ASURA'S WRATH REVIEW
Are games art? The question continues to rage, and Asura’s Wrath, a game that is hardly even a game has waded angrily into the argument. Is this curio worth your money?
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Mar 13, 2012 14:55 (Mar 13, 2012 14:55)
Written by: Ian
Will buying this make you angry?
Are games art? The question continues to rage, and "Asura’s Wrath", a game that is hardly even a game has waded angrily into the argument. Is this curio worth your money? In a world where films, paintings, music or even TV have transcended entertainment, games have always been a trashy little brother.
Certain titles like Braid or Flower have caused debate, but here we have a full retail title that is almost better described as an interactive movie- so where does this fall?
I won’t spoil the game for you, but Asura’s Wrath is a beautifully told, classical tale of parental love, betrayal and revenge, and the unrelenting anger that comes with loss. The entire game revolves around the story, and for the most part, it’s truly excellent. This is no bromantic GoW or all-action CoD machismo tale.
There are moments of genuine sympathy and pathos for the ever-tortured Asura, whilst other moments where you just find him a dick. This tortured nature makes him one of the most interesting characters in gaming, as my opinion of him shifted throughout the game. It’s rare for characters to see real growth in a game, and even though the fractured story is set over 13,000 years, it’s to the credit of the writers that there is also great continuity throughout, despite the sometimes confusing half sci-fi/ half Greek/ Hindu mythology vibe going on in the background.
The story also has some nice sections with a ‘coming next’ video, and some beautiful hand-drawn art that helps explain the previous chapter that help to slow down the intensity of the gameplay.
There’s almost very little point to this section of my review! Asura’s wrath lasts for about 5-6 hours depending on difficult and retries, but the amount of time you’ll actually be playing the game probably amounts to about 1-2 hours at most. Don’t let that put you off straight away though- this is one game that is worth playing.
There are three distinct gameplay styles. The main is the Quick Time Event. Whilst still prevalent, this time of gameplay is now long out of fashion, but this is the best implementation since probably Resident Evil 4 popularised the system. There’s a nice mix of mashing and timed presses, and most of the time, the screen position changes according to where Asura is on screen. Also, many of the actions feel like they have a genuine impact of what you are doing, rather than a meaningless press in order to progress/ stop failing. This is an important step forwards which revitalises a tired gaming cliché.
Second is a Panzer Dragoon style shooting gallery, where you avoid incoming fire, and have a choice of rapid fire or homing shots. These sections always have some fantastic scope as you shoot up the evil Gohma or the armies of the seven deities, with thrilling scenery rushing past at a breakneck pace. Finally, you get God of War style action sequences. These are the weakest of the three, as you are forced to hit stuff over and over again until you fill your burst meter in order to trigger a QTE and progress the story. I also found many of these sections, as well as being duller both in terms of graphics and gameplay, to be significantly harder than the other gameplay types. Thankfully, despite some lengthy sections including boss battles, these sections are at most half of the actual gameplay.
Given the quality of the plot, and the beauty of the art direction, Asura’s Wrath is still great, even at full price. It would have been nice, however, to have had a bit more replayability. Whilst you can go back in with new gauges, or try on another difficulty, the QTE’s don’t change, and the gameplay doesn’t offer enough to make a second playthrough worthwhile for anyone but the biggest fans or hardcore achievement hunters.