Asura's Wrath Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3
Asura's Wrath screenshot
Asura's Wrath screenshot

It's important to really convey just how seismic Asura's beatdowns are. This is a guy who can kill a god with a headbutt, or punch his way out of a demonic fish that's the size of America. You see, while Asura's Wrath is hardly the most serious game in the world, it's a surprisingly clever one. Every molecule of its design ties back into the idea of his undying, unquenchable anger, from the impeccable sound design making every strike sound like a thunderclap from Thor himself to the immaculate timing of the QTE inputs - every blow, every explosion, even every beating you take... you can feel it. The struggle to fill the Wrath bar, be it through relentless Ghoma pounding, QTE button mashing or even the on-rails shooting sections (which pay homage to Rez, of all things), is exactly that - a struggle - and the release when you finally do burst is so cathartic you'll be tempted to tear your shirt in half like Hulk Hogan and let out a guttural roar.

For all the ridiculousness, Asura's Wrath's narrative works because it's a human story, one about a man seeking vengeance for his family. For every continent-sized explosion, there's a touching unspoken moment between well-written characters. Asura's motivations are always clear and always compelling, and even though the game is cutscene heavy its storytelling rarely feels laboured. Instead it's snappily paced, funny, sharp and unexpectedly easy to follow.

Special mention must go to the static storyboards that fill the gaps between episodes (of which there are 18 in total - the game plays out like a DVD boxset, with cliffhangers and credit sequences). Not only do they look fantastic, the accompanying text toys with the story in ways other games just don't do - different perspectives, false narration and even historical eulogies. And while pinning down a direct inspiration is tough given the game's pick n mix approach to different religions and mythologies, there are clear and sombre nods to Japan's own 20th century nuclear history - the threat is always from above, and when it comes, it's merciless.

Amidst all this praise, though, it's key to remember that earlier point - at times, Asura's Wrath is barely a game. The curious combination won me over, despite generally despising QTEs and boasting a short fuse for hammy cutscenes. Regardless, this is a short game, and only a third of it is actually playable. That's going to be enough to deter many. It's made the thing bloody tough to score, and Capcom's effort is sure to polarise opinion in a way few games ever manage. While I wrestled with my own opinion throughout the playthrough, though, one sentence kept spinning around in my head: you've got to play Asura's Wrath.

Good or bad, game or no game, you've just got to play Asura's Wrath. And, in truth, that probably says it all.

Version Tested: Xbox 360

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7 Comments

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EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist@ squidman

Haha, brilliant!
Posted 15:40 on 21 February 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ EverTheOptimist

Nah mate, I thought the demo was ***** too. I did enjoy Jon's review loads though!

I am also a hypocrite.
Posted 15:09 on 21 February 2012
EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist@ CheekyLee

Your comment has made me realise that I'm a total hypocrit! A few weeks ago I was posting about the lack of originality in the industry when it came to being bold and making games that didn't fit into a tight box, yet here I am not praising Asura's Wrath for doing just that, regardless of what I thought of the very short demo I played.

I have slapped myself in the face. On we go.
Posted 14:30 on 21 February 2012
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

Games like this are why I will always love Capcom. They may well milk anything they can until it literally bleeds, but they also throw more off-the-wall stuff out there than any other publisher even attempts to. The demo made me giggle, but also somewhat put me off. This review, though, was brilliant and has made me definitely want to play it now.
Posted 09:51 on 21 February 2012
Endless's Avatar

Endless

I enjoyed the review, and it's good to know there's a little bit more to it than the demo portrays, but my interest in Asura's Wrath can be summed up in one sentence:

"Why oh why does Mass Effect 3 have to be released on the same day as Streetfighter X Tekken!?"

I'll probably rent it for a laugh :)
Posted 09:45 on 21 February 2012
EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist

Nicely written, but I'm still not convinced it's anything close to a full-pricer for me. If I saw it for a fiver I might grab it just to say I at least made the effort now that I've read this review.

The demo was absolutely rubbish.
Posted 07:23 on 21 February 2012
Wido's Avatar

Wido

"when you finally do burst is so cathartic you'll be tempted to tear your shirt in half like Hulk Hogan and let out a guttural roar."

Haha! Completely sums up the demo when I first played it. Nice read!
Posted 07:06 on 21 February 2012

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Asura's Wrath
8
Out of 10
Asura's Wrath
  • Amazing, unique spectacle
  • Oddly involving and brilliantly paced
  • Barely interactive for large chunks
  • Combat is shallow
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 09/03/2012
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: CyberConnect2
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 2,396 15
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