Asura’s Wrath Demo Impressions (360)
Asura’s Wrath is one of those games that I didn’t know what to expect when I went into the demo. I had heard very little about the game and just happened the download it on a whim. I fired it up last night to mess around with it and see what it was like. Boy was I in for an experience.
You play as Asura (pronounced Ah-soo-rah), a former general of the gods who has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. At some point Asura is confronted by the real perpetrator but is defeated and essentially banished to earth. After twelve millenia he is awakened and begins his quest for revenge battling the gods and their soldiers along the way.
Asura’s Wrath is essentially an action version of an anime. You’ll take part in numerous battles that play out like scenes from shows like Dragon Ball Z. The demo features two of these battles. One against a giant who becomes larger than Earth itself and another against a man who looks much like the “hero” would look in a few years. Each of these battles uses a combination of three dimensional action and Quick Time Events to create epic battle scenes between two very powerful opponents. If you’ve played games like the aforementioned Dragon Ball Z you sort of know what to expect.
The first battle feels more QTE heavy than the latter. Basically what the fight boiled down to was each of the two characters glowering and screaming at each other while every once in a while you’d be prompted to perform some action such as a quick button press, moving one of the analog sticks in a specific direction or hammering on a button while filling up a meter. It’s this meter that plays a huge part in the game because as you’re fighting the only way to advance the action is by filling up the meter and performing something called a “Burst”. As you successfully perform attacks this meter fills and should you fail then it will be depleted.
The second battle relied a little more on navigating around an arena (the Moon) dodging incoming attacks by jumping over beams or slipping between pillars of fire. As you get close to your opponent you’ll hit them a few times which will activate a mini cut-scene where the various QTE’s will play out. This battle was a little more exciting and required a little more skill than the previous one, which would make sense because it takes place later in the game.
From the demo I can tell that the majority of the game is going to rely on you paying close attention to the action on the screen and pressing the required buttons at the right time. I didn’t notice if there was any way to adjust the difficulty, but in the demo there was really no penalty for failing. Each of the prompts would allow for you to press the wrong button or move the stick in the wrong direction and would give you ample time to perform the correct task, unlike games such as God of War which could be very punishing if you failed.
The battle scenes themselves are very exciting and full of action. The two characters involved are very over the top with lots of yelling at each other, even if they happen to be face to face at the time. It’s very cinematic in that respect. Many of the camera angles give you a great sense of what’s going on and provide many nice opportunities to view the environments and the battles effect on that environment.
The art style reminded me a lot of Capcom’s fighting games Super Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The characters have tons of detail and exaggerated body and facial animations. Asura himself has six arms. The music pulls from classical libraries to give you the sense that everything is on the line and it adds a nice bit of drama to the whole scene.
If not a fan of Quick Time Events you’re probably not going to like the game as it relies very heavily on them and uses them again and again. I would wager to guess, based on the demo, that 80% of what you’ll be doing involves pressing the button that you’re told at the perfect time. There is some sense of a rhythm game to it as many of the button presses feel like they were ripped out of games like Elite Beat Agents where you press buttons in time with a shrinking circle. If you’re a fan of classic anime fight scenes this might be one you want to keep an eye out for as you’re definitely going to get the sense that these fights were ripped straight out of those cartoons and dropped onto a video game console.
The demo for Asura’s Wrath is available now on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. The game is set to launch in North America on February 21st and is rated T.