Asura’s Wrath Demo is Fun…For the First Few Minutes
I find it difficult to believe that when developer SCE Santa Monica was producing God of War, their framework of “quick-time events” characterized by requiring players to press a correct number of buttons in succession would have spawned as many reiterations as it has.
Asura’s Wrath, the demo of which is now available on Xbox Live, is an upcoming action game that follows the chronicle of Asura, a demigod-like being who must battle the forces of the “Seven Deities.”
At first glance, the game appears as somewhat of a novelty. Unique visuals and character art clearly inspired by both Asian mythology and anime culture combined with a number of straightforward and streamlined action sequences engage players immediately. However, it’s the keeping of that engagement where Asura’s Wrath falls short.
Players progress through the game by completing various sections of a particular level. The demo features Asura being forced into battle with one of the towering Deities as he shoots projectiles as well as launches enemies toward you. While making your way towards the leviathan, you have to use the left analog stick to dodge the initial onslaught of rockets as well as attempt to destroy as many as possible by utilizing Asura’s automatic weapons. Upon completion, the player will enter into a stage in which they have to take on the Deity’s ground forces.
Personally, I thought these sequences in particular were the game’s most impressive. The free-flowing combat system never felt contrived and it presents players with a number of combo moves, all of which appear creatively original. Making quick work of these enemies will build up a meter at the top of the screen which will allow players to activate a “Burst.” Once initiated, the game will enter into a cinematic and will progress the story.
The cinematic sequences presented in the game, however desperately they try to imitate the success of God of War’s, never manage to emulate the aspects of GoW’s cinematics that have made them so wildly popular. Whereas every God of War cinematic throughout the game keeps players in heated anticipation and suspense, forcing them to find balance between watching the gorgeous yet brutal visuals in awed bewilderment and trying to focus on the split-second that the required button-press will appear on screen, the ones in Asura’s Wrath simply feel at times as if they are a result of lazy development which did not wish to make the scenes all-too engaging.
While playing the demo, more than once I found myself to improperly time a particular button sequence, yet I was never punished for my ill-reflexes. In every scenario, the game allowed the cinematic to continue regardless of how poorly timed the button pushes were, which truly took any realism and credibility away from it. What makes the structure worse is that you’re required to go through the entire cycle a second time upon completion of the button sequence. A successful pushed sequence angers the Deity, he smacks you back a few hundred yards, and you quickly find yourself shooting air-borne enemies and dodging projectiles yet again. It is this type of redundant repetition that you will never find in a God of War game, and for good reason.
Though it was simply a demo for promotional purposes, I currently can’t see any non-action fan or someone who is not deeply engaged by anime going out of their way to pick this title up. Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of a few tweaks here and there. The way in which the game itself is structured will simply not be interactive enough to warrant a $60 purchase. Check out the gameplay sample below for Asura’s Wrath and view what Capcom develops best – pure, unadulterated action. Did I mention Asura, should he get pissed off enough during battle, can form four additional arms? Yeah, this game might be worth a purchase after all.