This game gives the impression of being a six-hour climax and while not everyone will appreciate its ludicrous story and incessant QTEs, Asura’s Wrath is an unconventional title that you won’t soon forget.
Asura’s Wrath is barely a video game. A more apt description would be that this is an interactive anime that relies on quick time events and an earnest plot that’s so confident in itself that it barely gives you any time to think about what you’re witnessing. This game gives the impression of being a sic-hour climax and while not everyone will appreciate its ludicrous story and incessant QTEs, Asura’s Wrath is an unconventional title that you won’t soon forget.
You play as Asura, one of the Eight Guardian Generals who has gone rogue and is in seek of revenge. Her daughter has been kidnapped by his former comrades and he has to wait 12,0000 years to have a chance to rescue her. Asura’s main motivation is anger and this powerful feeling allows him to turn into an unbeatable demigod who can annihilate anyone or anything that crosses his path.
The gameplay is remarkably simple. It’s QTE-based, so most of the time you’re following the giant button prompts that appear on the screen. Most fights (if you can even call them that,) require you to complete enough QTEs to activate Burst Mode and then press the right trigger to progress. There are specific sequences where Asura’s Wrath resembles a beat ‘em up and you lock on enemies, alternate between light and heavy attacks until you’ve accrued enough energy to unleash Burst Mode and sequences where you lock on targets as your character flights towards them and you shoot them down using two types of attacks.
The action in this game is so explosive and bombastic that you want to watch it rather than play it. From its initial moments until the credits roll, Asura’s Wrath is an experience that keeps escalating in terms of excitement and while I don’t see myself playing another one of these games, Asura’s Wrath is so fresh and confident that I had to keep playing just to see what the people behind this title where going to put in front of me next.
The only problem with Asura’s Wrath is that there’s not much to it other than pressing buttons like a maniac or performing quick time events. I enjoyed the fact that this is a cinematic adventure where you don’t have to worry about challenge (or lack thereof,) but I can understand people who are left with an empty feeling because even if what you’re watching is outstanding, to accomplish all that, you’re just pushing one or two buttons. If stopping a gargantuan finger that wants to crush you from outer space, if punching enemies as they are talking or if mashing the B button gives you some sort of Pavlovian response, Asura’s Wrath is your game. There’s nothing particularly creative about it, but this is a game that believes so much of its concept of interactive anime, that I couldn’t help but to enjoy the sheer spectacle of it all.
Asura’s Wrath is a decidedly Japanese game so it’s no wonder that the western audience’s reaction to it was so divisive. And those are the qualities I found so absorbing: its episodic nature, the sheer craziness of its story, the tremendous scale of the scenarios and cinematic camera angles. The lack of challenge, reliance on quick time events and uninspired gameplay might rub some people the wrong way, but I found myself enchanted by Asura’s Wrath interactive nature and overall presentation.