Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Second Look - Asura's Wrath (+ DLC)

Asura's Wrath (and all of its DLC) has been discussed before on this blog, but recently I decided to take the opportunity to replay it, only with a different approach. Since much of the DLC actually contributes to the main plot, I decided to play all of the Episodes of the story in order (with DLC Episodes 11.5 and 15.5 in their respective places), while also skipping Episode 18 in favor of viewing its Interlude before going straight for True Episode 18 as a lead-in to Part IV: Nirvana (I also played the Lost Episodes DLC packs afterward to complete my experience). In addition to this, I did all of this on the Easy difficulty setting with the Thermoregulator Gauge equipped (this Gauge lets you recover from overheating faster). Now that I've explained what I did in order to re-experience this game from last year, I suppose I should say what I thought of this experience. It was not only interesting to play everything in order the way I did, but I think it made for a much better and fulfilling story as a result.

When played in this manner, I felt that the story seemed more fleshed out, especially with the ".5" episodes filling in a couple of gaps in the plot; on the other hand, this means it's also much easier to see how off-model the ".5" animations from STUDIO4°C can get, but they help the story nonetheless. Experiencing the story this way, I think, also gives the events of Part IV: Nirvana a much greater impact and makes the final boss fight against Chakravartin much more epic than it already is (in fact I would consider it the greatest boss battle ever, but that's just my personal opinion). Aside from the animation of the fill-in episodes, everything flows together rather neatly when put in their proper order and further shows the great scope that CyberConnect2 had planned for the story during development. In this new context, while there is evidence of when the Lost Episodes would take place, the end of Lost Episode 2 seems to show that they're more of a enjoyable side story independent from the main plot.

After over a year, the graphics of this game still look good, though with some minor texture loading and slight lag during the Part IV material. When played in order, the animations of the fill-in Episodes look a little jarring next to all the others, but they are animated well despite their off-model nature. The gameplay still holds up rather well, though I think we'd have to wait a little longer to see if the game has really stood the test of time. I'm not sure what else I can say here other than that everything else holds up well after a year.

Asura's Wrath is still an amazing game and is a more interesting experience when the main game and DLC are played in their proper order. If you have not picked up this game yet and you don't mind Quick-Time Events, what are you waiting for? For the best experience, I would recommend purchasing the DLC before starting up the game for the first time, since it is well worth the price and only enhances an already great story, ending with one of the most epic clashes you will ever see in a video game.

(As a side note, this is the first review published under the blog's new logo in the header, which I had a hand in designing.)

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