|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Release: February 21, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Asura's Wrath is a lot of things. It's an action game. It's a blatant God of War rip-off. It's a story with martial arts craziness the likes of which we haven't seen since Fist of the North Star. But, most of all Asura's Wrath is a game about being really angry and really awesome. It's total unrestrained catharsis in video game form. Though some believe making a game solely for the purpose of venting your anger and stress cheapens the gameplay experience, the game's creators insist that there is a certain artistry to rage that they hope to capture in this game. I was skeptical, but after seeing the short demo and new trailers for the game, showcased at Captivate 2011, I was instantly hooked.
The game's main character is the sometimes two-armed, sometimes six-armed, sometimes one-armed, demi-god Asura, and he is pissed! His daughter has been kidnapped by deities that resemble figures from Hindu mythology, and he is ready to punch all of them to death in order to get her back.
That's all we know about the story so far, which is odd because the game's producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya said that the story will be the center point of the game's rage-based gameplay. Asura will gain new abilities, powers, weapons, and forms based on what is happening in the story, and in some instances his entire control scheme may change. It doesn't seem as if Tsuchiya is speaking of a gradual power-up system like we have seen in The Legend of Zelda or God of War. Instead, it seems as if Asura will have entirely new move-sets in-game based on what is currently cinematically appropriate.
The gameplay itself fits snugly into the standard 3D action game mold. Players will run around an overworld, mash some buttons, beat up enemies, and then murder them in gruesome ways via quick-time events. The maneuvers Asura will be able to take in battle depend largely on how much "godly power" he is able to utilize. Apparently, Asura frequently holds himself back, which prevents him from accessing all of his abilities, but as he gets angrier he becomes more godly and has more attack options open to him.
Asura's Wrath sets itself apart from other action games in a couple of ways. First of all, the environments seem very interactive. In trailers and gameplay we see Asura picking up poles, pillars, boulders, and more to lay the hurt on his enemies. We also see Asura running his enemies into wall, slamming them into the ground, and otherwise using his environment as an effective means of attack.
Secondly, the enemies themselves seem to be much more than simple targets for button mashing. In gameplay trailers, we saw that Asura has a variety of grab and grapple moves, as well as situational strikes. We have seen Asura wrench weapons from his enemies' hands to use against them, pick up two enemies and smash them together, counter a jumping enemy by throwing it into a crowd of troops to take them all down, and much more. Depending on how many enemies surround him and in what way, Asura seems to have tons of different techniques that disarm his opponents and otherwise use their own strengths against them. It makes many battles play out like fight scenes in an anime, rather than simple mash-fests.
The creators of Asura's Wrath also seem to take pride in its quick-time events. In fact, we have been shown more QTE footage than actual game footage. Supposedly, QTE's are different in Asura's Wrath than they are in other action games, thought just how they are different has not yet been revealed. There are rumors going around that you don't auto fail if you mess up a QTE, and that some QTE's may have branching paths or choices of commands to take, making them all more like the scenes from Heavy Rain than anything in God of War. We can only hope this is the case.
Then, there is the scope. First, God of War had Kratos battling titans the size of contents. Then, Bayonetta had you fighting against a boss the size of a meteor. Well, Asura's Wrath looked at all of that and said "we can totally do better." The very first boss battle we saw involved a Buddha-like creature the size of a mountain. After dodging a missile barrage, Asura is tasked with running down the boss's arms, punching it in the face, and then fighting its giant spaceship … which seems redundant because the boss then grows to be bigger than earth itself! It descends its finger which is easily the size of a small moon down toward Asura, who then sprouts four extra arms (story-based powers, get it?), catches the finger, and punches it Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure style until his own arms shatter into a million pieces and the boss explodes from the inside out!
It was at this point, that my eyes started bleeding from the sheer awesomeness of it all.
Overall, Asura's Wrath is looking to be one hell of an action title. It's not trying to re-invent the action genre, it's just trying to come at it from a new angle. The game isn't soaked in blood and gore like God of War, rather it's saturated with outrageous action at every turn. It replaces realistic violence with stylized anime fighting, and it tries to integrate this into every aspect of the game, from core action to cutscene. I am very interested to see what other tricks Capcom has up their six sleeves, when they showcase the game again this year at E3.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer