Unlike some people I know, I don’t mind quick time events (QTE) in my games; I liked Ninja Blade, enjoyed Heavy Rain, and others. So I knew coming in to Asura’s Wrath that the QTE’s weren’t going to hinder my experience just by existing; it was up to the story and game play to do that. Thankfully the team at CyberConnect2 did not disappoint and made something truly entertaining.
The story of Asura’s Wrath follows the tale of Asura, a demigod and one of the Eight Guardian Generals of Shinkoku. The Guardian Generals are in an eternal war with the Gohma, an evil race determined on taking the souls of those who inhabit the planet Gaia. After Asura wards off the Gohma leader, Vlitra, he is then framed for the murder of the emperor. Unfortunately during the whole mess, Asura’s wife is murdered and his daughter kidnapped. Because of his foul deed, he is sent to the underworld Naraka. The story begins here as you make your way back to Gaia and back to the Guardian Generals to enact your revenge.
The story itself is presented in small episodes, similar to how a TV show is run. It even includes bumpers for imaginary commercial breaks. Each episode also concludes with a “to be continued” and short clips teasing the next episode. During the cut scenes though you have to keeps your hands on the controller. A majority of the QTE’s occur during cut scenes and if you’re not paying attention, say texting your girlfriend, you could miss out on a button prompt.
I played through the game in a few sittings and found this presentation was executed well. If the stages had went on for a little longer, I would have found myself holding the next episode till the following day; just to go that one step further to embrace the TV package. This isn’t to say the game is short, but by playing on easy the combat takes no time at all to finish; there was still a good 8 hours or so of game to be played. With unlockables that can give you bonuses like strength or faster gauge refill, you could play this game a 2nd time though and have a different combat experience, heck one of the achievements is to play through the game with no health or burst gauges.
Speaking of the combat, unfortunetly it does become stale by recycling enemies and basic melee attacks. The best part of the fights is when you build up enough Rage and can finally use Asura’s Burst. When Asura Bursts, a QTE occurs and he performs a special final attack that wipes the field of enemies and gives you a very satisfying climax to each battle. There are also shooting segments that give you limited control over Asura as he runs or flies along a linear path, firing rapid shots or homing beams. Boss fights are similar to Melee combat just longer and usually end with a more dramatic Burst.
There are some amazing moments to be experienced in this game, I mean where else can you fight a giant worm half the size of the planet, duel on the moon, fight with 6 arms then with NO arms, and relax in a hot spring with a well endowed hostess? The biggest downside is that the combat can get dull even with unlockables for a 2nd playthrough. A combo system or maybe some more enemies on screen compensated with weaker health would have made the actual combat as crazy as the rest of the game. The game is great but I don’t think it’s near $50 great and I know I’m asking a lot for those who can’t stand the thought of QTE but give this game a chance, in the end it was a very gratifying experience that kept me holding on to that controller to the very last second.