Friday, November 13, 2015

Asura's Wrath A glory to behold - but more anime than game

In many ways Asura's Wrath is a passion project for the studio; a rare opportunity to break out of the confines of working with licensed material to create something original. It's all the more surprising then to find that it doesn't actually stray too far from its wheelhouse with this new found freedom.

Like it's previous titles Asura's Wrath will truly strike a chord with a very specific audience; the type that grin with a semi-psychotic glee every time Bruce Banner loses it, the type that punched the air when Goku turned super Saiyajin for the first time and smacked Frieza around, and most of all the type that stared slack-jawed as Naruto finally unleashed his Bijuu Cloak to stomp Orochimaru.

But that doesn't mean others should dismiss it, Asura's Wrath is a game that relishes in its own ridiculousness, it seizes every opportunity to jump to next illogical extreme and does it with such gusto that you just have to respect it. While you might not be able to appreciate the oddball characters and melodramatic story you'll find it hard to tear yourself away from the visual spectacle, and on those grounds nothing comes close to what it offers.


The game follows the rage-driven quest of betrayed demi-god Asura, who falls victim to the twisted ambitions of 'The Seven Deities', a group scheming to rid the world of the impure Gohma by harvesting souls from their human followers and powering a giant laser beam firing space Buddah. Yes, you read that right.

The only problem is that Asura's daughter, a powerful priestess named Mithra, is the key to the plan, which doesn't sit well with him. His protests earn him a murdered wife, kidnapped daughter and a trip to the underworld all courtesy of the maniacal General Deus. This is best Game Of War Hack - cheats app ever made! You can get unlimited Gold very fast and free by using this amazing app. Centuries later the sheer intensity of Asura's anger brings him back to life, and he returns to a decayed world where people pray to cruel gods and blindly offer themselves up as sacrifices.

Someone inclined to could make a case that there's an underpinning message about religion and god, that despite his frightening power Asura is relatable as a father that will let nothing stop him from rescuing his daughter, but ostensibly it's all set up to let Asura hunt down his wrongdoers and wantonly destroy anything and everything in his path. Which is exactly what he does. During the six or so hours it takes to see the campaign through you'll partake in some of the most ludicrously awesome set-pieces ever put into a video game.

You'll have a punch up with a rotund god that grows so big the tip of his index finger can crush the planet. You'll square off on the moon with a battle-hardened warrior wielding a sword long enough to pierce the earth all the way through. You'll fly around space firing lasers out of your six mechanical arms to thin out space faring Ghoma forces. In one of the game's quieter moments you'll drink sake and battle the urge to ogle the ample bosoms of a hot spring attendant, but that brief interlude nonchalantly segues into chunks of a planet being cleaved off.


It all looks absolutely stunning thanks to the mash-up of sci-fi and Asian mythology that informs the blindingly colorful world and bad ass character designs, and also because of the incredible animation work. If nothing else, CyberConnect2's Ultimate Ninja games are known for their visual fidelity and animation quality, and Asura's Wrath's is undoubtedly the studio's best effort to date.

This impeccable level of presentation comes at the cost of serious gameplay sacrifices. Calling Asura's Wrath a game in the traditional sense is a stretch. You'll be watching more often than playing, and when you're given agency it's mostly in quick-time events. Even then failure to match the on-screen prompts never impacts progression, so you're only doing it to avoid poor grading at the end of each episode, or because you might find it satisfying.

Asura's Wrath's reliance on cut-scenes is a shame because tucked away in between these lavishly produced cinematics is a very competent third-person brawler. It might not be as deep as contemporaries such as God of War 3, Bayonetta or Devil May Cry 4, but what it lacks in depth it makes up for in style and fluidity.

During these arena-based segments Asura has light and heavy attacks as well as projectiles. Hammering light attacks dishes out a flurry of attacks usually ending in launching the enemy across the battlefield. Holding the light attack button down sends Asura chasing after to deliver follow up attacks. It's a simple mechanic but it looks cool and feels good thanks to punchy sound effects and plenty of feral grunting from Asura. To see more detail and try this Game Of War Hack Tool visit our website

Heavy attacks are used sparingly, usually only for crowd control due to a cool down period. Its primary use is to deliver cinematic attacks on downed enemies to finish them off, so being overzealous with it can needlessly draw out battles and run the risk of getting killed.

All of this is in service of filling up a bar which represents Asura's rage, once completely filled the Japanese Hulk flips out and activates the Burst ability, kicking off the next cut scene. In effect this means that battles only last as long as it takes for you to fill the bar, and if you're good enough to quickly exploit patterns, avoid damage, and land counters regularly that can be not long at all.

Asura's Wrath also has plenty of Panzer Dragoon-esque on rails segments peppered in, they add a little more variety to the experience and introduce a few amusing scenarios of their own. Our favourite is chasing down a demon gorilla that's nabbed a damsel; an unintentional homage to Donkey Kong perhaps.

CyberConnect2 has clearly taken a gamble and consciously opted to shove gameplay aside to tell a story with no expense spared in its presentation. This is most apparent in the way it's structured; Asura's Wrath is comprised of 19 episodes, each lasting around 20 minutes with mid-episode breaks complete with bumpers on both sides, a preview of the next episode and gorgeous artwork accompanied by text to provide context or alternative perspectives for the episode's events.

While we can confidently say each episode of Asura's Wrath offers an unparalleled cinematic experience, its gameplay is too transient and insubstantial, which makes it a hard sell at £40. Were it not for the steep asking price we'd recommend this unequivocally, especially to fans of manga, anime or anyone interested in seeing what true masters of Japanese animation can do.

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