Asura's Wrath: More than just demigod of war?
11th Feb 2012 | 19:30
You can't accuse this of being misnamed: the wrath of Asura is palpable.
You feel it as you plunge into the action via flashbacks intertwined with epic boss fights. One-time general to the gods and war hero, Asura has been tricked, his wife murdered and his daughter kidnapped.
Banished to Earth, he was then trapped in a cliff (really) - only to be resurrected millennia later by a child's prayers.
Now he must save his daughter, who's in a glass case being used as a battery of sorts. You can't accuse this game of being run of the mill, either.
Perhaps that's why we're not surprised the tutorial sees Asura scrapping a fire-breathing elephant twenty-times the size of our hero. Combat is easy to pick up, though - a series of attacks builds up energy, filling a 'burst' meter which, when full, can be set loose as jets of flame.
Even with a firm grip on Asura's powerful attacks, the flaming beast doesn't go down easily. Locking on and hammering the quick fire option while avoiding its lashing trunk takes some button bashing, but works.
Once the burst meter is full, it's a case of right place, right time for Asura's insta-flamethrower attack, before we finish it with a brutal Quick Time Event (QTE) - celebratory tusk and limb removal.
Most boss fights follow a steady pattern (find the weakspot, attack it, dodge and repeat) but the Bayonetta-style action QTEs are spectacular enough to mask the repetition.
Outside the boss battles, each chapter brings refreshing variation. Standalone sections see Asura switching from on-rails shooting to soaring through the skies and destroying space ships... here too Asura's stands out, as the mixture of old and new is a stylistic risk that really pays off. Ancient Gods and Buddha-like creatures coexist with holograms, spacecraft and futuristic weaponry.
As the anime-like chapters progress, Asura himself changes shape. He starts with two vastly muscular arms, but at points grows an extra four. Even with six limbs, Asura's attacks remain consistent; it's when you're faced with the very real challenge of battling with no arms at all that things get very interesting.
CyberConnect2 have created something brave and bold in Asura's Wrath; proud to be entirely different, and unafraid to angrily shake up the action genre.