Capcom’s no stranger to crazy, over-the-top action games, but the CyberConnect2 co-developed Asura’s Wrath is so utterly beyond anything they’ve produced that it almost defies description. This is a game where planet-sized enemies take on our titular protagonist, who is able to be stabbed by a sword as lengthy as the distance from Earth to the Moon and live to tell about it. Or, to use a manga analogy fitting of our demo at Tokyo Game Show, it’s like Dragonball Z meets Fist of the North Star with a dash of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure in the mix.
Perhaps it’s easiest to just say that Asura’s Wrath is absolutely nuts. That works, right? Right.
Anyhow, Capcom had a brand new build for us to try out at TGS, and we eagerly hopped on the demo station to perform some epic beatdowns. The setup this time: Asura is on the moon. Who knows how that happened, but that’s hardly important. What is important is that he’s facing off against Augus, who, if the dialogue is to be trusted, was his ex-master. Already we’ve got a pretty juicy setup here. Can the pupil defeat the teacher? The drama here is about to explode!
Then you get the option to press the B button while Augus is going on and on about fighting or something and just punch him in the face. And from there, more control prompts flash onscreen, until you finally assume full control of your multi-armed fallen god.
Capcom is very quick to emphasize that Asura’s Wrath isn’t all quicktime events, but they are certainly in no shortage. We’d go as far as to say that roughly 50% of our playtime with this demo was QTE-related. We were happy when we finally got to control Asura directly, because hell, those brawls looked unspeakably awesome, but we mostly just watched them. Controlling them must be even cooler, right?
The problem is that some elements of the free combat are hard to judge. Is the long-range attack effective? We had no idea. Can we rush in close and unleash a beatdown fury? Whoops, we just got pounded and thrown back about 50 feet. But hey, our Burst meter is full now, that certainly must mean something. Activate it and… another QTE, oh boy.
This seems to be the biggest issue with Asura’s Wrath: So much unspeakably, jaw-droppingly awesome stuff is happening, and it’s so brain-meltingly ridiculous and amazing that we want to love it, but so much of what we played felt out of our control.
Eventually Augus dug out a massive, massive sword, and we got back into the free combat. Dodging the various sword attacks was fun and challenging, but there seemed to be very few opportunities for us to go in for a counterattack without being severely punished. In fact, the only really reliable way to do damage to Augus was to wait for him to perform a certain sword strike, which could be blocked and mega-countered by – you guessed it – watching for an onscreen button press prompt. Do this a few times and Augus pulls out all the natural macho enhancement he’s got, impaling Asura with a sword that stretches from the moon to Earth and stabs through the whole planet and comes out the other end. Meanwhile, scenes of mysterious men in bird-masks discussing the ongoing fight play ominously, and flashbacks of Asura’s kidnapped daughter flash onscreen.
And then it ends. Alas, a cliffhanger.
There’s nothing on the market like Asura’s Wrath – it’s so delightfully, outrageously wild in the thematic department that you can’t help but just feel pumped up by the raging action and machismo. Whether it’s actually going to be as fun to play as its concept would warrant, however, is still very much up in the air – the heavy emphasis QTEs and rather clunky-feeling combat just didn’t seem to click during our brief play session. There's still time to fine-tune it, of course, and we really hope they do. We're really looking forward to the final version, but it’s a wary anticipation.