PS3 Reviews: Asura's Wrath Review

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Asura's Wrath Review

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Replay Value:



Overall Rating:       7.5



Online Gameplay:

Not Rated





Number Of Players:




Asura’s Wrath is a whirlwind of mindless repetition. It demands your attention due to the prominence of QTEs, boasts a surprisingly decent story, and features unequivocally the most insane, over-the-top, outlandish boss fights you’ve seen in a long time. If you’re looking for a deep combat mechanic, wait for Ninja Gaiden III or God of War IV. But there’s no denying that CyberConnect2’s production insists upon itself…and in that insistence, the gleeful wanna-beat-on-everything-in-sight kid inside us all will revel.

As is the case with most games with anime roots, the technical elements can be highly subjective. In the case of the graphics, there’s lots of color, great character design, plenty of rewarding special effects, and even some impressive background scenery. There’s really a lot to like in the visual presentation, especially when it comes to the in-your-face encounters with demigods that are the size of a planet. It’s not exquisitely detailed and you sense a certain lack of polish, but this lagging isn’t often obvious. There’s just so much to see.

Provided you can handle obscenely cheesy voice acting – which is apparently par for the course for this particular art style – and the poor audio balancing, your speakers are in for a treat. The balancing really is off, though, so you’ll have to keep adjusting the volume; the game is much louder during cut-scenes, and the music and effects typically drown out the voices during emotional confrontations (and there are a lot of those). But those effects are damn good and the soundtrack works, too. In other words, battle is always well supported by the sound.

Strangely enough, while the gameplay really is brainless and quite repetitive, the story isn’t bad at all. In fact, without giving too much away, it reminded me of “Gladiator;” if you recall the first part of the film and what happened to Maximus, you’ll basically know what happens to Asura. It’s quite similar; the only difference is that his daughter survives…well kinda. And that theme of vengeance and love permeates this overly grandiose plot and in truth, it results in a production that is more interactive cinema than game, which may catch some by surprise.

The good news is that when you are playing, you’re having fun. You’re destroying faceless enemies that fall beneath your incredible might, and with each roar of unbridled aggression and anger, you feel more involved in the on-screen melee. The combat combines standard third-person action controls and a shooting mechanic, which actually works fine even if the lock-on option for unleashing fireballs isn’t perfect. You can control the camera, which keeps up pretty well but again, it isn’t perfect. It’s all a little unrefined and definitely repetitive.

But you know, the flaws actually didn’t matter much to me. I acknowledged their existence (hard to miss) but because you rarely encounter a frustrating situation, you’re usually grinning at the havoc you’re causing. It’s just mind-numbingly nuts. And it’s true that the third-person shooting, especially during long boss fights, doesn’t feel tight, but it’s still functional. And that’s all I ask for. If I have that, and I do, I can unleash and destroy; I can gleefully dispatch at will, and that’s not a bad thing.

I don’t want to make it sound like I’m giving this game a free pass for falling short in various important categories. Like I said, I have to admit the existence of obvious problems. However, there are times when a game like Asura’s Wrath fits beautifully into your day. You spilled your coffee that morning and the stain seems permanent. You got behind every slow driver on earth coming home. You hit 2 minutes on the microwave when you meant 20 seconds. Now, there are healthy ways of venting…and all Asura wants to do is vent.

You will unlock videos and pieces of artwork as you progress, and you’re graded on your performance after each episode. This might give you some minor incentive to replay a given episode but really, it isn’t necessary. You will likely want to keep playing, both for the sake of the main character’s desired vengeance and for the nonstop chaos. The QTEs are relatively easy as you have enough time to view, process, and execute. The basic combat, which includes heavy attacks, dash attacks, and dive attacks, is fast, furious, and absolutely relentless.

The biggest downside may not be the failings of the gameplay mechanic, but the length of the gameplay. If you eliminate all the storytelling, you could probably finish the game in 2-3 hours, which proves two things: firstly, this is certainly a cinematic experience, and secondly, you really have to enjoy everything about the production, from the style to the presentation to the outrageous battle settings. So if this one hooks you, there’s every chance that you’ll see it through to the end, and likely enjoy yourself in the process. If it doesn’t grab you immediately, well…

Asura’s Wrath is an assault on the senses; a parade of endless insanity that drags you along for the ride, whether you like it or not. As a cinematic experience, it isn’t bad, as the story is decent (if you can ignore the horrid acting) and Asura is a bad-ass and sympathetic hero. Mechanically, it’s functional without being rock solid and there’s little in the way of depth. But those boss fights are just ridiculous and I never really got tired of beating on weaklings. It’s not a huge challenge but so what? Makes ya feel good for a while, and we all need that every now and then.

The Good: Great artistry and design. Decent storyline with a likeable, kick-ass hero. Action gameplay accessible to most gamers. General control and QTEs function well. Boss fights are out of this world. Cool atmosphere.

The Bad: Mediocre, often terrible, voice performances. Repetitive to a fault. Cinematic sequences override gameplay. Mechanics aren’t perfectly sound.

The Ugly: “Please just stop talking…it’s painful.”

3/1/2012 Ben Dutka

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (19 posts)

Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 9:35:12 PM

I'll have to give it a rental, then. Thanks for the thorough review, Ben.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 9:48:35 PM

if your not into anime style game play and QTEs that's the way to go. more people should play it, it'll become a cult classic like god hand in a few years.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 11:49:29 PM

Interesting. I never played God Hand, though I've heard of it. Sound comparison.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 9:46:39 PM

I would have scored it higher. But still it deserves ratings 7+. I thought the VAs were pretty good, some not so much however. Japanese cast and English both had some good VAs, some were lacking for what characters they got. Most of the music was great. Really one of the more unique games in a long time.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 10:36:02 PM

I thought this game would score around the 7's but I'll get it after Mass Effect 3 and Tales Of Graces F should be on sale by then.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 10:47:07 PM

After playing the demo I can say it's pretty out there and awesomely Japanese, but I don't think I can handle that many QTEs.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 11:31:55 PM

I'm gonna get this at one point, no a 60 bucks buy imo.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 11:49:40 PM

20 max.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 11:45:37 PM

i want these guys to make a dragonball z game!! :3

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Thursday, March 01, 2012 @ 11:50:37 PM

I think that would be extremely appropriate.

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Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 12:04:33 AM

Indeed. The current crop of people making DBZ games don't seem to have it in them to emulate the cartoon's crazy action.

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Banky A
Monday, March 05, 2012 @ 12:16:07 AM

The greatest idea.

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Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 12:04:49 AM

Remember when Capcom used to release good games?

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Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 12:20:38 AM

At this point... no.

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Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 8:41:07 AM

They still release them, fighting ones.

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Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 2:12:21 AM

Please dear gaming god, let QTE die with this generation.

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Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 4:34:10 AM

gotta pick this up down the line just have not had a chance.
this and dragons dogma actually look pretty good!
funny how every sequel crapcom releases fans hate, and every new IP fans love.
hmmmmmm, i wonder why...............

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Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 12:32:45 PM

I played the demo and enjoyed it. I may pick it up one day, but my action/adventure game backlog is just too huge at the moment (partially thanks to all the amazing HD collections that came out over the last few months). Ben, I'm looking forward to this site's review of SSX. I personally LOVE the new one. It's kinda like a SSX: Tricky/SSX 3 hybrid, just quicker.

Also, not sure if anyone's mentioned this before, but for some reason, reviews on the homepage don't show up on the mobile version of PSXE. I can see all the articles and editorials, but I can only see reviews on my phone if I click off the mobile site and enter the desktop site. Just a heads up. ;)

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Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 3:04:10 PM

This game is perfect for my tastes. Loved the Naruto games from CC2 for anime style and cinematic sequences and this seems to incorporate those with GoW style gameplay ^.^

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