For the better part of nine years CyberConnect2 has been creating games for a niche; Naruto fans number in the millions so it's a lucrative niche, but given their reverence for the source material it's a crowd that rarely encourages the dev to stretch its legs creatively.
In many ways Asura's Wrath is a passion project for the studio; a rare opportunity to break out of the confines of working with licensed material to create something original. It's all the more surprising then to find that it doesn't actually stray too far from its wheelhouse with this new found freedom.
Like it's previous titles Asura's Wrath will truly strike a chord with a very specific audience; the type that grin with a semi-psychotic glee every time Bruce Banner loses it, the type that punched the air when Goku turned super Saiyajin for the first time and smacked Frieza around, and most of all the type that stared slack-jawed as Naruto finally unleashed his Bijuu Cloak to stomp Orochimaru.
But that doesn't mean others should dismiss it, Asura's Wrath is a game that relishes in its own ridiculousness, it seizes every opportunity to jump to next illogical extreme and does it with such gusto that you just have to respect it. While you might not be able to appreciate the oddball characters and melodramatic story you'll find it hard to tear yourself away from the visual spectacle, and on those grounds nothing comes close to what it offers.
RAGE OF THE GODS
The game follows the rage-driven quest of betrayed demi-god Asura, who falls victim to the twisted ambitions of 'The Seven Deities', a group scheming to rid the world of the impure Gohma by harvesting souls from their human followers and powering a giant laser beam firing space Buddah. Yes, you read that right.
The only problem is that Asura's daughter, a powerful priestess named Mithra, is the key to the plan, which doesn't sit well with him. His protests earn him a murdered wife, kidnapped daughter and a trip to the underworld all courtesy of the maniacal General Deus. Centuries later the sheer intensity of Asura's anger brings him back to life, and he returns to a decayed world where people pray to cruel gods and blindly offer themselves up as sacrifices.
Someone inclined to could make a case that there's an underpinning message about religion and god, that despite his frightening power Asura is relatable as a father that will let nothing stop him from rescuing his daughter, but ostensibly it's all set up to let Asura hunt down his wrongdoers and wantonly destroy anything and everything in his path. Which is exactly what he does. During the six or so hours it takes to see the campaign through you'll partake in some of the most ludicrously awesome set-pieces ever put into a video game.
You'll have a punch up with a rotund god that grows so big the tip of his index finger can crush the planet. You'll square off on the moon with a battle-hardened warrior wielding a sword long enough to pierce the earth all the way through. You'll fly around space firing lasers out of your six mechanical arms to thin out space faring Ghoma forces. In one of the game's quieter moments you'll drink sake and battle the urge to ogle the ample bosoms of a hot spring attendant, but that brief interlude nonchalantly segues into chunks of a planet being cleaved off.