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Capcom Releases Asura’s Wrath Demo; Forgets to Include Gameplay

If Asura’s Wrath is going to set the pace for video gaming in 2012, we are eff you see cade- unless your idea of gameplay is tapping a B button repeatedly to fill up a gauge or twirling a stick at the right time to prevent having to watch a repeated cutscene segment over and over again.

I played through both of the boss fights in the demo that Capcom set loose upon XBLA and PSN last night, My initial reaction was to put on a sandwich board and go down to the street corner and proclaim that the end is nigh for video games. Or to lead a pitchfork-and-torches march of people who truly love video games to Capcom headquarters and demand that all copies be destroyed…

The game- at least as the demo presents it- is cynical, lazy, anti-game design at its absolute rock bottom. One boss fight, against a “planet-sized” boss is nothing but flashy non-interactive cutscenes with a couple of quicktime events and some rudimentary shooter sequences interspersed throughout its duration. And most of that duration is composed of grating, empty-headed anime jibber-jabber to appease the kind of dullards that would prefer dynamic camera angles and a phony sense of scale than story, narrative, or substantive gameplay. So what if the boss is “planet-sized”- a QTE is a QTE, and a QTE is not gameplay. It almost felt like playing Shadow of the Colossus but with all the, you know, actual gameplay removed.

The second boss fight is an unbelievably sloppy, ugly, and almost incomprehsible melee with another character that spouts off a bunch of nonsensical crap until you- yes- “press B to shut him up”. After about ten minutes of pulverizing this guy with QTEs and occassionally shooting him to no effect, I just started mashing the buttons at random. It felt like a knock-off Dragonball Z game made in by amateur developers that blew their entire budget on an orchestral score. I really don’t know what was going on at all, but it wasn’t fun in any way. I didn’t even finish the fight and went back to Netflix.

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I had been looking forward to this game because I was under the impression that it was going to be something of a Bayonetta-class brawler, completely with utterly ridiculous boss and a larger-than-life scope. Instead, if the demo is to be taken as a representation of the final product, it’s even less of a video game than Heavy Rain was. Perhaps Capcom should have just been honest and called this download an “interactive trailer”. Who knows, maybe the final game will have all of this great brawler gameplay and a cool story. I won’t be there to find out.

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

10 thoughts to “Capcom Releases Asura’s Wrath Demo; Forgets to Include Gameplay”

  1. His review tagline for that “new” Tekken game was good too.

    “Tekken Your Money”.

    Laughed out loud at that one.

  2. Lamy, that’s pretty good. But it doesn’t fully express how terrible this game is. I’m thinking about linking it to the recent death of British songstress Amy Winehouse.

    Bah, my Choplifter one was kind of obvious. I may try to make it more subtle.

  3. To be fair, QTE’s can be useful in a game, they just rarely are. The first God of War seems to be the shining example of how to use them correctly, so let’s just go with that. In GoW, QTE’s aren’t the main part of gameplay, they’re used as finishers that allow the player to pull of moves that aren’t normally possible with the (already extensive) control scheme. They keep the player participating in the action when most other games would completely take control away, are gratifying to pull off (and only midly punishing if failed), and most importantly, they don’t take away from the core gameplay.

    Now games like Asura’s Wrath (from what you’re saying), which rely so much on QTE’s that they do take away form any other gameplay, or games like the more recent Resident Evil games, in which failing a QTE means immediatly dying, having to restart a scene, and redo everything until you get it right, are bad ways to use QTE’s.

    I just don’t like the assertion that they’re always bad, or that they’re not gameplay at all, both of which imply that they simply shouldn’t exist. They have a place, and they can fit into a game, just not all the time.

  4. I can’t remember which game it was, but I was playing something on a friend’s 360 where the QTEs were all OPTIONAL. You could just hit a button and make something interesting happen or just watch it like a cutscene.

  5.  why why why why why why is everyone excited to play this game? It’s made by the same company that made those god awful naruto ninja storm games. and by games I mean “games”, in turn by which I mean they’re only games in a sense that they’re on current gen consoles. Seriously, you can sell these on DVD’s and they’d be playable with a remote, you only need 3 buttons to play them. 

    the “gameplay” section is a bad 3d fighter, with “mash the punch button” gameplay after which it goes into a stupid long QTE cutscene, where the price for failure is to watch the last 10 seconds before the QTE. Oh there’s some bullshit character building too. fuck that game. 

    oh hey did I just describe this game exactly as it’s going to be? fuck this game too. This is THE worst japanese developer that’s getting huge publishing deals. Why do people keep buying their garbage? And now Capcom will publish it which means it’ll sell way more than it should. worst japanese developer with the worst japanese publisher! this game will sell millions; there hasn’t been a package like this since FF13.

  6. Crimson Dragoon, I agree with you 110% without exception. QTEs- used judiciously- can be awesome tools to create tension, surprise, or to increase visceral impact. They can also be a shorthand for depicting things that the game engine might not be able to handle, or that go beyond the limits of control. Resident Evil 4, Bayonetta, and No More Heroes come to mind as games that do QTEs right.

    But when the lion’s share of gameplay is QTEs, what you’re doing is taking the “play” out of the game and you’re not giving the player any kind of actual agency within in it. The key is to use QTEs to _enhance_ action and spectacle, not _be_ it.

    But with Asura’s Wrath, the QTEs are overwhelming. It’s all there is (at least if the demo is representative) apart from a couple of really crappy Space Harrier/Panzer Dragoon shooter bits.

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