Asura’s Wrath is…is…it’s just awesome. It’s basically a huge package full of fan service to people who love action movies, anime, or revenge stories full of insane characters. It’s also about a guy who really likes to punch people, places, and things. Seriously, Asura’s favorite thing is punching.
The basic premise is this: Seven of the eight Gods betrayed the eighth God, Asura. Asura is now royally pissed off. Your goal is to systematically demolish each of the Gods for revenge Right from the very beginning you know what you’re getting into, and the fun is just to see how it all plays out. Guess what? It plays out wonderfully.
It plays into what all anime fans have come to want at this point. A ton of cool, super powerful characters beating the crap out of each other. The story of the game is really fun to see it through to the end. It actually introduces some questions of morality and utilitarianism that had me wondering who was on the right side by the end; and it even has some pretty good emotional scenes for a game where 90% of the dialogue is LOUDLY SCREAMED. If I had to bet, I’d say that “AGGGHHHHHHHHHH” or “ASUURRRAAAAAA” were probably the most used phrases in the game.
So you know you aren’t getting Shakespeare right? A lot of the dialogue is actually pretty decent, but it does have a tons of people screaming at each other. This is heavily over-the-top anime inspired, remember? Mostly it’s just about awesome people doing awesome things.
I’ve compared it to Metal Gear Solid in the past due to how over the top the characters are. Each character has a specific attribute or two that makes them the character they are. There’s the weird old man, the crazy guy who loves to fight more than he does to live, the insane woman with no remorse for the destruction of life, and many more. Basically all of the characters play into tropes, but they’re still so crazy to watch it doesn’t really matter.
The whole premise really does remind me a lot of No More Heroes as well, in which you go through a checklist of eccentric characters and dispose of them one by one. It’s one of my favorite styles of game, because each section is always extremely memorable if done correctly. As I mentioned before, I can remember the very first boss fight as vividly as I remember the second, third, and so forth.
Nearly every time you think “Oh man I hope (x event) happens because that would be awesome.” it does. The developers want to tell you a story about how badass a story of vengeance can be, and they go straight past your expectations.
The cutscenes are incredibly well directed for the most part, and are a joy to behold. There will rarely if ever be a moment in Asura’s Wrath where you aren’t completely enthralled by whatever is happening on the screen. This is one game where I was able to be completely immersed, not wanting to stop playing for hours; I was always desperate to see what was going to happen next.
In the FIRST boss battle, you get to punch a guy…wait for it…INTO SPACE. You punch a man. Into space. With your fists. And it only escalates from there. If you love watching a bunch of insanely powerful people square off with each other, this is pretty much the best of the best.
I’ve used a lot of positive adjectives here, but I haven’t mentioned anything about how the game plays. Why? Because that’s really the only downside to the whole game. The gameplay isn’t really anything to get excited about. The basic loop is this: Enter a room full of enemies, punch them until you fill up a bar at the top of the screen, initiate awesome cutscene.
There are a bunch of quicktime events in the scenes to add a little immersion, but 70% of this game is just watching the events unfold. That isn’t to say that the gameplay is entirely repetitive, there are multiple scenes that are actually really exciting to play, but to spoil them would ruin the fun of seeing all the crazy stuff that happens. Just be aware from the beginning, you’re playing this game because you want to watch a really fun cartoon, not because you want to experience Bayonetta level combat; even though some of the sections feel like a cross between a Platinum Games and Grasshopper creation.
The main game took me about 8 hours to finish, and it did feel like a complete story arc. And when you think it’s over. It isn’t. After the end credits roll, you might be a little dissatisfied that not every event was wrapped up. Without spoiling too much, it resolves itself, I promise. But what they introduce in literally the last 60 seconds or so leaves you on a ridiculously unexpected (but not out of place for this game’s universe) cliffhanger. They pretty much force you into buying the DLC.
You’ll be begging for the extra chapter pack that costs about $8. Usually I have to think about a purchase for additional content for a game after I’ve finished what came on the disk, but this wasn’t even a question for me. Immediately after I finished the game I went and spent my cash to see what was going to happen next.
If the game weren’t as fantastic as it is already, I may have had a problem with that; but I honestly have no problem supporting this game. I would love to see something else like it in the marketplace someday, so I’m willing to give them a few extra bucks for some extra content. I punched three elephants and a turtle so hard that they either exploded or flew away. What else do you want? Nothing.