Monday, February 27, 2012

Second Opinion - Asura's Wrath

I have seen (and played) my share of action games, but never have I experienced one like Asura's Wrath. This game had me hooked from the very beginning of its story all the way to its shocking and unexpected finale. This is helped by its characters, who are themselves deep enough to be interesting and able to contribute to the plot, including the ones that don't show up very often. The structure of the story itself plays out very much like an episodic anime, complete with very attractive eyecatches, which only serves to aid the presentation of the product as a whole.

The combat system of this title is simple, but effective. You have two buttons dedicated to light and heavy attacks and one for rapid fire, and in some rail-shooting sections the heavy attack button becomes one that unleashes a hail of projectiles after locking on to enemies. When an enemy is down, you can unleash another attack that can deal great damage to them, although after performing it (or heavy attack) you must wait for a cool-down period to expire before you can do it again. When you take or deal damage, an Unlimited Gauge fills up that, once activated, temporarily makes you even more powerful and removes the cool-down during this time. As the battle advances, the damage you deal fills up a Burst Gauge, located underneath your Health, which allows you to advance the story once it is filled up and activated with the lower right shoulder button. As I said, this is simple and works really well, and is also quite easy to pick up.

These combat sequences don't happen too often or last very long though, since a lot of the interactivity comes from cutscenes combined with special Quick Time Events, in which you must synchronize your button presses to the actions on-screen. This is not a complaint however, since this works in the game's favor of immersing you in its storyline. All of this is backed by amazing music and phenomenal voice acting (thought the sound mixing makes it a little hard to take in), both set in beautifully rendered environments within a mythological sci-fi world filled with equally amazing character designs. Aside from a few instances of clipping here and there, there are surprisingly no other technological problems to speak of throughout the entire game.

Asura's Wrath may be a short game (it can be beaten in a single day on easier settings), but it is nonetheless enjoyable. If you're looking for something that can take several days to beat and/or has a very deep combat system with long button combinations, I would advise you to look elsewhere. If you're looking for something short, but engaging or want something new that stands out in a sea of shooters, this is most definitely a game for you.

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