Cam’s Eye View: Asura’s Wrath for the PS3 and 360

Let us talk about Capcom here for a moment before we get to the actual game. Yes, they are a great company that has come out with some amazing games over the past 25 or more years they have been around. They have or had amazing franchises like Bionic Commando, Ghost and Goblin, Street Fighter, the multiple of other fighting franchises, Resident Evil, and most importantly, Megaman.  They do know how to make awesome games and make new ones with some help, like Okami, Viewtiful Joe, and to some people, depending on who you ask, Godhand. However, Capcom does have its downside and it can be a turn-off to some gamers including me. Once they know they have a hit game, they milk it and squeeze the life out of it to make sequels or psuedo updates and sell them on the retail market. They are also not very good at keeping up with their franchises, resulting in some strange business moves, like Megaman Legends 3, a game that was shut down before its time, not making Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 downloadable, and other things that make you kind of scratch your head. It is nice we are going to see a new and rather cool-looking Devil May Cry and that Dragon’s Dogma looks great also. This review however, tackles a rather unique action game. For this game, you will need to curve your thought process around it and know that it doesn’t fully play like God of War or Bayonetta. Today’s review will be of Asura’s Wrath.

The story of Asura’s Wrath has you play the role of Asura, voiced by Liam O’Brian, in the middle of a proper way to introduce gamers to this game’s world, by making the players fight off a horde of huge rock-like demons called the Gohma in outer space. Before I continue, let me just say this first level is an amazing opening and is one of the game’s best features, because of its epic proportions. After the huge invasion and sealing away the main leader of the Gohma, Asura goes back to his loving wife, who is played by Tara Strong, and his daughter. Sadly, after he gets back, he goes see the emperor, and finds out he was set into a trap by the other demigods, who you battled alongside with. They made it look like you killed the emperor, while they killed your wife, and kidnapped your daughter to be used how the new leader, Deus, sees fit. You are then cast off onto the earth and have been in hell for 12,000 years. After escaping hell, you then go on a path of revenge to take down the other demigods, who are now the 7 Deities, and get back your daughter while saving the world from the Gohma. When I first saw this game and its story, I thought it was going to be entertaining and fun since most of the action of the game is extremely over the top and awesome. The story is actually one of the strongest things this game has going for it. It is well developed and is actually more touching and emotion-filled than I ever thought it would be. It is like a very well done dramatic anime. This is surprising since a lot of action games in the past, besides God of War 3 and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, have had terrible or corny stories. Cyber Connect 2, who you all know made the popular Naruto fighting games and other hidden gems, developed this game.

The gameplay is also a bit different. It does use a lot of the mechanics that their Naruto fighting games use, like the B or circle button being heavy attacks, triangle or Y button being smaller attacks, and the X or square button being fast projectiles. The combat is very simple, and I know this might be a turn-off to a lot of people, but I personally enjoy it. The second gimmick is that some levels are set up like shooter sections where you constantly shoot at hordes of enemies while going on a certain path. The third mechanic is the QTE fest called Synchronic Action where you, of course, go through quick time events and see some incredible action set pieces. There are also different bars that you can use, like ones that will give you more defense against attacks, and other things that will affect the game play and gives the game some extra replay value. There is no multiplayer mode, but there are a huge number of things to unlock, like concept art and even a secret ending that is the actual ending of the game. The level itself isn’t that different, but the ending set itself up for DLC. Overall, Asura’s Wrath is a rather unique experience that is a much more story-driven action game and is more cinematic than gameplay oriented. I will say this warning because of it. It is very VERY different from action games like Bayonetta. Steer clear if you are more game play-oriented, but try it out if you want something way different with your action game.

Graphically, this is where the game shines again. The Unreal 3 engine is handled well, which is funny since this is Cyber Connect’s first time using it. Everything runs smoothly and only rarely, if ever, have I encountered graphical glitches. The art style is amazing with a Buddhist art style to everyone and the rough drawn style of manga. The music is also very well done, with one of the best themes in my opinion being the game’s theme song. The voice acting is over the top and well done. You have great voice actors like Liam O’Brian, Steve Blum, Robin Atkin Downes, Bob Carter, and many others who do a great job with their roles, and it’s a game where you can play it with either the Japanese voice cast or English voice cast. This is an area where Cyber Connect has shined before and it shines here also.

So, what could be wrong with this cinematic driven action game? The major complaint I have is that its cinematic style is its greatest feature, but is also its greatest problem. Sometimes, it can be a bit too cinematic QTE driven and I would have liked to have had the ability to just put down my controller for a bit. I mean, I love it also because a lot of the QTE’s are handled very well and are extremely fun to go through, but the actual gameplay sections where you beat the tar out of enemies can be rather short, and the cinematic style of gameplay takes up like 70 percent of the game. It is a mixed opinion that I have with this kind of situation because I really love it, but I also hate it at times. I also think the music is a bit too loud at times and I can’t hear the voice actors when that happens. This however is not as big of a deal because the subtitles are huge and you can see what the characters are saying. Other than that, I don’t mind the repetition this time, and while I can see some people not picking this game up due to how many QTE moments there are, I would rather them be there than watching one huge and long cut scene. Then again, I love games like Heavy Rain where it has its QTE moments all over the place.

So, what are my final thoughts about this game? I really love it. It is one of my favorite action games because it is so unique and different from what I was expecting. Sure, I would like to have fought and killed the guy who killed Asura’s wife and taken down the Gohma Striker, but I think they have a very solid original IP here that I could see a sequel being made from it. I know people might be on the fence about buying this game, but I say either rent it to try it out yourself or wait for the price to drop to check it out. It is one of my favorites. I really enjoy Cyber Connect 2’s recent games and I hope they come back to this unique world of Asura’s Wrath.

This game gets a solid 9 out of 10

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