Asura's Wrath - PS3 Review
Asura's Wrath is a brand new franchise from Capcom and developers CyberConnect2. Admittedly after playing the demo from the PlayStation Store our interest in this title plummeted. It was just too weird and didn't really hold my interest. Now that we've played the final game though we suggest you don't take the demo as a true example of what this game has to offer. This is a unique, engrossing, experience - while it lasts.
|Visuals in Asura's Wrath are impressive.|
Asura's Wrath follows the story of a deity called Asura who is betrayed by his fellow gods when he is accused of murder and his wife and child are killed. Swearing vengeance Asura takes on these gods, but after being stripped of all his powers he needs to learn to channel his inner rage to unleash devastating attacks and seek vengeance.
Set across a 12,000 year timespan Asura's Wrath is a game comprised of 3 Acts with 6 Chapters in each (there is a 19th bonus chapter that is unlocked after completing certain goals in the game). Essentially the game is built much like 18 seperate anime/mange TV show episodes with each having their own opening credits, and starting by replaying the last moments of the previous chapter (albeit with slightly modified cinematography). As each chapter comes to its conclusion it typically ends at a cliffhanger moment rather then after each boss battle as most games would place chapter points.
|The fighting mechanics are decent.|
In terms of the actual gameplay there is plenty of variety here. "Standard" battle sequences see Asura using light and heavy attacks as well as firing projectiles, jumping, dodging attacks and more. At some points you can increase your power or activate special, super powerful, move via the "Burst Gauge". These action sequences are fast and fluid, but really only a small part of the gameplay.
The second gameplay style is the on-rails shooter of sorts. These sections of the game see you, as Asura, flying into the screen and you needing to put the reticule over enemy targets and fire missiles at them. The third game style, and the majority of the gameplay could be considered an interactive anime film which is filled with QTE's (Quick Time Events). Essentially as the prompts appear on screen you have a small amount of time to perform the action on the controller - hit a button or move the analogue sticks in a particular direction. Needless to say if you don't like QTE's in games, then this isn't the title for you!
What makes this game so special is simply the craziness of it all - we expect games like this from developers like Grasshopper Manufacture, or Tim Schafer's Double Fine Productions - but coming from Capcom and CyberConnect2 this is something quite different (although CyberConnect2 have developed the .Hack games on PS2 as well as the Naruto titles on multiple platforms). Everything here is just massive with bosses as big as planets, weapons that can destroy planets, and characters spouting some wonderful - but also occasionally crappy - over the top dialogue. As you play through the game you will unlock artwork which really should be checked out as it's pretty gorgeous.
|Characters in Asura's Wrath look fantastic.|
Sadly this is a single player game only. There's no co-op or competitive modes (local or online) which is a real shame as some on-on-one battles could have been a blast. Not only that but despite earning points and rankings for each chapter, there are no online leaderboards. Surely that's not too much to ask for in this day and age is it?
By far my biggest issue with this game is the length. We here at Futuregamez criticize many FPS's for their short campaigns, but they are typically saved with their extensive online modes which can increase game time several times over. Asura's Wrath however is a single player campaign only with a criminally short 6 hour runtime. Not only that, but probably half of that time, if not more, is watching cut-scenes. Let's face it for $99.95 this isn't great value despite the uniqueness and quality of the game. Capcom have promised DLC, but if we have to pay for it, that won't increase the lack of value for the game.
|This is the shooter section..|
Other issues are pretty minor in comparison, at times the button prompts that appear on screen are "lost" amongst the on-screen action so you miss them. Likewise in some of the still images between chapters which detail some more of the story the text blends into the background too much.
Visually Asura's Wrath really is a stunning title that offers a very unique visual style with unique, bold characters, fantastic animations and just a general "wow" factor like this is something fresh. Powered by the Unreal Engine and running at 720p the developers have created a game that makes it look as if the characters and locations have been hand drawn for a paper medium. The amount of imagination that has gone into creating this game is extraordinary - a sword that can crack the moon in half, gods that protrude from the entire planet, and starship armadas that would make Darth Vader and the Emperor proud. It's spectacular.
|In this game, this is a small tap!|
In terms of negatives we have a couple of very minor niggles. The game does have a little bit of screen tearing although it's fairly minimal and unobtrusive to the gameplay as most tearing appears during the cut-scenes. There are also some locations that look a little bland with some dull texturing at times - although in a game like this I would much rather the developers keep the frame rate up - which they have. Finally there are moments in the game when there is just so much happening that the characters, and at times the QTE prompts get lost.
Sonically Asura's Wrath hits all the right notes too with a wonderful, atmospheric original score which complements the on-screen action and cut-scenes perfectly. Voiceovers are decent enough despite some rather corny lines however Capcom have also kept the original Japanese soundtrack on the disc which you can switch to (with subtitles) if preferred over the English voiceovers.
|Fights really are epic.|
Asura's Wrath such a unique, visually impressive title that it deserves to sell well, but not as a full priced game for 6 hours of gameplay. Something like this would do well to launch at half the price - or as a downloadable title - so perhaps wait for the price to drop or pick it up as a rental. Still, if you love anime and are looking for something different then this game is worth checking out.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||One of the most unique and visually impressive titles seen in recent times.||86%|
|SOUND||The fantistic music is the highlight but the effects and dialogue also impress.||78%|
|GAMEPLAY||While mainly QTE's this is a very unique and entertaining experience.||76%|
|VALUE||$99.95 for a single player game that last arounds 6 hours, not great value at all.||54%|
|OVERALL||What a unique, interesting, visually impressive game this is. The main gripe we have is the short length but Asura's Wrath, while not a great game, is unique enough to warrant a try.||70%|