An expansion released for free, and rightfully so
Asura: Vengeance is a continuation of the base game Asura, and expands about as far as can be expected. We are introduced to new difficulty, items, rooms, survival game mode and a whole lot of RNG. The “new” content feels as though it should have been released with the base game, making this a smart decision by the developers to include it at no charge. New players will be happy with the added variety, and returning players can expect to further their mileage with Vengeance mode, which features endless waves of enemies to battle for a shot on the leaderboard. There is also a new “chakra” system, which allows you to select (before starting your run) a passive skill that you unlock with each new boss kill. Unfortunately, this cannot be used at any difficulty higher than normal, which makes it feel like a very lackluster addition.
The increased variety of rooms in each level can be refreshing, which counters the seemingly numbing grind of repeating the same level ad nauseam. You can expect to encounter mini-bosses along the way, along with a short mini-vengeance mode, breaking up the otherwise borderline mundane gameplay.
I Asura you, it is not as hard as it seems
The Mahasura difficulty allows for any enemy, boss, or champion to spawn, regardless of the fortress. While this may sound like a draw, it does not pose much of an increased challenge to players who have reached this difficulty, as they have likely already mastered combat against these enemies in previous modes. The damage and health of the enemies are not further increased, and you do not have the new restrictions that you would find in most hardcore modes. If you are someone who enjoys finding an alternative ending after beating a difficulty, you will find mild disappointment ahead. Beating the game on difficulty levels two through five does not provide you with a new cutscene or alternative ending, which is something I was hoping for with the addition of a new difficulty. The core difficulty of the game remains the same; burn damage destroys your items, making it the single most important crowd control effect to avoid. Regardless of difficulty level, it is a mechanic that can ruin your run when your main weapon breaks in the later levels.
RNG that satisfies your gambling addiction
New room additions have included a tempting aspect for any Las Vegas big shots (or online thrill-seekers): gambling your money. You can gamble by exchanging for more coins, or a severe loss of said coins, by sacrificing hearts in trade of items, and by rolling the fifty-fifty dice with the Gods to either receive a random positive or negative curse. These RNG elements can bring a level of frustration in your run. I experienced this firsthand when I was cursed by the Gods and lost all my items for which I had spent half the game farming. On the inverse, the gamble can be very rewarding, especially if you are already having a poor run. I was able to gamble fifteen coins into one hundred in a play through, alleviating my difficult run.
Survival mode made perfect
Vengeance Mode was the ideal extension for this game: it satisfies the players craving to jump into the game with immediate action. The survival mode features an arsenal store, allowing you to purchase weapons, armor, and items with an upgrade charge to reach the next tier. This mode can also be used as a sandbox environment, as it allows you to essentially test your different characters and gear matchups. A slight negative is that the skill tree is still randomly generated, but it does not impede gameplay, since you are shown the entire tree from level one. Those who are competing on the leaderboards can restart their run over and over until a favorable skill tree is generated. Waves vamp up quickly and provide a healthy balance of fighting enemies and bosses. The mode does an excellent job of keeping up with your pace and provides hours of fun, making it the high point of the expansion.
The Verdict: Great
While there are some pitfalls, overall the expansion packs enough content to satisfy returning players and entice new ones. New game mode adds an addictive alternative to enjoy the game and compete on the leaderboards, and survival mode packs the punch that pushes the expansion over the edge. Though the new additions might not further expand the audience of this title, existing fans of the game and genre will be satisfied with the new content – and even more satisfied with the word: “free.”