You may not recognise the name CyberConnect2. They aren’t exactly a huge developer. They were best known for their .Hack games, a series of roleplaying games for the Playstation 2. They’re trying to move out of their comfort zone with their newest game, Asura’s Wrath, an action/beat-'em-up style game for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
The plot revolves around Asura, one of the eight Guardian Generals, a group that protects the world from darkness. He is betrayed by the other guardians and banished from Heaven, only to fall asleep for 12,000 years. As you can imagine, he is not exactly happy when he wakes up, and so begins his quest for revenge.
The game has a very Japanese feel, and at first glance it may remind you of Bayonetta, a beat-‘em-up from a different company that came out a few years ago. It has a very bizarre Japanese sense of humour and loves to constantly throw action and over-the-top scenes at you. Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for the game itself.
The gameplay is broken down into on-rail sections (for those unaware, "on-rail" means the game automatically moves ahead and your only input is attacking and moving the camera), quick time events (button presses during cutscenes) and actual brawling.
As you can see, only one part of the game lets the player have full control. Even then, the control is somewhat sub-par, lacking a lot of variety, which means you'll be relying on the same attacks and strategies through most of the game. The most exciting part of the gameplay (and also necessary to advance) is building Asura’s "burst gauge", which allows him to unleash a special attack that ends that particular segment and lets you move to the next stage of the game. Despite the fact that Asura's appearance changes, disappointingly, this doesn’t actually result in any gameplay changes as well.
These gameplay problems are really unfortunate though, because the game has a really interesting art style and the story is very entertaining, but it plays out like they went ahead and put all their effort into those two elements and the gameplay became an afterthought.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t pick it up, it’s definitely an experience, but when you get your hands on it, don’t think of it as a game, but more of an interactive anime.
So in the end, unless you’re the sort of person who really loves zany Japanese humour, great art direction, anime, or a mixture of all three, I wouldn’t really bother with this game. It’s definitely a unique experience and a bit of fun, but unless it’s your type of thing or you get absorbed by the wonderful story this game tells, it won’t keep you hooked for very long.
3 out of 5.
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