When I sat down to play the demo for the upcoming game Asura’s Wrath, I was expecting an action game; maybe a spiritual successor to God Hand. What I found was actually very different. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? Well, it’s a little of both.
I don’t really know much of the story, but I take it you play as Asura who is a bit like a minor god. He is falsely accused of killing an important person and is now hunted. He’s rather powerful, but it seems like his adversaries are not really afraid of him, but when pushed to his limits, he can take on anyone. At least, that’s the gist I got from the demo.
There are two episodes you can play in the demo. They are rightly called episodes because they play out almost like you’re watching an anime. There are even commercial breaks in between the action. Of course, there are no commercials, just the break pictures that pop up when going to and coming back from break. That, I have to say, is actually quite clever. Each episode ends with a cliffhanger, just like most anime episodes do. It is a nice touch.
Where I don’t really see eye to eye with the game is the game play itself. The game boils down to getting a meter at the top of the screen full and then activating a Burst attack. You fill the meter by doing damage to your enemy. This can be accomplished by physical attacks or energy attacks that can be shot either in rapid fire or with a lock on mechanic.
For the most part, a lot of the game play seems really scripted. Most scenes will have you either moving the analog stick a certain way, or hitting a certain button a number of times. Basically, these are quick time events. When not in a quick time event, you can move Asura around and fire your energy blasts at the opponent. During this time, you can dodge attacks by either jumping or matching a button prompt when it appears on the screen. Both episodes you play in the demo have you taking on what seems like a boss fight.
The art style is a blend of anime and a cel-shaded graphics. The action is pretty flashy, and the overall feel is epic. Granted, I wish I were doing most of the cool things I saw in the game, but still, the actual content of the game is impressive. I get a Street Fighter meets Dragon Ball Z vibe from it. The characters have a lot of rage-induced dialog and everyone seems to be angry. With the action the way it is, it fits. I mean, there’s a battle that takes place on the moon and ends back on Earth. It’s that kind of crazy.
I was surprised in both good and negative ways by Asura’s Wrath. I think the overall presentation of the game and the way the story is told is a very unique aspect of the game, but the actual game play is a little bland, with it boiled down to a series of quick time events and dodging mechanics. Granted, this is just the demo, but if the entire game plays out like this, I just don’t know how well it will hold up as an 8 hour game.