them off long enough to escape, Asura returns home to find his wife slain and his daughter kidnapped. Upon learning his superior officer Deus is behind it all, Asura flies into a rage to get his daughter back. Easily defeated by Deus, Asura falls to his death in the spirit world Naraka. His rage not nearly satisfied, he literally drags himself out of hell to obliterate anything that would stand in the way of his glorious revenge.

Again, the revenge story is nothing new and is often compared to God of War, but little spins put on it make the tale something unique. The blend of Asian mythologies and science fiction creates a unique world that makes for an interesting setting to see the story play out in.
Gameplay:

If only the story were enough. This is where most of the complaints about the game come from. In terms of gameplay, there is virtually none. Actual gameplay segments encompass probably 25 percent of the final product; most of it is just watching. Not to say that this is necessarily a bad thing. Just don’t go in expecting to find God of War button mashing mayhem. The cinematics don’t let you sit on your butt all the time though, and they contain many, MANY quick-time events. My biggest complaint is that these quick-time events don’t seem to effect the cinematics at all, just your score at the end of a level. And since the game isn’t difficult, it’s easy to go back and try to get a better score. Asura’s Wrath supports trophies and achievements, but since the game is nothing but story, there isn’t much reason to go back for a second playthrough, let alone a third or fourth, for which some trophies/achievements deem necessary.
Sound:

What Asura’s Wrath lacks in gameplay, it makes up for in sound. The music in this game is simple beautiful. Tranquil Japanese songs in space flow into rowdy Western songs in the desert which lead into Dvorak’s 9th symphony during a moon battle. The music in this game is a wonderful mix and is only complemented by the glorious sound effects. Explosions rattled my eardrums (and there are plenty), and every sound was crisp and clear, from the clenching of hands to the grinding of teeth. The voice acting is top notch and, although Asura’s lines devolve into simple yells of rage early on, the voice actors for the other characters put on an amazing performance.
Visuals and Presentation:

Asura’s Wrath looks beautiful. From Asura’s rusted metal skin to the gold ornaments on the demigods’ clothes, the attention to detail is astounding. Everything is set in a kind of anime and comic book kind of style, so the art style is interesting.

If the visuals don’t make your jaw drop, then the over-the-top action most certainly will. Planet-sized gods and volcanoes with angry faces are the most normal thing Asura encounters on his journey for revenge. The game borrows heavily from Asian mythology and Buddhism. From the giant space Buddha, the Brahmastra, to the way Asura’s skin rusts like a statue when he gets injured, you would be hard pressed to find anything not directly influenced by Asian culture. And this culture is all accented by sci-fi elements, like the floating realm of Shinkoku and hovercraft-riding, lightsaber-carrying statues. The game world and the way it’s presented is phenomenal and certainly original, even if the story it contains may not be.
Verdict:

Asura’s Wrath isn’t the best game in the world. Not by a long shot. Not everything it does works, but what does work works well. I would definitely recommend the game for its visuals and sound alone, but potential buyers might want to be wary of the lack of substantial player input and all should be aware of the game’s short completion time; my first playthrough (trying to drag it out as much as I could) chalked up to about eight hours. So if you can handle watching much more cutscenes than playing the actual game and the short runtime then please pick up Asura’s Wrath, if not to buy, then to rent. I give the game a 7.5/10.





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