You know you’re in for an unabashedly over-the-top gaming experience when within the first few seconds of the game you are falling through space launching rockets out of your arms at glowing red squid-like-creatures as the Earth itself opens up and reveals a planet sized monster that launches laser rays at you as you plummet towards Terra Nova. The purpose of that run on sentence was my attempt at putting to words the absurdity that is Asura’s Wrath a game that, while brimming with style and spectacle, unfortunately forgets to be a game while flexing its cinematic flair.
The Story – While Asura’s Wrath would never be accused of subtlety, the story actually manages to be quite intimate and is well told. In classic revenge-tale-style, the demigod Asura is betrayed by his fellow demigods and is cast into the underworld for 12,000 years. What follows is a path of destruction and fury that would rival the most epic of tales in size and scope. It’s not exactly complex, but the story is easy to follow and a joy to watch unfold. IT’s delivery is also unique as it is presented across 18 “episodes” that play out like an anime episode wherein there are opening animation credits to go along with the small introduction. These are all bridged together by beautiful hand drawn scenes that continue to weave the fabric of the narrative together.
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Title: Asura’s Wrath
Genre: Action Adventure
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 2/21/12[/toggle_box]
- Gorgeous Art Style and Graphics – Asura’s Wrath is simply dripping with beauty. From the visuals that mix realism with hand drawn comic book styles to the sci-fi meets Asian mythology art style, this game will never leave you without something pretty to gaze upon.
- Entertaining and Well Told Story – Though the material isn’t exactly anything new, the story plays out very smoothly and manages to hold it all together even at it’s most outrageous and unbelievable. It helps that all of the characters are likable in some way or another, even the evil ones. Cheers to quality voice acting and no annoying characters!
- Peerless Spectacle and Presentation – From samurai showdowns on the moon, to planet size boss encounters, to airborne battles high above the earth, Asura’s Wrath sure knows how to make things big. The word “epic” may get thrown around a lot these days, but this game is truly deserving of the title. You get a real sense of the extent of Asura’s wrath, as weird as that sounds.
- Great Gameplay – Though there seems to be a considerable lack of interactive moments in the game (more on that below), what is there is really solid. The combat is simple in its light attack, heavy attack, dodge mechanics, but it was easy enough to pick up and play and I had a lot of fun beating baddies to a pulp. There are also some on rails sections to mix things up that also happen to be fun.
- This is a Game, Right? – For all of its spectacle and visual splendor, Asura’s Wrath seems to forget that, first and foremost, it is a video game; an experience that is meant to be interactive. With this game, you will spend just about 3/4 of your time watching things happen and not making them happen. Thankfully, the insanity that is usually happening on screen either hides this or makes up for it, but I really wish I had spent more of my time playing this game rather than watching it.
- QTE’s – When your game is already sorely lacking in the interactivity department, it is probably not a good idea to reduce the intermittent moments of actual game play to timed button presses. Similar to my last complaint, these QTE’s usually lead to something crazy like punching someone through a damn mountain, but, once again, I just felt like I was watching more than playing.
- The Length – Given that Asura’s Wrath is already short on game play, it doesn’t help that the experience in it’s entirety is also a pretty short affair. When all was said and done, cutscenes, QTE’s and all, I only really got about six hours out of the game. Granted, for the sake of time, I played through the game on easy, and it felt as if the game’s narrative hung around just long enough to leave you wanting more, but I know this short length will bother some out there.
- Lack of Interactivity – I know I listed this above, but this really could go either way for some. While some may appreciate the insanity that is unfolding on the screen, you as a gamer have do very little in making said insanity happen. When you take away the ridiculous cutscenes and outrageous moments, there is literally about an hour of actual game play to Asura’s Wrath. This is a shame too, because the moments of actual combat are really smooth and well done.
All in all, Asura’s Wrath gets high marks in all departments, even game play. The problem is that there is just not enough of it there. What it is replaced by is a presentation that is up there with the best of them. The graphics are gorgeous, the scale is massive and the cut scenes and the action are all over the top. In fact, this game is so far over the top that it leaves the top behind entirely and sets an new bar for the standards that the words “epic” and “gargantuan” have to live up to. It’s just a shame that beneath all of that, there is not much of a game there.
[box_light]We believe that the score is the least important part of a review. It’s tough trying to assign a numerical value to an experience. Furthermore, is there really a difference between a 7.5 and an 8? Gamers place too much importance on arbitrary numbers. This is why our scores are hidden by default. Only look at them if you absolutely need a number between 1-10 to see if a game is worth your time. You can read our review guidelines here.[/box_light]
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7.0 Good – This game probably won’t win any awards, but it’ll keep you entertained, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters–it’s worth a look. [/toggle_box]