In the first chapter of Asura's Wrath you'll get the background of the story. Eight warrior general demigods are fighting an eternal battle with the corrupt Gohma. This is told between segments where you're playing
a lock-on and release shooter that resembles Rez with quick-time events.
Chapter two tells of generals betraying Asura and using his daughter's powers to promote themselves to godhood. Asura wakes, 12,000 years later, to find nothing has changed. The gods have simply distanced themselves from the humans whose prayer powers them. The game becomes a simplified version of Devil May Cry. With quick-time events.
This combination of extreme nonsense and extreme simplicity lasts for the rest of the game's short run. When it's challenging, it's because there's so much going on, and the camera wants to impress you more than help you. Just like Naruto, this is a visual treat and a captivating story. The music's great, too - from traditional Japanese melodies to Yasha's whistled western, to a boss battle fought to that tune off the Hovis ad. It even makes all the extended "Mash B!" prompts worthwhile.
Progress is tied to your rage, not your enemies' health. Deal damage, and your rage bar builds. Fill it, and you can trigger a spectacular Burst attack that's your gateway to the next scene. That could be another round of boiled-down melee, a lock-on shooter or another cutscene broken up with a QTE.
Asura's Wrath has just enough game to hold itself together, but on your second playthrough you'll be skipping the cutscenes and realising just how slight it all is. On full skip, chapter two takes around a minute. And the extra couple of hours to unlock the "true" ending is repaid with an insulting cliffhanger that can only hint at DLC.
Asura's Wrath begs for negative criticism. But no unhelpful intellectualising about the boundaries of TV and videogame can magic away the wide grin that sat on our face for most of the game. If you're a fan of massive-attack anime and characters who are only mortal when the battle ends, Asura's Wrath is Naruto for post-pubescents. It's not great value, but it is spectacular entertainment.
If you like fighting men in the sky, get in
- Simple but effective fighting
- Excellent story and presentation
- He really is very cross indeed
- Over-reliance on quick-time events
- True ending is a con