*Disclaimer: I’m playing this as part of a backlog. It’s been six months since release and I’ve purchased all previous DLC, I’ll write a separate section dedicated to the DLC, but my overall review is based on the game and DLC as a whole.
Part video game yet anime show, part button mash brawler, yet bullet hell shooter, all awesome. Asura’s wrath is a difficult game to nail down, but that really doesn’t matter, it’s still a fun ride from start to finish. A parable of a fallen god casted down and seeking vengeance on his former companions. With not the most intelligent plot, and with familiar mechanics transformed into confusing gameplay, it’s not a perfectly chiseled masterpiece, but it is a great example of a game taking a unique twist on what we consider to be a “video game”.
Asura’s wrath isn’t as much of a video game but instead more of anime series exclusive to video game consoles. Surely this is a game, with fully interact able scenes, but at least two-thirds of “playing” is in fact watching cutscenes. Divided into episodes with pause breaks and credits for each, it’s structure is not hiding it’s anime roots. Since the game is completely devoted to telling its story, I’ll refrain from spoiling as much as possible. In typical anime fashion, Asura’s Wrath is pretty nonsensical, explaining a tale of battling gods defending the earth from its demons. By the end, the game explains most of any questions I had, but the story is left on a pretty huge cliffhanger unless you purchase a separate DLC pack, Part IV:Nirvana. Though not trying anything different, Nirvana feel like a second season attached to a stand alone one season anime show. Containing all the pieces of the main game it simply brings closure to the story, but goes off the nonsensical deep end in the process.
Gameplay is rather light, yet still fulfilling. Most of the gameplay consists of well timed button presses (quick-time-event or QTE) strategically placed throughout the action among the cutscenes. As Asura leaps forth to assault an enemy, a button prompt will appear and tick down to the second his fist contacts flesh, the more you inch to contact without passing over, you are rewarded with a higher score. If Asura lands himself in a punch-fest Dragon Ball Z style, you’ll find yourself mashing buttons to equal to activity. This very simplistic gameplay still make you feel in the action, yet leaving narrative on course and in control, moving things forward. The QTE’s is the most consistent form of gameplay, with small sections giving further input, letting you control Asura’s movements and attacks, much like your typical 3rd person brawler. The sections I found most fun were sections, Asura fell down upon his enemies, turning the game similar to bullet hell shooters, letting Asura throw punches like bullets, flying past his reach and destroying his targets, even allowing you to lock on and launch missile like projectiles demolishing anything in their path.
By the end, I enjoyed my purchase for the show so to speak, like most anime I’ve seen the ending starts to fall apart, but the style of everything is still a sight to see. I’ll likely not dive back in for a good while unless to show someone new the story if interested. I can’t see myself going back in the near future since replayability basically is watching it over again trying to achieve a better score on levels. For this reason I recommend renting, since quickly beating and returning would be no strain, but if you like what you see feel free purchasing.