Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Asura's Wrath Review

Asura's Wrath

 Yelling!  Yell some more! Then add sci-fi elements and a lot of button-tapping. Then yell some more! That's the best way to explain a huge chunk of Asura's Wrath. I'm breaking it down like Asura's arms that magically grow back every so often.

Let's get to the story, shorty. Sorry if you actually are short, you might grow or compensate by being a nice and successful person. Hey did you see Life's Too Short on HBO it's ... (B button prompt) (Shut Up, Writer!) Pressed! ... and that's why Ricky Gervais...Bam!

Whhaattt! Why you little!

[Shut Up, Jonathan! Achievement]

 Oww, oh look you unlocked an achievement, good for you. Sorry, where was I, someone punched me in the face. Let me collect myself.

Huh, that's better.

So Asura;s Wrath is a fun game and does seem polished, but isn't a breakthrough, but may be face breaking. From the demo up on PSN or Live I almost didn't want to play it, but it's actually a fun romp through a crazy story. You play as Asura a demigod whose red, seeking revenge for being betrayed and your daughter is taken and your wife is killed.

What's a demigod? It doesn't matter, because this game makes you a cyborg demigod advanced human? You see during the course of the game it seems your part machine as your arms fall off quite a bit like that weird new game from Konami, NeverDead. Anyways, I saw exposed cables and engine parts when Asura loses them from time to time and still fully don't understand elements of the story or what the Hell Asura is. I know it's a new universe, but it doesn't seem to be a well crafted one. Over the course of the story you fight the Earth's Will? Which is in the Earth and comes from the Earth, yet fighting it doesn't hurt the Earth? Then I think it's the blending of a Japanese and Indian religions that might not make a lot of sense. On top of that is this whole sci-fi element with spaceships. Like all the demi-gods leave in the flying city Shinto. What was strange to me was only the main characters populated this entire city in the sky.

The parts of the story where Asura just talks to another former ally and gets angry are fun and it's always nice to punch someone in the face during a monologue, like you do to me you jerk. Other parts of the story just get on my nerves like creating characters just to kill them and framing Asura as a traitor when there seems to be no one it would matter to. Underneath it all it's a story about revenge that seems to go off topic in the end.

Design has some real fun with Ausra, I have to say when you grow six arms and pound someone it's quite a nice activity and makes your primal part of your brain go, "yeah!" Asura with his red partial robotic body and other half robot demi-gods look very Japanese in design. The you have his daughter who just looks human? It really didn't make sense, she looks so normal. Same goes for Olga, she seems somewhat out of place as a demi-god and with the name Olga seems like she should be with some other group of demi-gods.

Then there's the enemies, monkeys and elephants? Yes, you fight considerably Venom from Spider-man like animals. I got to say I'm sick of fighting Manta-rays in Japanese video games or Rhinos. I've fought weird looking Manta rays in Bayonetta and Devil May Cry and many others. I think I fought Rhino's last in Generator Rex, they were some sort of Nanite freak Rhino's, what I'm getting at is they should have been more original in design. For some reason the Japanese love basing demons or enemies on animals. Possibly they've never forgiven Manta-rays for killing Steve Irwin, crocodile hunter. I liked the enemies that looked like Japanese statues and have fought them in other games, but they were a bit more different. Performing an big attack and striking them all up into air is fun.

Then one or two levels seem like, oh yeah the writers are getting into it. A fight on the moon, great idea. Going to a hot springs with some lovely ladies, maybe look out for some peeping toms (achievement) or don't resist look at some other things (achievement), great idea and sexy. I didn't expect one event of a jerks deaths that made me quite happy, but makes me wonder what that battle between him and Asura might have been like, same goes for someone else who gets let's say strung out.

Getting to gameplay, when your own the ground beating up a mob of annoying enemies is fun to build up your anger and perform special attacks, same goes for your major attack which is a right trigger burst. This game asks for some very specific button mashing and joystick action. Also, timing to get better scores on hits happens quite a bit. At first I didn't like it, but it did grow on me and it wasn't that hard to master on normal. There's also elements of firing shots at enemies like a spaceship shooter that are okay and there's some nice scenic space battles. One problem was a few times I had to run or walk for a few seconds for no reason, everything is press Y or B and then and action and then suddenly a few times the game goes, "Hey just slow down for a second, maybe walk around with no arms," There is some gameplay where you fight with the loss of Mr. Right and Mc Lefterson which is a fun sort of badass break-dance on someone's face with your feet. There's a switch up with another character down the line which I wasn't rooting for, but I do love sword attacks.

What got on my nerves was the episodic way each level was presented to me. Every new stage or level is presented like an anime.  I mean like a new episode of that anime. The novelty wore off on me immediately. Seeing the same credits every time I started playing a new act felt like it was shoved in my face. CyberConnect wrote this, hmmm , I guess there afraid to use their names. I don't remember credits where just a company takes credit for writing. I almost didn't get it a first and thought the opening titles were going on way too long. It just didn't work and what also doesn't work is an ending like that CyberConnect.

I saw the ending coming and it's hard not to miss with so few characters, but to just leave it the way it was with no way to let your rage out was a bad move. It made me angry.

What Asura's Wrath reminds me of is the Japanese version of God of War. They play completely differently, but in my opinion it seems like it must have inspired the game in some way. Asura's Wrath became a fun game to play over the demo. It has some great elements that make it shine, but I just can't think it could have been better with some major changes with adding leveling up and attaining new moves and just some overall fixes that should have started at the get go. It feels like the team behind this felt way to sure of themselves, putting their names up every game act/stage while style should have taken a step back for gameplay and design.

Goodbye, Emperor whatever your name was, you were killed as a forgotten story element. I think I'd like to see Asura again from another studio. He's still a fun hero who just needs better writers. I look forward to the odd DLC, why is Ryu in it and when did Asura get a rocket punch?

The video game was provided by the publisher for review.