Happy Tuesday! Last week, I wrote about a cult favorite, recently re-released in somewhat blocky HD.
Today, I picked out a much more recent title than I usually do, but one that grabbed my attention because it's quite different from the pack.
Asura's Wrath, published by Capcom and developed by CyberConnect2, was released on PS3 and Xbox 360 just last year, in February 2012. You play as Asura, a demigod who is part of a war to save the planet Gaea from a race of demons known as Gohma. The game opens with Asura and his fellow demigod generals fighting off a Gohma invasion, and here we meet the central players. We meet Asura's family, see his betrayal and death at the hands of the demigods' leader, Deus, and witness his resurrection and bloody quest for revenge. It's in these opening moments where we are introduced to Asura's Wrath's unconventional gameplay.
See, Asura's Wrath is much more movie than game. Actually, it's more anime series than that (more on that in a bit). Whereas some recent games have tried to shy away from quick-time-events, Asura's Wrath embraces them fully. Most every boss battle will require you to match joystick or button prompts as they flash on the screen. Thankfully, the prompts generally match what you do on screen; some games would make you push X for melee when you've been pushing Square for that the whole game. Obviously not every game does this, but they should, because it creates a better connection between the player and what is happening on screen.
Which is important, because what a spectacle it is.
When I say Asura's Wrath is like an anime series, I mean one of your giant, world-destroying anime series, like Dragon Ball Z. As a demigod fighting other demigods, Asura i powerful beyond belief. Every battle is of a grand scale, forcing you to fight Gohma as large as buildings, a giant, Buddha-like statue much larger than the planet you're fighting on, and a memorable fight between Asura and his mentor, Augus, that starts on the moon of Gaea, but doesn't end there.
The QTE gameplay is a large part of the gameplay, but it's not the only part. There are rail-shooting segments where Asura, or later, his brother-in-law Yasha, will fly or run through a level, blasting enemies. You move them as well as move the targeting reticule around the screen, locking onto enemies and blasting them with blasts of energy. Anyone who played Panzer Dragoon back in the day will feel immediately at home.
There's also stages that play like a standard third-person action game. Here, you control Asura and whale on enemies while dodging their attacks. It's reminiscent of games like God of War or Devil May Cry, but nowhere near as complex. Still, these levels function well enough. They do well in giving you the sense of power that you should feel while playing as Asura.
But the main attraction here is the cutscenes. And, of course, the QTE's that are basically cutscenes in disguise. Asura's Wrath tells a hell of a story that may only be appreciated by fans of action-oriented anime. The scenes are filled with melodrama which will appeal to DBZ fans, as well as larger-than-life characters with lovably over-the-top designs.
There's even eyecatches you'd see in a typical anime. Eyecatches are basically commercial bumpers.
So yeah, your game sort of goes to commercial (though not really, so relax, this isn't an EA game). There's even a "next time, on Asura's Wrath" teaser that plays at the end of each episode, letting you know what's in store "next week." As well as opening credits for each episode while the action plays out. The only thing missing is a theme song to open every episode, but seriously.
So if you consider yourself an anime nut, you should check out Asura's Wrath. It's graphically stunning and boasts an epic soundtrack that you'll appreciate. If you're not an anime fan, check it out anyway. You'll probably enjoy it, and end up seeking out Dragon Ball Z DVD's to watch afterwards.
Questions? Comments? Just got something random to say? Hit the Comments section!
Thanks to Wikipedia and IGN for the images.
Next week, I talk about a game...that was mentioned in this article.