Asura’s Wrath Hands-On Preview: A Frenetic, Fun Experience

Asura’s Wrath is the latest game from Capcom and developer CyberConnect2. This absurdly over-the-top action game features everything from intense Quick Time Events to anime-esque “commercial break” loading screens. The frenetic action, varying gameplay elements, and extreme cinema scenes combine together to make something that, while it’s not unique, is still fun. Be sure to get a bag of ice ready, though, because you’re going to have what I like to refer to as “God of War elbow” in no time.

Platforms: PS3 (Version Played), Xbox 360
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: CyberConnect2
Genre: More Quick Time Events than You Can Shake a Stick At
Release Date: February 21, 2012
ESRB Rating: Teen

The demo consists of two episodes – Episode 5: Hollow Victory, and Episode 11: The Final Lesson. As you start the demo, you’re given a quick screen that tells you what all the buttons do – and that’s the only time you’re going to be given that information. It’s not really all that crucial, considering the game’s controls seem to consist mostly of Quick Time Events, so as long as you keep your wits about you and don’t take your hand off of the controller to stuff a Twizzler in your mouth, you should be fine.

The first episode has you playing against a boss named Wyzen. It’s not terribly complicated – the fight consists of you locking on to him and shooting at him while dodging his attacks. There’s a ton of stuff going on which can make it difficult to know what exactly is happening – for instance, I was locking on to Wyzen and shooting so much that I didn’t always see his fire coming back at me until it was too late to dodge it.

You run side by side with Wyzen, locking on and firing, and then he calls in some back up, and you fight a giant ship in the sky, which shoots missiles at you. If you hit the Quick Time Event prompts at the right moment, you can throw the missiles back at the ship, blowing it up. Cinema scenes interrupt the fight here and there, and finally, you’re given a chance to play the scene that you saw in the trailer, with the huge deity that comes out and tries to crush you with his finger. As you’ve been fighting, you’ve filled up your Burst Gauge, and that’s what allows you to fight back against the finger –that, and memories of your daughter, Mithra, who you are trying to rescue.

In between scenes, there are “commercial breaks” like there are in anime. A screen will pop up with a still image of Asura, and the words “Asura’s Wrath” appear in the corner, much like the kind of screens you will see when an anime goes to or comes from a commercial break. The general feel of the game is that of an anime, with over-the-top fight scenes, gigantic bosses and epic boss battles – even the way the characters run, with their arms behind them, is reminiscent of characters from an anime.

The second episode, The Final Lesson, is another boss battle, this one against Augus. You fight against him on the moon, with the Earth in the background. There are more Quick Time Events, some of which have to be timed perfectly – the button you must press is in the center, and as the circle around it gets smaller and smaller, you get closer to a perfect score. The idea is to hit the button just as the circle gets to its smallest point around the button. It’s difficult but once you get into the swing of it, it’s gratifying.

At the end of the battle, Augus stabs you with his sword, which extends from him, and continues to extend out all the way to Earth, pinning Asura to the ground and then going all the way through the planet and coming out the other end. The number of bawdy jokes that can be made here is astounding.

I don’t find the plot to be at all promising – Asura has been deceived by the gods themselves, who have attempted to murder him and have kidnapped his daughter. Asura is back to exact his revenge and save his daughter. I’ve seen better, and I’ve seen worse, but I think that married to this insane style, this game might just work. When you mix God of War Quick Time Events with a crazy anime style and bring it all together with unique artwork that feels like Okami but plays like Bayonetta, it’ll at least raise some eyebrows. If the full game is as fun as the demo, this is sure to be the first hit of the year.

This entry was posted in Previews, PS3, Top Story, Xbox 360 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
Nicole Kline is Warp Zoned's Senior Editor. She first began preparing for the job by climbing a milk crate to play Centipede in an arcade. You can find her on PSN under the name toitle or you can email her at nicole AT warpzoned DOT com.

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