(The Finger Poke Of Doom From Asura’s Wrath)
lately I have been giving Asura’s Wrath a bit of a spin on the Xbox 360, if you don’t know what that is, it’s an anime style hack and slash game which includes characters such as demigods and bosses the sizes of planets. Y’know your standard fare….. I’m sure you could gather from that, that Asura’s Wrath is batshit crazy, from enemies from seemingly possessed gorillas and giant elephants to your character (Asura one of the demigods of the planet) sprouting multiple arms and shouting his lungs out at every opportunity, or one of the bosses you face expanding to a size larger than the planet your on….. And it trying to kill you by poking you with its enormous finger.
Those are such examples that are acceptable, even celebrated in gaming (and perhaps other certain entertainment mediums) as examples of “eye-catching” over-the top entertainment, but can any game use these “Moments” to paper over any cracks it may have in regards to gameplay, level design, story or whatever?
In my opinion, no, but that will never stop developers from trying. In regards to Asura’s Wrath despite its garish visuals and batshit crazy story, it’s actually a dull sterile hack and slasher with absolutely no imagination in regards to its combat system. You could hammer on the two attack buttons throughout the game and pretty much complete the damn thing. It could be called “The Michael Bay” syndrome where you take as many explosions and action scenes as you can to paper over the cracks of the lack lustre story and character development.
Now if those over the top moments add that something extra, a bit of cake to finish your 5 course meal, then fantastic, that’s how the device should be used. An example of this in my opinion would be in Dragons Dogma, because you sparingly get big beasts to fight such as great big ogres, Cyclopes or even chimeras to name but a few. These are great fun to fight, plus the loot you get adds extra incentive to battle them, these fights however are not the be all and end all of the combat system but it adds a nice variety into the mix. Although the biggest pay-off in the game is when you fight the dragon at the end of the game, I can not overstate how awesome that boss fight is, massively exhilarating and the design of the dragon up close and personal looks absolutely fantastic.
That’s what I would consider good design, not overloading the player with the exaggerated and ludicrous where it becomes the norm. Potentially de-sensitising your player where they shrug off massive planet sized monsters with a “Meh”.
How not to do it, is Asura’s Wrath because you start off with a massive space battle against monsters coming up from the earth where you as Asura fly around in space (no equipment, no anything, just him and his super powers I guess.) and eventually QTE fighting a massive monster that’s inside the earth and apparently can not be killed but only silenced. Where exactly do you go from there? You just blew your load in the first 5 minutes, no you have to spend a significant amount of the game time cleaning it up (figuratively speaking!).
I’m definitely not against the crazy and over the top in story telling, just that it be used intelligently to enhance the story rather than just some audio-visual show, because then that turns into a cartoon/film rather than a game.
Thanks for reading hope you enjoyed it 🙂