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Lttp: Asura's Wrath - Japan's God of War x Gurren Lagann

Bebpo

Banned
Jun 7, 2004
30,394
8
0
39
Orange County, CA
Finally got around to playing Asura's Wrath in my backlog, and I'm glad I did. While the game has its share of shortcomings, damn if that wasn't one of the most memorable videogame experiences in years.

Short review: Do you like watching epic melodramatic fist fights between two people where each gives everything they have and keep standing up because the weight of their beliefs are carried on their fists?
If yes: Play this game
If no: The game might not be for you

In video form:
Basically you can tell whether this game is for you by watching the last 5 mins of the non-story relevant, fanservice bonus Asura vs. Akuma from street fighter fight:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwSS8cuyB0Y (skip to about 10:30 and watch the last 5 mins)

Long review:
The pros:
+In a lot of ways, Asura's Wrath really feels like Japan's reaction to God of War and doing an eastern anime-influenced take on ANGRY [NOT BALD] MAN RAGING against the gods in ridiculously epic scale set pieces and QTEs. Even Asura's story of why he's raging feels lifted right out of God of War as does his daughter-stuff which is very reminiscent of God of War III except not terrible.

+But comparing Asura's Wrath to God of War isn't really doing it justice. Asura's Wrath's set pieces completely obliterate GoW's most epic large-scale moments. The stuff in Asura's Wrath just has to be scene to be believed. It's a lot closer to Gurren Lagann by the true DLC ending of the game, and all of that stuff makes it quite a bit of fun.

+Absolutely incredible cutscene direction. Especially in terms of action direction. The story is extremely enjoyable and a large part is the cutscenes are just so kinetic and wild and enjoyable. The interactive QTEs are great and do a really amazing job at bringing the player into the cutscene and makes you feel the punches and the action as it happens. This game absolutely sets the bar and will probably keep that position for years to come as the best QTEs and best action cutscenes in a videogame. The final DLC ending fight is insane.

+Yeah, from a cutscene direction/story direction/interactive fiction direction, some of these fights are going down as the best "fights" in the entire videogame genre.

+The humor. The game is "serious", in the same way a Stephen Chow movie is. It knows it's over the top and ridiculous and pushes that ridiculous in ways to keep a smile constantly on the player's face. There aren't dumb goofy gag humor things you find a lot in Japanese comedy, but rather seeing people get punched to the moon in FULL SERIOUS and explode and stuff is just really silly fun. In a lot of ways the scenes in the game play out as if they were dream action scenes out of the imagination of a 6 year old playing with figurines. Kind of brings out that childhood joy of ridiculous entertainment everyone enjoys deep down.

+The art & graphics are really impressive. From the character designs and all their details to the world and special effects designs the game looks incredible. The graphics are also extremely impressive and the constant screen tearing is actually reminiscent of those Treasure game days where you'd have massive slowdown but it'd just make the scenes seem more impressive that they were so epic they're destroying your system. The fact that Asura's Wrath is basically always tearing on PS3 is almost like the scale and set pieces are too next-level for the PS3 and it's kind of hilarious.

+I also want to give credit to the really nice pieces of 2d art between every chapter by a handful of fantastic artists to help flesh out the background story. Just real nice stuff. Makes me want to pick up an art book.

+Another fantastic visual effect is how the faces deform from punches. Because the game is entirely about punching.people.in.the.face.really.hard it's great to see the faces react and move with the punches and the sound effects give those moment impact. CC2's visual style is hard to top, all you need to do is take a look at the special attacks form the latest Naruto games and that's pretty obvious.

+The music is really nice too. The soundtrack by Chikayo Fukuda is great on its own and just adds so much to the cutscenes along with the cutscene direction. Fukuda, who does all of CC2's soundtracks from .Hack to Solatorobo to Naruto is a very underrated musician as Fukuda proves with this soundtrack. Very good stuff.

+The story is real satisfying. By the end of the true ending DLC, the game has been a good length and there's good satisfaction. After an exhilarating intro, there's some downtime of about 1-2 hours and then the rest of the game basically feels like the last 5 hours of a 60 hour game and is non-stop finale type action that just escalates and escalates until the very end.

+The world view. The world of Asura's Wrath straight from the start feels fresh and interesting. Sci-fi space ships, people jump kicking giant space monsters through space give Gunbuster/Diebuster flash backs, as the game progresses, the worldview is expanded in the background and without wanting to spoil, CC2 created one of the most interesting settings for game in a while. Very unique.

Negatives:
-The game at release got knocked a lot for lack of "gameplay" and being all cutscenes and QTEs. What's kind of ironic about this is it's the "gameplay" that is there that sucks while the cutscenes and QTEs are near-perfect. The core gameplay consists of fights or panzer dragon-esque rail shooters. Both of these are incredibly shallow.

-The core combat is barely decent on some boss fights where you at least have patterns to learn and dodge, but for grunt combat it's a complete bore of mashing O until your rage meter fills up and then you can finally get out of the fight. For an action game, all the best action and enjoyment came from the interactive cutscenes, which thankfully are 75% of any chapter. But man does that other 25% drag. You'd think if CC2 put a little more effort into the combat it would have been leagues better, but nope, it's like a Simple 2000 series game.

-Likewise the rail shooter parts are just far too simple and have the control issue of having to both MOVE and AIM with the same analog when they really should've have put aiming on the right stick so you can aim to the right without moving rightwards into a giant beam. Again the rail shooter feels like it belongs in a Simple 2000 series game and pretty much sucks outside the visual splendor of shooting down meteors and stuff.

-It's worth mentioning that the game is a bit misogynist in how it portrays women. The only women in the game are basically wives, daughters, or boobs and it really sticks out when the one female antagonist's only scenes in the game are her getting abused and tied up and she doesn't even get a fight.

-Really outside of the combat and rail shooter parts sucking (but they are about 25% of the game), and lack of good female characters, there's really nothing much else negative about the game. Everything else is pretty much perfect.

Overall:
The game has some flaws, and being 75% an interactive anime movie about punching.people.in.the.face.really.hard, it's not gonna be for everyone. But for people on the fence, those interested, the game is worth every second (including all the DLC which is about $10 worth these days). Asura's Wrath delivers on a extremely entertaining and engaging epic sci-fi action tale that takes the God of War formula, makes it even crazier and more epic, and somehow ends up with you punching through planets. The amount of times characters get punched, knocked or stabbed to or through planets probably holds the entertainment medium record on that type of stuff.

It may not be a great "game", but it's one of the best "experiences" of the PS3/X360//Wii generation of systems. When all is said and done, 20 years from now I'll probably think back on Asura's Wrath as one of the top games of that near-decade and I'll be glad to have my copy and hopefully a working PS3 somewhere in a garage to replay it someday.

A-

PS. As an aside, considering Asura is one of Capcom's best new characters of the last decade, and all the great Capcom love shown in Asura's Wrath, I'm kind of bummed that Asura hasn't been appearing in other Capcom titles in the last couple of years as a fanservice cameo. I mean he's not even in Project x Zone 2 which he should be a shoe-in for a game like that, if not as a character in Street Fighter V or something.
 
Feb 22, 2014
13,692
0
520
The DLC for Asura's Wrath with Ryu and Akuma was a really great addition to a game with a good vibe.

Now let me put this in your head: Platinum games designs Asura's Wrath 2.
 

Fat4all

Banned
Jan 11, 2015
21,024
3
360
slickern a weazle
While I enjoyed the game, my two biggest gripes were:

1. The ending being behind DLC.

2. The game starts in space, you should probably build up to that. Where else is there really to go?
 

Crocodile

Member
Apr 13, 2006
17,698
1
0
I think this would have been better served as an anime (2D animated or high quality CGI) than an actual game. It was certainly an awesome experience but its hard to justify at full price and I think the "buy DLC for the actual ending" bit was kind of douchey :/
 

ElBoxyBrown

Banned
Sep 6, 2014
21,891
2
0
The DLC for Asura's Wrath with Ryu and Akuma was a really great addition to a game with a good vibe.

Now let me put this in your head: Platinum games designs Asura's Wrath 2.

I would like Platinum to do everything but CC2 should continue with the sequel. I still would like it to be a cinematic focused experience inspired by Shonen anime.
 

B-Genius

Unconfirmed Member
Nov 8, 2005
5,235
0
0
Great write-up, OP!
Anyone who feels even slightly curious, or is interested by this review should give it a chance.

For the full batshit insane anime effect, play with Japanese audio and English subs.

I agree that it'd be nice to see Asura in some cameo form. He'd fit something like Smash perfectly (although I doubt he has enough popularity).
 

diamond_is_not_crash

Unconfirmed Member
Sep 22, 2014
114
0
0
I don't think its fair to compare Asuras wrath to one of the most well paced pieces of media there is.

Not to mention asuras wrath does little to show the player scale.
 

HyperZone<3

Member
Sep 27, 2005
5,176
2
0
Alaska
I kinda figured that this would have been a good candidate for a eventual Steam release, as it was an Unreal engine game and its only real weakness was its brevity. Hell, CyberConnect2 has already put out a bunch of games on PC by now, it just made sense to me.

I really could see this cleaning up as a low priced, no-frills port. But then again, I don't run Capcom, do I?
 

Bebpo

Banned
Jun 7, 2004
30,394
8
0
39
Orange County, CA
Now let me put this in your head: Platinum games designs Asura's Wrath 2.

Yeah, see one of my thoughts playing it was how it has the crazy cutscenes of stuff like Bayonetta/God Hand, except even better (and a better story). But the combat/rail gameplay is awful compared to either of those.

A game with the gameplay of Bayonetta or God Hand, with the cutscenes of Asura's Wrath would probably be the best action game of forever haha.

This game is cool but watching a youtube play through is borderline piracy.

I agree although I feel like watching the QTEs doesn't give quite the same experience. They did a great job synching up the QTE's with the cutscenes to really get you into the game and make you feel like you're doing the dodging and punching and stuff which adds a ton.

I saw someone compare Asura's Wrath to Dragon's Lair and I actually thought the same thing while playing it. It's kind of a modern day Dragon's Lair set to God of War x Dragonball/Scryed x Gurren Lagann.
 

kuYuri

Member
Mar 30, 2007
14,782
0
1,155
I played this on the 360 and I don't remember that much screen tearing, I think that might be more a PS3 thing.
 

Hektor

Member
Mar 10, 2015
11,281
0
485
O
steamcommunity.com
I really liked the Anime part of it i.e. the cutscenes and the QTE, but CC2 needs to do a better job with the combat next time around, that was neither interesting or challenging.

One of the best, modst underappreciated parts of the game is this here:
+I also want to give credit to the really nice pieces of 2d art between every chapter by a handful of fantastic artists to help flesh out the background story. Just real nice stuff. Makes me want to pick up an art book.

The art was incredible, and i really liked to see so many different interpretations of the design.

I don't think its fair to compare Asuras wrath to one of the most well paced pieces of media there is.

Huh? He only compared it to God of War.
 

Joeku

Member
Sep 15, 2009
5,733
0
0
I kinda figured that this would have been a good candidate for a eventual Steam release, as it was an Unreal engine game and its only real weakness was its brevity. Hell, CyberConnect2 has already put out a bunch of games on PC by now, it just made sense to me.

I really could see this cleaning up as a low priced, no-frills port. But then again, I don't run Capcom, do I?

I'm also surprised this hasn't been put on PC yet (with all the DLC thrown in) since it's a UE3 game.

Seriously, though, Anime: The Video Game is probably one of my favourites of the last generation of consoles.

After playing Asura's Wrath I figured out how to get me to care about an anime story: let me press B and RT occasionally in it.

Yeah, that might just be PS3. PS3 always had issues with Unreal Engine. The game is like tearing constantly for 80% of it. Worst tearing I've probably ever seen in a game, but it's so bad it's just kind of funny and I didn't let it bother me. Just felt like it was bringing the system to its knees from epicness.

To echo other posters, I've played through it a couple times on 360 and remember pretty much no tearing at all.

And spoilers:
it probably has the best QTE in a game ever. Left Stick to Brofist.
 

Bebpo

Banned
Jun 7, 2004
30,394
8
0
39
Orange County, CA
I played this on the 360 and I don't remember that much screen tearing, I think that might be more a PS3 thing.

Yeah, that might just be PS3. PS3 always had issues with Unreal Engine. The game is like tearing constantly for 80% of it. Worst tearing I've probably ever seen in a game, but it's so bad it's just kind of funny and I didn't let it bother me. Just felt like it was bringing the system to its knees from epicness.
 

djplaeskool

Member
May 5, 2011
22,066
8
0
Atlanta, GA
www.djplaeskool.com


Asura's Wrath is one of those games that punches ridiculously far above its weight.
I still remember sitting down, intending to play just an hour or two...
Ended up single sessioning the whole damn thing.
Oddly engaging and highly satisfying experience.
 

B-Genius

Unconfirmed Member
Nov 8, 2005
5,235
0
0
Yeah, see one of my thoughts playing it was how it has the crazy cutscenes of stuff like Bayonetta/God Hand, except even better (and a better story). But the combat/rail gameplay is awful compared to either of those.

A game with the gameplay of Bayonetta or God Hand, with the cutscenes of Asura's Wrath would probably be the best action game of forever haha.

The initial reveal got me pumped for a sort of spiritual successor to God Hand, but then I learned to curb my expectations by launch, and what we got was great anyway.

Still, some day I would love to see a game with God Hand's gameplay/humour plus Asura's QTEs and direction. Would be bloody amazing.
 

Zaventem

Member
Jul 6, 2012
6,838
0
595
I actually thought it could have been handled better with all the experience they have. Way to many QTEs. I hope they get another shot at it and make it more action focused.
 

Hypron

Member
May 9, 2012
11,838
0
520
To be honest I'd quite like a potential Asura's wrath 2 to be an interactive anime. A bit like how Until Dawn is an interactive movie.

I'm sure it'd be great.
 

Monocle

Member
Jan 16, 2008
36,215
12
940
Crazy fun experience. The thing everyone should understand though is the Nirvana add-on is absolutely essential. It's the true ending of the game, and a fantastic escalation of everything that came before. If you haven't played it, you haven't finished Asura's Wrath.
 

Ogawa-san

Member
Jun 29, 2009
3,818
0
0
It was like watching an awesome over-the-top anime that required me to press a button on the remote every 10s to keep going.

Also, the true ending is a paid DLC. Morally bankrupt practice but that's what you get for mixing Capcom and CC2, I guess.
 

danmaku

Member
Dec 9, 2008
5,854
0
0
Italy
I skipped this game to wait for bomba price and then forget about it, but after this review... I think I dodged a bullet.
 

anothertech

Member
Oct 1, 2014
4,548
2,060
645
Hey guys! Question! Playing this on PSNow, is the ending/dlc included in the game? Or is it sol for us? Anyone know?
 

miku

Member
Nov 1, 2009
1,560
0
0
crypton, in your head
PS. As an aside, considering Asura is one of Capcom's best new characters of the last decade, and all the great Capcom love shown in Asura's Wrath, I'm kind of bummed that Asura hasn't been appearing in other Capcom titles in the last couple of years as a fanservice cameo. I mean he's not even in Project x Zone 2 which he should be a shoe-in for a game like that, if not as a character in Street Fighter V or something.

Capcom didn't forget about him!


 
Sep 2, 2011
15,625
1
0
I just wonder what Asura could of become if they had just put a little more into the non-qte combat.

There is no reason why they couldnt of had a DMCxGOW level combat system.

Asuras wraith was a incredible case of wasted potential. Capcom clearly couldnt see what they had on their hands.
 

Monocle

Member
Jan 16, 2008
36,215
12
940
I just wonder what Asura could of become if they had just put a little more into the non-qte combat.

There is no reason why they couldnt of had a DMCxGOW level combat system.

Asuras wraith was a incredible case of wasted potential. Capcom clearly couldnt see what they had on their hands.
Asura's Wrath with gameplay by Platinum would have been mind blowing. The advertising fooled me into thinking it was going to be a fleshed out action game, not minimally functional segments strung between huge QTE-driven cinematics. The insane spectacle almost but not quite makes up for the disappointing combat.
 

Tizoc

Member
Jun 23, 2010
81,144
20
960
34
Oman
Amazing game. I wished Capcom gave it another chance this generation.

I have yet to start this on my PS3 and I have all the DLC XP
Would love for this to be one of their next Steam releases, and even if it can't run at 60 FPS, I'd still be able to finally have a reasn to play it.
 

GinoFelino

Member
Mar 3, 2015
6,190
4
0
Thanks for reminding me to buy this game. It's not as cheap to get now as I'd like it to be, but such is life.

Xbox 360 version is the one to get, then? I generally prefer to play on PS3 so I can use the DS4, is the PS3 version really that bad compared to X360?
 

Rymuth

Member
Jun 8, 2014
15,300
2
0
Love this game--

But my fondest memory is seeing the
heads will roll
trophy pop up during 'that' scene.

One of the few instances were trophy achievement actually enhanced a cut scene.
 

Keasar

Member
Apr 1, 2010
9,754
1
0
Skövde, Sweden
Asura's Wrath or "How to write a angry character without making him a completely unlikeable dick, looking at you Kratos"-the game. I so wish the gameplay could have been better, the characters, the spectacle of it was just absolutely gripping. Unlike Kratos, I actually really liked Asura, he was passionate, loving and caring but had a non-existent fuse to lit and when he gets mad, Kratos in comparison looks fucking mellow. I sympathised with him during his struggles and it felt great.

Fights like Asura vs. Augus had me on the edge of my seat in how well done they were choreographed. Or the final boss fight against
The Creator of All at the end of space and time itself https://youtu.be/6IjONPb6zHg?t=12m48s
which still remains one of my absolute favourites ever in terms of sheer awesome.

In the end though, the really lacking gameplay in combat held the game back a lot, I do wish they would take another stab at this cause with some professional help in that area (Platinum) I think this game could become something quite amazing.