Anime series, with their over-the-top storylines, are a big part of Japanese subculture. Looking to extend that same experience to video games is CyberConnect2, whose previous work has involved creating games based on famous anime shows. Their more recent venture, Asura’s Wrath is an original concept based on the same kind of over-the-top flair, and insane plotlines seen in many series, and while the experience might not be for everyone, it sure packs quite a punch.
The story is a fusion of ancient mythology and sci-fi tech (of all things!), telling the tale of the Eight Guardian Generals serving under an Emperor to protect the known universe from the destructive force of the Gohma. The lead character, Asura is sent to Earth to deal with the Gohma, and once his mission is successful, is summoned by the Emperor. However, in a twist of fate, the loyal Asura is betrayed by his comrades and framed for the death of the Emperor. With his wife murdered and daughter kidnapped, Asura confronts the remaining gods, who rename themselves the Seven Deities, and is defeated by them and cast down to Earth. Almost 12,000 years later, Asura remains alive and furious (no kidding!), and sets off on his quest to exact revenge from those who betrayed him.
The story is broken down into various episodes, complete with interludes and cliffhanger endings that closely resemble a television show. This design philosophy is also reflected in the game’s mechanics, which have much more to do with the minor interactivity than solid gameplay. Almost every segment of the game focuses on quick-time events, which sort of breaks the illusion of playing an actual game. Asura’s main is to perform enough acts of aggression to fill up his Burst gauge, which would then take him to the next section of the chapter.
Combat focuses on light and heavy attacks, projectiles and evasive maneuvers, though the major crux of the game lies in the quick-time events. It’s an unusual approach to base a game primarily around such a concept, and while there will be many instances where your patience wears thin, it’s not such a bad experience once you get the hang of it. From a technical viewpoint, Asura’s Wrath certainly is a sight to behold. The game runs smoothly, textures and animations look great, and visual feedback truly is impressive. The fights are otherworldly, with many characters exhibiting a great amount of detail. Even the repetitive boss fights make sense when you account the impact and scale they have.
The music hits all the right notes, and the game comes with dual language support for Japanese purists. In addition, some of the concept art is incredible and definitely deserves to be checked out.
Overall, Asura’s Wrath certainly is an unusual concept for a game, but it successfully delivers an intriguing and intensive storyline with plenty of action and just the right amount of sheer absurdity.