Asura’s Wrath Hands-On Preview – When Gods Collide!
Written Thursday, September 22, 2011 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Let’s be perfectly honest here, if you were a god who was stripped of his powers, banished from Earth and then had your daughter kidnapped, you would be pretty pissed too, right? I mean, to take your daughter after being banished from your home planet and shorn of your powers is one step too far. It’s like taking candy from a baby and then spitting it back in its face to taunt them. Understandably then, when this happens to the titular hero in Capcom and CyberConnect2’s upcoming hack-n-slash, fantasy opera, Asura’s Wrath, he does what any of us would do in this situation; and that’s to go Liam Neeson on their asses and go after his daughter and seek vengeance.
It’s rather fitting that since Asura’s Wrath was announced way back at the Tokyo Games Show 2010, that we use 2011’s show to get our first real look at the title, and of course, our first hands-on. It’s fairly hard to pigeonhole Asura’s Wrath in a specific genre as the truth is it spans a few different ones with its hack-n-slash antics, its beat 'em up-style battles, its fast-paced action and as-subtle-as-a-bus quick-time-events. Needless to say, it’s as crazy as Gary Busey and Charlie Sheen’s love child! And where better than to stake an epic battle but on the moon…
Enter protagonist and the game’s namesake, Asura, and his opponent for this brief but equally as interesting battle, Angus, an angry looking son of a bitch who’s got a look of death in his eyes. Like any epic battle between gods, it wouldn’t be complete without the pre-aggression exchange of words, where although we don’t really pick up on why these two might have a beef with one another – although, we assume it might have something to do with his banishment and the subsequent kidnapping of his daughter – but we do pick up on the fact that Angus might have been Asura’s sensei or master many a moon ago – moon, geddit?
Do you want to shut Angus up the game politely asks us… Well, don’t mind if we do, as we press a button in a QTE scene that cuts short his incessant ramblings and kickstarts the proceedings with a bang. Angus, whose face somewhat resembles an ageing lion, what with its white fluffy locks and white eyes – yes, we realise lions don’t have white eyes; stop being so picky! – is armed with a trusty sword and a look of hate flowing through his ample tattooed bosom. Asura on the other hand has no weapons… just six bloody arms of steel. As you do.
Like something cut straight out of one of the Dragon Ball Z games, we stood toe-to-toe with Angus in this epic moon crater arena. Quickly we learned that we needed to be nimble – using the jump button more often than a kangaroo on smack – and that aggression wasn’t necessarily the best tactic. Ironically, choosing when to attack to fill our “rage” meter and dodging Angus’ attempts to slap our pre-pubescent face was the way forward, and as we jumped around the moon crater avoiding attacks, we snuck in for a bevy of normal and heavy attack combos. Thankfully, being able to lock onto Angus allowed us to constantly keep an eye on him and make sure our attacks weren’t wasted. After all, this guy moves fast and can cover some serious yardage in a mere matter of seconds.
Once the rage meter is filled, it’s a matter of using “unlimited mode” to cause some serious damage to our white-haired friend. The next few scenes play out like some sort of interactive cutscene with QTE events littered throughout. If you fail to hit the buttons at the correct junctures, the action on screen will change accordingly – whether that’s seeing Asura stop a punch or take one right on the kisser. After this space opera sequence plays out, we’re back in the moon crater arena with full health, a depleted rage meter and with Angus now spitting out horizontal and vertical laser beams to slow our progress as well. That’s not enough to stop us though and slowly but surely we fill the rage meter once more.
What then unfolds is the ending to this epic battle that sees more QTEs thrust upon you while the story raises its intensity. After successfully nailing QTE after QTE – after all, we’ve been doing these damn things since the beginning of time – Angus and Asura lock horns one more time, with Angus charging at our sextuple-armed ex-deity with a sword. With his sheer strength Asura is able to stop the sword from carving a hole in his chest, but the momentum and power expelled from Angus causes the two to zip through space towards the Earth’s surface as an epic orchestral roar grows increasingly louder in the background. Yes, these two gods are now powering through space on a one-way ticket to Earth, and rather than spoil how this sequence ends, you’ll have to wait and play the game. No spoilers, yo!
As you can probably tell though, Asura’s Wrath, the spectacle, is a breath of fresh air in a day and age of games that have become increasingly predictable. The cinematics, the zaniness, the premise, the characters; everything from a spectacle standpoint is extremely interesting, but it’s the over-reliance on QTEs – which seem to be a cheap way to do stuff these days – that might overstay their welcome if anything. However, that said, making the action change based on your success or failure of these sequences – not just a game over screen – does make them slightly more interesting and if we’re being perfectly honest, we can’t see another way round them unless they just make them cutscenes. Then again, we don’t make games, we just grill them. Other than that, the action seems intense enough – a little simple maybe – and the cinematography and delivery of the story more than make up for that. Asura's Wrath could be one to watch… especially if crazy is your middle name, which by the way, is a frankly ridiculous name to give a child.
Asura’s Wrath is scheduled for an early 2012 release.