Asura’s Wrath is an attempt to make a video game into an anime, or vice versa. Take one part God of War and one part Dragon Ball Z and you get one hell of a weird ride. The game opens up with the heavenly forces battling the evil Vlitra and it’s Gohma demon offspring. You play Asura, a demi-god, who is framed for the murder of the emperor shortly after the opening battle. Banished to Gaea, i.e. Earth, he sleeps for 12,000 years until he’s suddenly awakened, now seeking revenge. The narrative is a fun, over-the-top spectacle, with great characters despite its lack of depth.
Speaking of a lack of depth, the gameplay is equally soulless. Most of the interaction lies in Quick Time Events experienced through cut-scenes. That’s the gist of the game, but there are also brawling sections and shooter segments reminiscent of Star Fox. It’s an odd mashup between pounding repetitive QTEs and these ho-hum sequences. While this seems damning, it’s not exactly bad, but it’s not immersive as well. Despite the gameplay, the bosses manage to be an epic experience other games could learn from. Overall the gameplay is a thin veil guiding you to the next crazy scene, and it’s definitely worth it.
Visually, this is the best looking anime inspired game developer Cyber Connect 2 has made since their Naruto series. The stages are called episodes, there are bumpers and previews in-between stages, and it even has a stereotypical spa episode. The music is equally epic, fitting the scale of the narrative as well as matching some of the more tender moments. The game is short, about 6-8 hours, but there are tons of collectables to obtain from replaying episodes to achieve higher ranks. What is irksome about the experience is the final, true ending is locked in a $7 DLC pack, which is kind of ridiculous.
Asura’s Wrath is an insane anime, wrapped inside a game shell. The game parts, like playing it, aren’t all that great, but it’s definitely worth a watch. The story, art, and epic scale alone are something to behold. It’s a solid rent, especially for those who dig anime where men scream at each other on a constant basis.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on April 9, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.