Itâ€™s no surprise that Asuraâ€™s Wrath divided opinion when it was released earlier this year. Itâ€™s a game that can be broken down to being approximately 75 percent cut-scenes, 20 percent hacking and slashing, and 5 percent QTE events. For the most part youâ€™re simply sat holding the joypad, waiting from a button prompt or battle to appear.
As such, calling Asuraâ€™s Wrath an interactive anime isnâ€™t far off the mark at all. The storyline – which involves Asura being framed for murder and having his daughter taken away – is very typical of what youâ€™d find in an anime with plenty of shouting, over the top attacks and drawn-out talks of revenge. Itâ€™s spilt into 18 episodes each lasting around 30 minutes, and like an episode of a TV show thereâ€™s a quick recap and a preview of the next episode at the start and end respectively.
Itâ€™s because of this episodic nature that I found myself treating Asuraâ€™s Wrath as I would a DVD boxset, playing (read: watching) one or two episodes a night. I even took a break from it for a few days to play through The Walking Dead: Starved for Help and some other random XBLA games. After playing the tedious Feeding Frenzy from start to finish I was quite glad to get reacquainted with Asuraâ€™s angst-ridden ways, I can tell you.
I think another reason for playing Asuraâ€™s Wrath in stops in starts is because the plot never really had me on tenterhooks. Itâ€™s not a poorly told story by any means – some of the sights you see are incredibly grand in scale – but I found that it didnâ€™t flow too brilliantly. It peaked in the middle and although the twist (which I wonâ€™t spoil) at the end is pleasing, it was hardly jaw-dropping. That peak? An incredibly outlandish boss battle with Wyzern, one of Asuraâ€™s former cohorts. Wyzern expands in size to the point of being able to push Asura deep into the ground with just one flick of a finger.
This boss battle isnâ€™t the most memorable moment, however. About half way through the adventure Asura finds himself having some downtime at a hot spring with his former master. The two should be at each otherâ€™s throats, but instead Asura finds himself listening to his masterâ€™s moral standpoints. Weâ€™re told that he doesnâ€™t care about right or wrong â€“ he just fights for the thrill of the battle. A battle between the two does inevitably ensue, but before this happens youâ€™re given the option to have a few drinks which are bought over by a busty servant girl.
Some much needed comic relief can be had here. Stare at her chest and youâ€™ll gain an achievement for â€œgiving in to your male instinctsâ€ which is promptly followed by a slap around the chops. As you talk to your former master and knock back the beverages a few little â€˜peeping Tomsâ€™ appear too. Focus the camera on them and theyâ€™ll scarper. Amusing, but not quite as amusing as pulling the camera to the far side of the screen to find one of the larger enemies haplessly trying to hide while having a sneak peek at the busty servants. He too scarpers, but not before falling on something slippery while retreating.
Even with moments such as this, Asuraâ€™s Wrath didnâ€™t sell too well on release and as a result itâ€™s not exactly the most common game around. If you can find a copy though then it shouldnâ€™t cost much more than Â£20 as the price is starting to drop. Fans of anime would do well to consider it â€“ although it costs twice the price of a typical anime DVD, thereâ€™s a good six or seven hours of play to be had.
Itâ€™s a shame that Capcom didnâ€™t think to release Asuraâ€™s Wrath on PS Vita. It would have been an ideal game for the playing on the move due to being spilt into bite-sized chunks. Perhaps it will find a way onto the system in the future â€“ itâ€™s not like Capcom are afraid to re-release games from their past on as many formats as possible. There’s even another Street Fighter II collection not too far away from release.