Asura’s Wrath PS3 review

E

Let me pitch you an idea for a game: it’s an interactive anime series that fuses together religious iconography, Asian mythology and grandiose sci-fi, and it’s played through hack ’n’ slash combat, bullet-hell shooting sections and quick-time events… Oh, you’re still here?

Not only is it amazing to see such an original and bizarre concept taken on by a big publisher and given a global release, it’s even more incredible that this cut-scene-heavy QTE-fest is, somehow, preposterously entertaining.

A lot of that comes down to the game’s loveably absurd story and its eponymous protagonist. If there’s an angrier character in the annals of videogame history than this betrayed demigod, for Christ’s sake don’t spill their gin and tonic. Asura certainly holds the record for most time spent screaming in a game – accounting for roughly 50% of his dialogue.

And who wouldn’t have stompy tantrum if they were betrayed by their seven fellow deities, framed for a murder and robbed of their daughter? It’s a kind of galactic Kill Bill narrative set up that takes you on a journey through some of the most insanely extravagant scenes and colossal boss battles any fan of Japanese animation could hope for. And that’s just as well, because the game to cut-scene ratio is 50:50, at best.

When you’re actually interacting with Asura’s Wrath, you’re doing one of three things – wailing on hordes of normal-sized enemies like demonic apes and rhinos, wailing on one absolutely XXL enemy like an evil elephant (don’t laugh: those trunks shoot fire) or flying through the air while shooting godly energy at even more gigantic enemies like a Milky Way-sized artificial intelligence.

There’s no wandering around from checkpoint to checkpoint – it’s a relentless barrage of ever more intense boss battles and set-pieces, handled via a simple but gratifying controlset. Asura unleashes standard (Circle) and power (triangle) melee attacks with those steely arms of his, using square to shoot.

There’s a little bit of depth to the combat – holding a standard attack unleashes an uppercut, jumping and punching launches a slam-down… but that’s really all you get through the entirety of Asura’s six-to-seven hours of butchery.