Game: Asura’s Wrath
Available On: Xbox 360 (Review), Playstation 3
I’m not the biggest fan of Quick Time Events in video games. I see the whole process of QTEs to be incredibly lazy and actually deters from the scenario they surround. Would I rather watch my character do all this cool stuff or would I rather do all the cool stuff myself? Obviously, playing the vidoe game, I would rather do all the cool stuff myself. With all that what would compell me to play Asura’s Wrath, a game that is pretty much an entire QTE? I was drawn to the ridiculousness of it, just from watching trailers, seeing screenshots and, finally, watching Giant Bomb’s quick look I realized that I would put my bias of QTEs aside and try a game out of my gaming ‘comfort zone’.
You play Asura and his wrath in the game. You join him on a quest for revenge against a group of deities that he was once part of. These seven deities betrayed him and started using his daughter as a vessel for souls. Obviously Asura is not too happy about this, and this is is where the wrath comes in. Gameplay mixes it up between three styles. The first is the aforementioned QTEs, the second is a standard beat-em-up God of War style system, and the third is an ‘on the rails’ shooter section. It changes up between the three often throughout the game depending on the current set piece.
The story is told in an episodic format with 18 episodes composing the entire game. Each episode is 15-20 minutes long further cementing the style they were trying to create. It’s almost as if you’re watching and playing a television series. To pound this point home further there are little clips showcasing what’s on the next episode of Asura’s Wrath. These little features add up to make an experience that you want to come back to, just as if you were watching the show on TV in real life. The story is engaging, the characters are great and atmosphere of the whole thing is so rich and addicting.
The on the rail sections aren’t anything too exciting, you just move the joysticks around to lock onto as many targets and then mash X and Y repeatedly, they don’t really get anything interesting until the later half of the game. The combat is boring, there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Particularily during the apparently necessary video game trope where they send wave after wave of enemy your way. Oddly enough, and colour me surprised, the most exciting bit of Asura’s Wrath was the QTEs. Of course, this isn’t because of the QTEs themselves, as there is nothing fun about just hitting Y when they tell you, but it’s because of the cutscene that your button pressing is contributing too.
The cutscenes in this game are amazing. The combat is over the top and ridiculous to the sense of pure bliss in enjoyment. I mean, there is a section where the deity you’re fighting grows so big he’s larger thanEarthand he decides to try and kill Asura by poking him from space. I’m serious — and that’s also the first deity you fight in the game, it just gets more intense from there. That’s probably where the game hits strongest, it’s whole presentation completely makes up for the tedium of its beat-em-up sections. You’re looking past them because you know that you’re going to be rewarded with some exhilirating moments in the near future. The game also does some unique moments with QTEs that are better seen than explained, and the developers do something really interesting and cut back to the title card of the game at climactic moments — coupled with the ‘Press Start’ to actually play the events before you.
The game drags on in the middle, but the beginning hits strong and the ending hits even stronger. It’s a great game to play with a friend around so you can enjoy the ridiculousness of the situation together. The game takes itself not seriously and too seriously at the exact same time, which helps when the game starts getting silly because you’re aware of the ridiculousness of it, and you’re enjoying it too. The combat sucks, that’s just being honest, but in the end I could forgive it, because there were moments in the story that contributed to making the dull combat even somewhat more interesting. I have a good honest recommendation for Asura’s Wrath, I really enjoyed it. I never thought I would like a game that was founded on QTEs, but Asura’s Wrath proved me wrong. I have a game coming in the mail in a few days that is also a giant QTE… let’s see if it fares as well as Asura.
Asura’s Wrath: 8/10