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Review

Asura's Wrath Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3
Aaron Sampson on Google+

Asura's Wrath isn't much of a game, but its over-the-top, anime-style story makes it easier to overlook its shortcomings.

Asura's Wrath might seem like a game firmly engaged in the throes of an identity crisis. It balances delicately on the line that separates interactive movie from game in an attempt to buck the negative connotations generally associated with the former characterization and its love affair with quick-time events. But the reality is that Asura's Wrath gnashes its teeth, plants its feet, and pummels that line into a fine powder with a flurry of punches as it confidently declares itself an interactive movie first and game second. Unfortunately, that prioritization means the traditional action parts aren't much of a selling point. The mostly hand-to-hand combat system is shallow and repetitive to the point that it isn't any more intricate than the quick-time events dominating the rest of the game, and the surprisingly satisfying story becomes the sole reason to see Asura through to the end of his journey.

That's not to say the plot is a beacon of originality. Asura's Wrath makes excellent use of inspiration from various forms of Asian mythology, but the overarching themes are typical of popular anime. The dialogue is predictably festooned with non sequiturs from a hero who not only seeks revenge, but also discovers previously untapped power when suitably provoked by those who seek to subdue him. It's a well-worn road traveled by countless heroes and villains before Asura, but it's that familiarity, as well as the knowledge of what's unfolding, that breeds a sense of gratifying nostalgia and comfort.

The question isn't whether or not Asura can defeat the Seven Deities and save his daughter; fans of anime implicitly know the answer from the outset. The real question (and entertainment) comes from how he overcomes the odds when showcased at their outlandish peaks--punching a giant space finger or surviving a stab wound from a sword that stretches from the moon to the Earth are just a few such notable moments.

Combat gets in the way of the game's main attraction.

Asura's use of onscreen button prompts does a great disservice to these otherwise grand events, but that isn't just because they're quick-time events. After all, rhythm games frequently prove that this sort of mechanic allows for creative and effective ways to complement what's happening. Rather, it's the fact that Asura's button prompts rarely ever successfully convey a sense of urgency because they're vaguely related to the action.

They're a distraction, if anything, with the exception of sequences that require the furious tapping of a single face button, which correlates to Asura's infatuation with using his fists to confront life's problems. If the button isn't tapped quickly enough, the virtual tug of war is lost, Asura is eventually defeated, and the rare game over screen then appears. But most cutscenes merely require a simple button tap here or a right analog swish there, followed by a defiant thrust outward on both analog sticks. It's not the most rousing implementation of this sort of interaction and the whole phalange-focused, tap-dancing affair is even less dramatic when failure is often just an inconsequential knock against a skill rating.

Asura's more active combat sequences aren't up to the task of compensating for these shortcomings either because, quite simply, they have plenty of their own. The on-rails shooting segments offer little variety and functionally come down to holding one button down to fire Asura's arm bullets and then intermittently pressing another to fire his arm missiles when target lock-on is achieved. Success is ultimately determined by how quickly this can be done, throwing target prioritization--a key ingredient of a good rail shooter--out the window. Similarly, in the hand-to-hand combat sequences, victory is often a matter of hammering on the punch button while taking the occasional respite to hit the jump button or to engage context-sensitive attacks that also require a single button press.

They might look formidable, but it's nothing repetitive punching can't deal with.

There's something to be said for the responsive controls and a desire to streamline gameplay mechanics for the sake of accessibility, but what that means in real terms is this: There's no sense of triumph in completing a difficult task. There's absolutely no sense that Asura's godlike powers are ever really at your disposal. There's no sense of accomplishment, save for watching the end credits roll. There's no challenge; no enemies that put up an engaging fight. It's all very safe.

Truth be told, that method of design makes traversing the entirety of Asura's entertaining story relatively painless, but if there were ever an argument to be made against uniform pricing, Asura's Wrath is it. It's a game because its price demands that it be categorized and measured against those relative merits. Yet, when taken for what it really is--an anime film that just happens to use a game engine and some mild interactive mechanics--a price point that competes with similarly themed movies would present Asura's Wrath in a far different, and potentially groundbreaking, light.

The Good
Worthwhile story
The Bad
Uninspired use of quick time events
Repetitive and lackluster combat system
5.5
Mediocre
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Discussion

37 comments
Courtawulf
Courtawulf

"After all, rhythm games frequently prove that this sort of mechanic allows for creative and effective ways to complement what's happening."

Very much this. I'm a pretty big fan of Final Fantasy theatrhythm, I would love to have seen the quick time events follow that sort of theme, where they add to what's going on (be it music, visuals or story). I think that this game could have really pushed the envelope for interactive movies, but instead it is just button mashing boring-ness. Oh well, maybe some other developer will come around and do it right, Walking Dead did a good job at implementing this sort of thing into an adventure game, I'm sure someone can figure out how to implement it into an interactive anime.

beyoudhammouda
beyoudhammouda

capcom stupid developers should have invested in making an ONIMUSHA sequel instead. (I miss ONIMUSHA so much).

clr84651
clr84651

I thought the game was too short and had a bad ending. I give it a 3.5. 

LatinproX
LatinproX

yes, you are a supreme ERROR

LatinproX
LatinproX

I can do your job in my sleep, yet much better

knives913
knives913

Okay, the game is more of an anime than a game but I still don't think it deserves this low a score. The presentation was awesome even though gameplay needed a little help.

QtrArt
QtrArt

the Game Was Good...i hope there asura warth 2 in future :)

Thamathor
Thamathor

In my mind gamespot probably did one of the greatest of this "game". Thought I really loved Asura's wrath, one have to consider This Review is based on it as a game. I think Asura's wrath is great but as a game It suck. Is it a game you're after dont buy it.

Chrlywtrfall
Chrlywtrfall

@Kero100 Controllers used to have 2 buttons. Gaming has evolved.

Kero100
Kero100

I grew up playing games like bare knuckles, double dragon & captain commando. They are all button mushing and repetitive. What's wrong with it?!

maitkarro
maitkarro

Damn it's pointed out it wasn't meant as a pure game, the makers said that the story was made first as the most important part of it, and the game mechanics were just placed just in the spots where it would make sense. Basically it would be like you watch anime and when a fight is about to happen you are prompted to take control of the hero to battle yourself the outcome even if it's obvious. Also you can add extra difficulty with Gauge Mortal few hits and your dead. Also you can hide the qte event display, haven't tried it myself yet dunno what will happen then if it's hidden do I have to push the button or not.

ticklemonster1
ticklemonster1

not simply repetitive, but broken. there is too much going on the screen especially during the interactive cutscenes. the button mashing, 5 minite battles before cutscenes and plot mide me dizzy. this is japanise to an extreme.

unbentonslaught
unbentonslaught

@axous I think it's called an opinion. Gamespot just has higher standards than some people when it comes to games like this.

Culochilegge
Culochilegge

@The_Dragon_Wolf: achievments are for loosers tbh.

The_Dragon_Wolf
The_Dragon_Wolf

What's mediocre is really the review, the reviewer clearly doesn't "get it". When you say .. there's no challenge; no enemies that put up an engaging fight. It's all very safe ... it clearly shows you neither played the game on harder difficulties nor tried using the gauges and getting all the achievements (which are a great part of the game replayability) And heck, this is one of the few games where the QTE button presses convey what's happening on screen perfectly *facepalm* XD

axous
axous

Gamespot gamespot gamespot....tch tch tch....another rating that way off the average of other reviews and way below what the game should get just like infamous 2, zelda sky ward sword and uncharted golden abyss....i dont know whats wrong with you guys but the review rating process need a look at...and Im along time GS fan and I have played all the games I just mentioned I i gotta tell you GS you got it wrong soooooo wrong....yeah they might not score a 10 or a 9 but zelda and infamous 2 7.5 !! uncharted GA a 7 !!!!! I think and blv they deserve a better rating than that and oh asura wrath it not a 5.5 game maybe a 7 or 7.5 but not 5.5 not even a 6 or a 6.5

nephili232
nephili232

Everything the review says is correct (aside from the lack of difficulty, getting the platinum is hard as heck with the different gauges). But overall the experience this game offers is really unique and worth at least a rental. It's a whirlwind 6 hour ride.

Pibet
Pibet

This game sucks! You can call it interactive-movie-experience-thing or whatever, but as a game it just sucks.

Alexath
Alexath

Sincerely a bit repetitive....in the demo too is shown that when you do not take the right time to push the buttons, doesn't happen so much bad things...u loose a lil quantity of life and nothing else.....hoped really really better, then, to my humble opinion the graphic is to manga/anime related......in a time where development houses try to reach the best level in reality, graphically speaking, Asura's Wrath is to anime and to a movie related.....epic the fact you are pulled by a sword from the moon to the earth and fight a behemoth finger, but the demo was not so exciting after all....and not so intriguing....

xolivierx
xolivierx

Capcom did succeed with the story, they failed with the gameplay. They should have made a game like Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver, which is God of War's father. Too much movie and too little gameplay makes you lose interest. Shame on you

xolivierx
xolivierx

This game is a jewel. The flaws are : it's too short, and it's not supposed to be a movie. Which are the reasons behind the low score. I would not pay 40+ $ on a game you throw away after 6 hours. A game with no replay value should never get a high score. To me the rating is fair. It does not mean you should not rent it nor does it mean it's not going to be something you won't remember. If I want anime, I'll just download some One Piece or something like that; I'm not going to shed 60$ on a dvd.

faceplam
faceplam

Such a shame. I had real high hopes. Curse you capcom!

devilmaycry27
devilmaycry27

they made it to much like anime instead of focusing on gameplay and u kept fighting the same enemies over and over. plus they could have gave him more combos to work with as well as let u either level up or power up his moves. the story was good but the gameplay was pretty much the same as u progress along

Dragon-Power
Dragon-Power

If I know the score Will Be Like That ! I would not buy It

ofunknown0rigin
ofunknown0rigin

Why half of the reviews I read about this game are atrocious is beyond me. They action and cinematic are gorgeous and brutal. Every character is extremely likeable, especially Asura. The story is over-the-top and exciting. I found myself cheering and throwing my fists in the air as I was punching deities and planets in the face alike. This game is something special to me.

notserbamma
notserbamma

this demo was just absolute crap. any game that relies this heavily on quick time events isnt really a game.

Longini
Longini

@Rohobok Actually a lot of people that aren't into Anime really like the experience they get, but admit that something like this could probably only be gotten away with once a generation haha!

RohoboK
RohoboK

Only fans of the anime would even consider this game to be anything but utterly mediocre and in the absolute shade of many far, far superior games of this genre.

Longini
Longini

It seems like the reviews are either good because they liked the experience, or bad because they're focusing on it not being so much of a video game, so the average score is right in the middle.

Kyrylo
Kyrylo

Oh, yeah, wow. so now we talk about repetitive, after giving GoW3 and AC editor's choice. This game is piece of art if you compare it to shallow reality of mainstream,like CoD, GoW, AC, etc

icetone
icetone

Even though I did find it a bit repetitive when I played the Demo I overall thought it was pretty EPIC, still getting it! 8D

Asura's Wrath More Info

  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Asura's Wrath blends Asian Mythology with science fiction telling the story of an ancient god stripped of his powers who has sworn vengeance.
    7.6
    Average User RatingOut of 700 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Asura's Wrath
    Developed by:
    CyberConnect2
    Published by:
    Capcom
    Genres:
    Adventure, Action, 3D, Open-World
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence