When you load up the Asura’s Wrath demo, you can’t help but be excited for what epicness is to come. The title screen shows footage of a planet-sized, mustachioed man, and Dragonball Z style battles, and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into some fast-paced gameplay. It was slightly after pressing start that my excitement faded away.
Asura’s Wrath, or at least what we are shown of it in the demo, is essentially a glorified quick-time event. Not to say this cannot be done well, as Heavy Rain has shown us, but in an action game, there needs to be something to make the player feel tension or a sense of urgency, and this game, so far, is lacking that. While an epic battle is going on, a button prompt will show up in the foreground every once in a while, you press it, and we all go on our merry way. After pressing the button, you watch some more, and wait for another button prompt.
Other than the obvious problems with this, I have a few other gripes with Asura’s Wrath’s system. First, the button prompts are always the same because certain buttons pertain to certain actions. It makes sense, but it really takes the suspense out of it. Also, I found myself more annoyed by the prompts than anything. They’re big and usually in the middle of the screen, in front of the action. I know this is to call attention to it, but seasoned gamers know to look around the screen.
At least the second part of the demo featured to full analog stick movement and dodging, which makes me wonder if there is more to the game, but they haven’t shown this to be so yet. This time you’re fighting a guy who looks like a more buffed-up version of yourself. I actually became confused at first as to whom I was when gameplay started. Eventually he pulls out his magic extending sword and starts swinging, which doesn’t really add much to gameplay, but looks cool.
After a quick few dodges and punches, we were back to more of the same QTE, press button to not die videos. It really is a shame the gameplay is so bland because the cinematics (see: the game) look incredible. What little the demo shows of the plot makes me want to know what is going on. But I don’t want to play what is going on, I’d rather watch it. The button prompts almost feel like they are just getting in the way, like someone is asking you to press a button to keep watching Goku fight Vegeta. Just let me watch it and leave me alone!
After running through the demo once, I wondered if it was possible to play through the entire thing with only my bluray remote. Sadly, the PS3 does not register is as a gameplay controller, so I opted for playing the demo with one hand. While eating a bowl of cereal with the other. I managed to run through it without a hitch, if that tells you anything.