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In today’s oversaturated market, finding a video game that
offers a playing experience unlike any other is surely a plus, but does that
fact alone warrant a purchase? Published by Capcom and developed by
CyberConnect2, ASURA’S WRATH is essentially an ultraviolent sci-fi anime series
rooted in Hindu mythology, disguised as a video game whose unique interactive
aspects deliver a story that’s always engulfing and often visually spectacular.
But it’s also this lack of synergy that may leave some gamers yearning for
The story follows Asura, one of eight demigods who, in the
first episode, is betrayed by his peers, framed for the murder of the Emperor
and thrown out of heaven. With his wife killed and daughter kidnapped, the
sheer force of his titular rage enables him to claw his way out of the
netherworld some 12,000 years later. Revenge is the only thing on his mind as
you control Asura through both spiritual and physical worlds, with his anger
growing and growing as the intentions of his former comrades slowly
The game’s structure is what makes the experience most
unique when it comes to video games, and is sure to appease anyone who fancies
themselves an otaku. It’s split into 18 episodes (broken up into three chapters
of six episodes apiece), each bookended by beautifully illustrated,
dialogue-ridden stills that further progress the plot, contain both opening and
closing credits and even with mid-section commercial bumpers. To pull it even closer
to the realm of television, there’s a quick narrated tease for the next episode
at the end of each. Also unique is the gameplay, which changes from scenario to
scenario—though it doesn’t have the same appeal the structure does.
A great deal of this game consists of plot-progressing cut
scenes, peppered with quick-time events (QTEs) which usually require you to
press the corresponding button at the precise moment. However, your success or
failure during these segments will only affect your score, and not your health
bar or the narrative. Each episode also contains two isolated gameplay segments
which can range anywhere from mindless third-person brawling to a
sequence-memorizing rail-shooter of a boss battle. But although it gets
increasingly challenging, the setup and backdrop to these clashes are usually
more interesting. For example, you might be battling on the moon against a
planet-sized foe or floating in space against laser-spewing giant squid, but
either way, most of the coolest moments occur during a cut scene. If you think
too hard about it, basically everything you personally contribute to the tale
is glorified button-mashing. Still, the action rarely stops, and you can’t help
but feel a bit satisfied after ripping your former companions apart.
In addition to taking on fellow gods, you’ll also encounter
creatures known as Gohma, monstrous manifestations of gorillas, turtles,
elephants and squids. The combination of cut scenes and battle sequences was
healthy enough for me to stay thoroughly entertained, and I found it tough to
put the controller down once I completed the first episode.
The game is relatively short, and pretty easy to plow
through; it took me roughly seven nonstop hours to complete these 18 episodes
on the “normal” difficulty setting. But with an always-engulfing plot and
enough unlockable content (including an additional episode), you’ll likely find
yourself coming back for seconds and maybe thirds.
ASURA’S WRATH does have its weak spots—including the price,
considering the quick and prosaic nature of its storytelling and the lack of
human interaction. You’re basically paying $59.99 for an eight-hour interactive
anime series that can only be recommended to fright fans who don’t necessarily
think time should equal money, since it begs to be finished in one sitting.
That said, this is surely one of the most unique gaming experiences I’ve ever
had…and that’s coming from someone who owned CUSTER’S REVENGE.
Video Game Reviews
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