Wednesday, February 29, 2012

30 Minute Playtest: Asura's Wrath

The concept of the 30 Minute Playtest, as you'd expect, is to provide our first impressions of a game. This time restriction means we cut to the chase and look at the important stuff like the controls, graphics, sound effects and plot. We try to determine whether there's enough to get you hooked based on the first half an hour of gameplay...

The problem with Capcom's latest epic yarn, Asura's Wrath, is that the first 30 minutes largely consists of an introductory movie outlining the plight of our hero, and a series of button-mashing Quick Time Event sections... not two of Megabits' favourite game mechanics, to be honest.

Strangely enough, however, we found Asura's Wrath to be rather good. It had certainly flown under our radar and until we inserted that shiny disc into our drive, we knew little about the titular demi-god. Asura sure is an interesting character... and boy, does he have some major anger issues!

Developed by Cyber Connect 2, the game fuses together Asian mythology and Sci Fi, boasts a unique graphical comic book style and is split into episodes like a TV series. It's all quite unique.

The opening scenes show our wild-haired protagonist returning triumphant from a fierce battle with the evil Gohma. He's a hero and everyone loves him... until the Emperor is found assassinated and Asura seems to be the culprit. Things go from bad to worse: his wife is murdered, daughter kidnapped and Asura finds himself banished from the realm. Fast forward 12,000 years and we're reintroduced to a VERY angry Asura, hellbent on revenge.

When you're not watching the lengthy cutscenes - which outline the story extrememly well and actually kept us engrossed - the game basically seems to be a bit of a hack and slash affair. There are different attacks, special moves and an anger meter that, when fill, allows you to unleash some devastating moves... it's all lovely to watch and good fun to play - feeling more than a little reminiscent of the God of War games.

So, first impressions of the gameplay - what there was of it - are positive. It's a great-looking game, with an intriguing plot, a great main character and some decent fighting elements. I do wonder whether the long cut scenes will irk after a while, and the fighting could get a little repetitive unless there's a bit more to it as the game progresses, but based on our playtest, there's enough here to make me want to play on.