Just tried the Asura’s Wrath demo. Um. How should I… Yes. Okay.
Certainly spectacular, in the most literal sense. If only I could remove those pesky mash-button-now prompts, I’d love to pay more attention to those dramatic events playing out in the background. That’s alright, I’m enough of a Capcom fan to be interested in it regardless. I can’t help but adore the spectacle of it, the wonderful character design and the fact that it is all so pleasingly daft.
On the other hand, it seems a terrible shame to reduce the player’s interaction to such an extent, relying on the occasional button mash to drive things forward. By contrast, a game like Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! offers cathartic fun in tapping out catchy tunes while the narrative plays out – the core activity of play was enjoyable on its own terms.
It’s something of a hot potato among the more dogmatic game dev theorists out there; the question of whether video games are to be judged primarily as an interactive medium. My own view is that games can be anything really – that’s what makes them interesting. I’ve read some criticism of Dear Esther for its lack of game-ness, but I must admit to being very curious to check it out.