Last year when I saw the very first trailer for Asura’s Wrath, it completely blew my mind. You could tell by the trailer that the main character was seriously agitated and I wanted to know why. There were so many possibilities of what this game could be. Was it like God Of War? Were we seeing in-game graphics? I had so many questions but was already emotionally invested in this character’s plight. Earlier this year a demo was release and confirmed my beliefs that Asura’s Wrath could be one of the best experiences I had this generation.
Asura’s Wrath has characters based on Hinduism, where Asura’s are a group of power seeking deity’s. You’ll see names like Mithra and Brahmana if you read some of the text about the Asuras. What Cyberconnect did was not much different than what Santa Monica Studios did with God Of War. They took characters from a mythology and rewrote their story. In Asura’s Wrath, Asura is one of the 8 Deity’s who follow Deus. Their goal is to rid Gaea(think Earth) of Vlitra, a soul eating demon that’s impure and seeks to devour all life on the planet. That’s all I’m going to tell you about the story. I don’t want to spoil it and if you play the game, you’ll learn new elements and revelations with each new episode. It’s truly captivating.
Asura’s Wrath was built on the Unreal Engine. By looking at the game you wouldn’t even know this. The art design is like nothing else I’ve seen this generation. The characters are beautifully animated and have a very unique texture that uses cross hatching. It’s somewhat similar to what we’ve seen in the new SF games, but more obvious and much cleaner. The character design is very unique and each characters design somewhat resembles their personality. Yasha, for instance, looks very sharp and agile. He wears a golden mask and what seems to be martial arts clothing with golden bracers. Augus, who fights with a sword, looks more like a shirtless samurai. The evil Gohma are equally impressive artistically. They are mutated looking animals like gorillas and elephants. They are mostly black with glowing red highlights throughout their body.
For some reason, the game play in Asura’s Wrath turned a lot of people off. I can’t for the life of me figure out why. This game has more game play elements than your average brawler. There’s standard melee, similar to Street Fighter and Naruto. There’s also shooting sequences which are reminiscent of Space Harrier. In the middle of melee fights, you are sometimes require to shoot your enemies to beat them. Lastly, there are QTE sequences throughout the gameplay and cinemas. It’s honestly the best use of QTE since the game that started it, Shenmue. There are those that think the game is all about QTE and it isn’t. It’s about the same amount of QTE you find in God Of War games except it’s better executed in AW.
Asura’s Wrath is old school in the fact that your ability to beat bosses is determined by how fast you learn patterns. You will die a lot trying to figure some of the patterns out but it won’t frustrate you. The story is so engrossing that you’ll want to beat bosses and episodes just to get to the next. The fight with Augus on the moon was breathtaking. It’s a shame they included that one in the demo. They would have been better off including the tutorial level in the demo because the Augus fight was complete bliss. This also may be because Augus is definitely one of the coolest characters in the game.
Speaking of characters, they are all pretty much one dimensional. Yasha is the only character that showed some true range and Asura never has much to say at all. His dialog is limited to things like, “Shut up!”, “Where Am I?”, “The crying!!!!!!!!!”. Even with such limited dialog, you come to understand why Asura’s so pissed off and you will be pissed off with him. Wyzen was another favorite character. He was the big brute of the group and was very amusing to watch. Augus had some of the best dialog in the whole game. His lines were so classic that I’m sure they will become internet memes.
The presentation in Asura’s Wrath is ground breaking. The entire game plays out like an anime series. There are bumpers(full screen graphics before and after commercials), credits during the opening of each episode and recaps at the beginning of new episodes. Anime lovers will absolutely love how the story is told in this game. There are a bunch of great achievements in Asura’s Wrath too. Some of them are real gems and will have you laughing out loud.
One of my favorite parts of this game was the soundtrack. Soundtracks can be bad, good or fucking awesome. This sound track was fucking awesome. There were many different styles used for the music. The Augus fight was orchestral but the Yasha fights were more of something out of a spaghetti western. If someone told me Ennio Morricone did Yasha’s theme, I wouldn’t argue the point. Every piece of music in this game is worthy of owning. The only games that have soundtracks that come even close to AW are Heavenly Sword and Panzer Dragoon.
Playing Asura’s Wrath made me really appreciate this generation of gaming. Even more so it proves that Japanese developers still have a ton of tricks up their sleeves. THIS is what next generation gaming is supposed to be like. Cyberconnect has done the impossible. They’ve created the perfect game. They’ve finally proven to the world that video games can be interactive entertainment. Asura’s Wrath is everything. It’s a brawler, a great anime series, an emotional ride, an epic story and in my opinion, one of the best video games of this generation. It’s everything I hoped it would be and much much more. It has absolutely great characters, dialog and a story that slowly reveals itself throughout the game play. I loved every minute of it and will play it again and again many times before I die. If you are a fan of God Of War, Naruto, Heavenly Sword and anime, do yourself a favor and buy this game.