WILL drag action games, kicking and screaming, in a new direction.
But it won’t manage it alone. So for the very sake of the industry we hold so dear, get online, download the demo and return when you’ve vanquished Chapters 5 and 11 of Capcom
’s latest chaos engine.
Oh, and don’t forget to scoop up the remnants of your brain, doubtless melted by the copious adrenaline coursing through your veins!
By now you know Asura’s Wrath is many things
: Third Person Shooter, Platformer, Hack and Slash, Quick Time Event, decidedly hammy and unapologetically livid.
It’s also completely, utterly batshit insane!
Developer Cyber Connect 2
is no stranger to anime (Naruto Ultimate Ninja series
) critical acclaim (.hack//
series) or financial success. It’s simultaneously condemned and complimented for its diverse synergy of gaming styles, particularly it penchant for over the top quick time events.
But while even the mighty Naruto is a niche in these parts, Cyber Connect 2
may have latched onto something a little more accessible and a lot more primal in Asura’s Wrath.
latest tells the story of an angry, angry man. And that’s priority one.
Above: Not necessarily a man...
Producer Kasuhiro Tsuyachiya has revealed the traditional action model of XP, levelling and upgrades are absent, instead stating
"Asura's fighting style will change according to the story. Asura's fighting styles are all predicated from the dramatic story or beats within the game. At certain points in the game, if Asura gets extremely angry, you might see him fight with six arms. At even later points in the game, Asura might get beat down and lose most of his arms."
To this extent, narrative fidelity is the project’s primary concern. Even, it seems, over gameplay.
Yes, I know first-hand the knee-jerk reaction is to baulk with three letter acronyms.
WTF?!? FML! OMG??! BYOB!
But bear with me...
During the short demo I found myself brawling mano-a-mano with the inhuman Argus (Asura’s former master), then racing the titanic Wyzen across a desert, trading assorted weapons fire. And just as the mythic orient cemented itself as the setting, a ruddy Star Destroyer showed up and shattered that illusion.
Moments later I was tasked with shattering it right back!
Reminiscent of early NES titles, the common denominator of move, dodge, shoot and strike unifies this mechanical hodge-podge. Similarly, these set pieces are stitched together by agreeably bonkers cut scenes, all of which feature interactive QTEs.
Relax! Heavy Rain
, this is not.
and Cyber Connect 2
have designed multiple fail states for the majority of these events.
Case in point, when propelled backward by Wyzen’s titanic fist, you’ll be encouraged to arrest your momentum. Succeed and Asura grinds to a halt, his feet gouging troughs into the desert’s surface. Then he’s up, foaming at the mouth and ready to rip his opponent a new one.
Fail and he’ll hurtle backward, plough through a mountainous plateau, finally halted under a mound of rubble. Then he’s up, foaming at the mouth and ready to rip his opponent a new one.
In case it wasn’t obvious, the latter is a common theme.
Though contextual, these QTEs aren’t designed to catch you out. They’re intended to amplify an already magnificently ambitious quest. Master input scheme, you can maximise how astronomically badass your protagonist is. Muck it up and he’ll still remain sufficiently badass.
Finally, arguably the most important aspect of Asura’s Wrath
is its tone. It’s deliberately, intentionally, unashamedly histrionic!
Set to a swelling classical score and compiled to mirror an anime run, characters spew soliloquies so verbose and vivacious you cannot resist smiling. A galactic conspiracy, a revenge tale on an interplanetary scale, it’s difficult not to be consumed by the exaggerated Space Opera or the relentless, unremitting fury emanating from the protagonist.
Contrasted with Asura, Kratos is naught but a purring kitty!
And then there’s the ad breaks. That’s right, just in case you thought the tone wasn’t quite deliberate enough, Asura’s Wrath features commercial breaks and cliff-hangers!
These actually come in handy; as you’re brow will require regular mopping!
As a game, in the traditional sense, Asura’s Wrath
will struggle to impress. Its controls are functional, its visuals are rich but break no ground and its replay ability is limited to retrying QTEs to observe their various fail-states.
However as an experience, an innovative mode of interactive storytelling, Asura’s Wrath
is nothing short of inspired.
We gamers never shut up about craving originality in our games. Capcom
listened. You want unique, you’ll have it February 24th.
Deal still not sealed? Know this: during Argus’ speech, prattling on about how he’ll grind you into a fine paste, Asura will be given the option to “Shut Argus Up!”
Want to let the old man speak, that’s fine. But Indulge the onscreen prompt and Asura will (naturally) bring his blind master’s pontificating to an abrupt, gratuitously violent end.
Is there any other kind?!