What to Watch When High: ASURAS WRATH
Everyone knew that kid who was way too into Dragonball Z. Maybe that kid was you – don’t worry, you’re safe here. To catch everyone else up to speed, Dragonball is a terrible comic book and cartoon series that’s got decades worth of story about a bunch of interstellar fighters. The only way the creators knew to keep a story exciting for that long is to make each character grow stronger and more cataclysmically dangerous with each of their fights, to the point where their punches can (and frequently do) blow chunks out of planets when they face off.
The individual fights in Dragonball Z could last an entire episode or, comically, several hours worth of posturing & threats. This bears description because the makers of Asuras Wrath obviously loved these things about that show – they built an entire game dedicated to pursuing the same ever-spiraling heights of insanity. Don’t believe me? One of the tamer bosses toward the beginning of the game inflates to the size of several planets, & attempts to kill the title character from space by dropping one finger to crush the continent he’s chilling on.
Whats in a Name
Speaking of Asura, this is one of the most aptly named video games ever. You play as Asura, who is a six-armed demigod and royally pissed off. Throughout the game, his emotional state occasionally drops to vengeful bloodlust fury, but typically keeps the needle peaked at eye blistering, planet engulfing, stupefying rage that drives him to take down a pantheon, one god at a time. The Hindu/Buddhist/Sci-fi influenced story is mostly window dressing for the epic battles between the larger than life characters, but the resulting visual design along with a rendering effect that makes all the characters seem carved from stone creates a strikingly pleasant game to watch when you’re baked.
And watch you will, because interaction with Asura’s Wrath is pretty limited. There are a few fighting and shooting segments, but the sole purpose is to fill a rage meter that will advance the story with a button press. Once you’ve reached the requisite threshold of annoyance, Asura can continue his killing spree by knocking down one snooty space god at a time.
The meat of the game is the long cinematic boss fights, where the Quick Time Event is taken to a new level. Excellent visual treatment and careful button prompt placement (so you don’t have to take your eyes off the action) contribute to the fact that the QTEs aren’t used in the typical way, which is to force the player to watch the same animation repeatedly when defeating a huge enemy for the tenth time. Because Asura’s Wrath is so simple in it’s mechanics, just about anyone could play it. The insane action is worth the ride – You’ll know that by the time one of your opponents uses his sword to impale the fucking moon.
Asuras Wrath is available on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. If you download the demo and want to buy it, get a physical copy – the digital is overpriced.