Once the dominion of exotic and much lusted after interactive animations crafted by the likes of Don Bluth, the quick time event is now frowned upon and the zeitgeist has decreed that they are a garnish that should be used sparingly. Enter stage left, Asura’s Wrath from Cyberconnet2 and Capcom, a game starring a furious demi-god who unfolds his six heavily muscled arms and embraces the QTE with startling commitment. You hate quick time events, you say? Well, Asura’s Wrath might just be the game to change your mind.
As with any great piece of interactive entertainment, Asura’s Wrath is best experienced first-hand and though our fumbling of words should hopefully give a you a good idea of what the game is all about, there is a danger that many of you have struggled to get too far beyond that opening paragraph. The power of three letters – Q, T and E – should never be underestimated; the modern gamer simply doesn’t like being told what to press and when to press it. They want open worlds, choice, freedom and customisation. In short, they want Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto, and Asura’s Wrath is about as far away from either of these as is humanly possible. Actually, it’s further than that – as the game’s cast predominantly aren’t human; they’re demigods and going to extremes (as you will discover when playing) is just how they do things.
It’s not unfair to describe Asura’s Wrath as an interactive movie; it’s unashamedly linear and you are rarely more than a few seconds or minutes away from a cutscene or slice of narrative exposition. The danger with this structure, of course, is that you can end up with a good movie that doesn’t work as a game, but Cyberconnet2 deftly avoid this fate through some shrewd design work and startlingly imaginative production values. Asura’s Wrath veritably bursts with ideas, in both its narrative twists and turns and in the gameplay it presents.
Plot wise, the game focuses on Asura, one of Eight Guardian Generals who protect Heaven and Earth from the ravages of the Gohma – the corrupted offspring of a monstrous entity known as Vlitra that exists in the interior of the planet Gaea (essentially, Earth). As well as having to combat the horrors of the Gohma, Asura’s world is thrown into even greater turmoil when he is framed for the murder of his Emperor shortly before finding his wife has been killed and his daughter, Mithra, has been indentured into the role of Priestess – a vessel capable of storing the souls of humans who have lost their lives in the war between the Gods and the Gohma. Suffice to say, he’s not happy about this, and sets about seeking the release of his daughter and on bringing revenge to those who betrayed him.
In actual fact, to say that he is ‘not happy’ is a massive understatement: the game is called ‘Asura’s Wrath’ for a very good reason, with Asura’s anger being a core theme throughout the game’s reasonably lengthy play-time. His level of fury and the ways in which he expresses it at times dwarves even that of Kratos from Sony’s God of War, giving you some idea of just how angry Asura gets. Impressively, this focus on one particular emotion doesn’t prevent Cyberconnect2 weaving a tale of considerable emotional and surprisingly human depth. Though Asura’s problems are divine in nature, the narrative explores notions such as humanity, death, fatherhood, loss, corruption, love, pity, sacrifice, environmental issues and more besides, with the complex plotting proving to be extremely engaging.
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