Score = C-
Game Type – Action
Platform – Xbox 360
Developer – CyberConnect2
ESRB – Teen
Review by: Kisho Wolfe
Logline – It’s movie time! Wait… This is supposed to be a video game… Isn’t it?!?
Upon catching the first trailer for this game, (a year before its release) I felt a surge of excitement at the promise of great visuals, story and a luscious world to traverse through at my leisure. At the very least, two out of three should prove entertaining, right? I wish.
Asura’s Wrath is a mythology story of the eastern kind, blended nicely with a shot of science fiction to keep things interesting. However, if you’ve ever watched anime involving robots, Gods and betrayal then this story will seem very familiar. Demigods are the order of the day in this cinematic experience. Asura is one of eight guardians sworn to protect planet Gaea. His daughter, Mithra, possesses the ability to enhance Mantra (souls). The demigods spend their time fighting off hordes of Gohma–mutated animals considered to be the will of the planet–to take out their source, Vlitra. After the most recent successful effort to subdue Vlitra, the commander of the demigods, Deus, decides to launch an unethical plan to kidnap Mithra and harness her ability in attempts to completely destroy Vlitra and save the planet. The rest of the story consists of the obvious as Asura rages out, (hence the title)battles his former allies to save his daughter and eventually the planet, which all culminates into a twisty ending.
The visuals are right where they should be and represent the strongest faction of the game. From the first few moments of the game you can see exactly where the bulk of the funding was spent during production. The cinematic presentation is right on par with any modern-day anime and is definitely a delight to watch. Even the interludes and still cuts are exquisitely drawn as they represent the story’s progress through narration. The in-game graphics are also done well as the game flows smoothly through each flashy sequence without a hitch. In the midst of battle where bullets, beams and large foes fill most of the screen, I only witnessed a fraction of frame rate stutter.
Game play is where this title fails…miserably. Level ups…none. Exploration…extremely minimal. Progression relies solely on your ability to mash the correct button at the correct time, through quick time events, (and dodge attacks) to best the enemy in front of you. Where’s the shock? Where’s the awe? Where’s the friggin’ fun!?! It pains me to believe that the direction of Asura’s Wrath was to produce a half-decent interactive anime movie under the guise of being a true video game. Frustration is in abundance as those looking to actually “play” a video game will have their desires shortened to five or so minutes of actual game play per episode, which mostly consists of repetitive fighting or even worse, the aged Space Harrier-esque segments that continuously find themselves in Capcom action titles. Familiar note to Capcom: revamp the space shooter formula or scrap it!
Asura’s Wrath is a title with great promise but unfortunately, falls short on the delivery of that promise. The great visuals and presentation just aren’t enough to consider this title recommendable by gamer’s standards. Fans of anime will undoubtedly be intrigued at the premise of what’s in store, but quickly realize they can better spend the $40 wasted here on straight up anime DVD’s or one of the thousands of free anime websites and multiply their entertainment value many times over.