I’ve played my fair share of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta-style games, but neither of those over the top experiences prepared me for the absurdity of Asura’s Wrath. Capcom’s latest action game is an unapologetic caricature of the genre. The main character, Asura, battles droves of enemies and faces off with a boss that continues growing until he dwarfs the earth. I’ve seen few games deliver large scale, dynamic fights with such flair.
The demo I played begins with Asura engaging in a shouting match with a pot-bellied giant with a big mustache. Asura looks similar to Street Fighter IV’s Akuma or Dark Ryu, except with white hair (the game’s overall heavily shaded and exaggerated art style is reminiscent of the fighter’s look). The big bad guy, Wyzen, yells at Asura about being a traitor and tells him he’s no longer a deity. Wyzen also reveals that Asura has been asleep for 12,000 years, and during that time the titular character’s daughter, Priestess Mithra, has provided the fat foe with power in some way.
The tubby antagonist’s words naturally upset Asura. A quicktime event prompt allows the player to interrupt Wyzen’s rant by flying through the air and punching him in the gut. After he finishes his speech Wyzen calls in his cronies. Combat in Asura’s Wrath is what you’d expect from an action game: linking together light attacks to set up enemies for bone-shattering heavy hits. Asura can also take aim and pepper bad guys with energy shots. Swapping between close quarters combat and shooting reminded me of Devil May Cry. Laying into baddies builds up Asura’s wrath meter, which triggers an elaborate series of quicktime events. Via these cinematic moments I suplexed Wyzen, became a human bullet , and even morphed into a six-armed berserker. Quicktime events have become a bit of a dirty word in gaming, but Asura’s Wrath gets a pass thanks to action-packed events that make Dragon Ball Z look like a nursing home.
As the demo progresses, Wyzen grows larger and larger. After the first fight the boss swells to the size of a skyscraper and tosses Asura into the distance. The player must then control Asura as he runs towards the giant boss. Wyzen launches missiles which players can redirect back at him with well-timed button presses. After taking enough damage Wyzen grows to the size of the moon, running across huge open fields as Asura pursues him. Wyzen’s backup arrives in the form of a huge gunship, launching even more missiles which Asura tosses back. After catching up to the tremendous enemy, Asura launches him into space. The interstellar boss wastes no time morphing to a size greater than earth. He then thrusts his finger towards Asura to finally squash the pest. His gargantuan digit burns through the atmosphere like a meteorite. Through a series of quicktime events the players activate Asura’s wrath mode, dig their heels into the dirt, grow four extra arms, and brace for impact. In a stunning visual display Asura stops Wyzen’s finger, then delivers a six-fisted barrage. The impact ripples through the huge foe. Glowing orange fissures spread up Wyzen’s arm into space, eventually reaching his screaming face just before the enemy explodes Death Star-style.
The flashiness, style, and scale seen in this first hands-on with the game puts many games’ final boss battles to shame. And Wyzen is only one of the seven gods we predict Asura must defeat in his journey. I get a feeling that this early look at the game is a fraction of the craziness that’s in store for gamers with Asura’s Wrath. I can’t wait to see more of Capcom’s newest action title.