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Asura's Wrath preview: Drunken boxing on the moon


We saw Capcom's bizarre CyberConnect2-developed action game Asura's Wrath back at E3, and JC wrote up an excellent preview at the time. Walking into the Gamescom presentation of a previously unseen part of the game, I was reticent to write up yet another preview just a scant few months later, but that feeling quickly vacated my brain and was replaced with pure, unadulterated madness -- madness that I'd be remiss not to share.

If you're not already sold on Asura's Wrath, here's why you should be: you fight a dude on the moon. Oh, is that not exciting enough? Would it be better if you knew the dude you fight is a god? Oh, and he's also obsessed with battle, constantly going on about how he "lives for it" and ... pffft, whatever, Asura's not listening. He's too busy being furious and punching that dude in the face with one of his six arms.

You'll excuse my lack of tact, but I came out of the presentation grinning like a child, ready to evangelize the uniquely bizarre experience that is Asura's Wrath.

Gallery: Asura's Wrath (Gamescom 2011) | 13 Photos

The presentation I saw was yet another of the game's serialized episodes, opening with Asura and his ex-master, Augus, relaxing in a hot spring. While scantily clad hostesses attend to each of the gods, you're given a handful of options -- stand up, drink some sake, chug some sake (seriously), and look around. As Asura gets drunker on sake, his "burst meter" fills and the screen' edges blur, progressing towards an eventual story note.

Asura stands, impressing the hostess with his ... torso, presumably, and gets a bit too friendly. Button prompts indicate Asura's intention to dive headfirst into her bosom, but just before he can, Augus checks him -- hard -- with a fist directly to the face. What to do next but battle to the death on the moon, right? Of course.

Why the moon, you ask? Simple: Augus wants an uninterrupted fight. And hey, what's more desolate than the Earth's moon? Worked for Dr. Manhattan, right?

As Augus begins to orate, Asura can choose to sit and listen to the nonsensical banter or "Shut him up!" CyberConnect2's highly excitable Hiroshi Matsuyama -- seen here, looking amazing -- clearly chose the latter (he was in control of the demo), resulting in Asura charging full speed across the moon and laying a knuckle sandwich into Augus's face. Let the gigantic battle begin!

And this is where the drunken boxing comes in -- Asura and Augus went on to repeatedly charge each other, swinging fists at Matrix-esque speeds, eventually prompting Matsuyama to manage some QTEs to dramatic effect. After another several minutes of pummeling, Augus decides he's had enough of playing around, and it's time for him to bring out a very, very serious sword.

Sure, at first, it's just a magic sword which sends out pulses of energy that Asura has to dodge on his way to Pummeltown (located on Augus' face), but when that section of the fight ends just a few minutes later, Augus decides to extend his magical sword across the field of battle, which Asura catches with his six arms. Unfortunately for our hero, the power of the sword proves too much, catapulting Asura into space, all the way back to planet Earth. This is something that actually happens.

Asura may be strong, but the force of the sword proves too much when backed up against an entire planet, and he's impaled. The sword then continues through the Earth and out the other side. That is also something that actually happens. And just like that, on a cliffhanger, the demo ended. My smile, however, remained. If what I saw of the title plays out across the entire experience, Asura's Wrath is set to be a very special game. And hey, if you watch the trailer above and it doesn't get you pumped for more, you may want to make sure that you're not currently impaled on a sword through a planet.

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