If you think you’ve played over-the-top action games, think again. You cannot truly say that until you have played Asura’s Wrath. CyberConnect2’s outrageous power fest is something else, to say the least. Though this is only the demo and not the complete game, you are offered a nice peek at what gameplay to expect in the future release. I find myself split between being very impressed and very disappointed with what I’ve played.
You’re put in control of the protagonist Asura, an indestructible force of nature with seemingly endless power. How does CyberConnect2 challenge this invincible character? By putting him in the most incredibly outrageous action scenes I’ve ever laid eyes on.
You can choose to play two different chapters in the demo, Chapter 5 or Chapter 11. I don’t completely understand the significance of these chapters in the larger sense of the story. However, I believe they chose these to show you the variation in gameplay mechanics that Asura’s Wrath offers. Gameplay revolves around filling up Asura’s “Burst Meter” which allows you to unlock your inner Super Saiyan and progress the battle further. This is done through mostly causing damage to your foe or countering their attacks.
In Chapter 5, you face off against a larger-than-life Buddha statue wannabe. Asura’s Wrath thrusts you immediately into the action with a quick time event meant to stop your character from crashing farther into the landscape after being tossed by this Godzilla-sized foe. What follows is a mix between adrenaline-pumping action sequences brought to life with well-placed quick time events, and mundane gameplay brought down by mindless finger movements.
After stopping Asura from his trip to the other side of the planet, you begin to charge towards the towering behemoth. Instead of controlling Asura’s charge, you control his targeting instead. I know, thrilling. By moving the aiming reticule over targets, you lock on to more than one object, allowing you to shoot multiples at once, giving your Burst Gauge a boost. When the Burst Gauge is full, you hit a shoulder button to activate your Burst and turn into what I like to call Crazy Red Six-Armed Asura. Once you get within jumping distance of the enemy, you are treated with some more quick time events allowing you to close the distance and show him what you are made of while continuing to fill your Burst Gauge. This is where it gets interesting.
The charge towards the enemy itself is less than breathtaking . What occurs is the player mindlessly pushing the reticule all over the screen to grab as many targets as possible before firing your power attacks. Once you start the quick time events, however, you are treated to some pulse-pounding action sequences that keep you locked on the screen, timing your button presses just right. However, you go back and forth between aiming and shooting mindlessly — just trying to fill your Burst Meter — to savagely battling with the giant opponent before you. Thankfully this is only one angle of the true gameplay of Asura’s Wrath.
Episode 11 is far more interesting and quite fun, I dare say. You are in one-on-one combat with a character strongly resembling you, and it is implied that the two of you share a teacher-student relationship. What follows is a bone-crushing fight sequence that tips back and forth from acceptably fun, to out-of-this-world exciting. The controls aren’t very complex or as responsive as you would like them to be as you button mash your way through your opponent’s tough skin or dodge his attacks with questionable movement detection. Once again, it is the pulse pounding quick time events in between all the button mashing that really pulls the carnage together and draws you into the action. As your battle evolves from a duel on the moon to a savage Dragon Ball Z-inspired brawl to earth, the action keeps heating up and you find yourself having far more fun than when you have complete control over Asura.
What makes this game so interesting is that in two different chapters you are using two completely different methods of gameplay, each with completely different control schemes. Chapter 5 has you playing a shoot-‘em-up, while Chapter 11 has you playing a third-person brawler. Needless to say, if these are the only elements Asura’s Wrath has to offer, then monotony could quickly set in with nothing truly solid to keep you interested. However, with a seemingly intriguing story at hand — consisting of Asura being a fallen warrior of the gods betrayed by his people — and the possibility of several different methods of gameplay presented in different chapters, Asura’s Wrath could definitely hold some potential.
It’s apparent that the quick time events and the over-the-top action are what are meant to hold the player’s attention. Whether or not the differing gameplay elements can fluidly take them between these events will make or break the rest of this game. From what I played, I experienced some very exciting gameplay, but if this is all I had access to for several hours, the excitement is bound to wane.