Heavenly Sword is the latest PlayStation 3
exclusive epic to arrive on the console which finally showcases the
power of this machine with not only gameplay and graphics but also an
engaging tale about good versus evil with Nariko as our flame coloured
hair heroine. Without a decent storyline, Heavenly Sword could almost be
considered a next-generation version of Gods of War but fortunately the
developers have created something unique with our female lead.
We soon discover that Nariko was raised by
her warrior father Shen after her mother died during child birth. To
substitute the care from her mother, Shen focused heavily on training
his daughter to become a protector of the Heavenly Sword and should this
weapon fall into the wrong hands, it could very well spell disaster for
the lands. As fate would have it, King Bohan of a neighbouring tribe has
set his task on recovering this weapon and now it's up to the gamer to
ensure that this does not happen thanks to the skills of Nariko.
The Heavenly Sword itself can Transform into Three Distinct Stances
– Players can switch between on the fly allowing players to create
their own fighting styles.
The Combat Engine can Scale Up – From sophisticated one-on-one
encounters to one-on-many, where enemies employ intelligent
squad-based dynamics, right up to combat against battalions pushing
real-time gameplay and AI to unprecedented new levels.
Physics-based Combat – Players can sweep debris against opponents,
kick tables to halt an oncoming surge of fighters, smash the enemy
into the scenery or throw bodies into other enemies using aftertouch
Wide Range of Objects and Weaponry – Including multi-skewering
spears and devastatingly explosive bazookas.
Creative in-game Cinematography – Coupled with real-time story
evolvement and amazing set-pieces makes the action feel like a
blockbuster action movie and takes combat gameplay to new heights.
The parallels between God of War is quite
similar to Heavenly Sword with the excessive amount of violence and
bloodshed with your characters also performing a wide gamut of maneuvers
with a variety of different and deadly weapons. Unlike Gods of War,
Heavenly War is more focused on adventure/action rather than total
bloodshed and this healthy dose of story and gameplay goes quite a long
The main premise behind Heavenly Sword is
to assist Nariko in mastering this ancient weapon and of course defeat
King Bohan's army that is hellbent on recovering this mystical and
powerful item. Apart from playing as Nariko, the gamer also plays Kai, a
friend of our heroine who is a very strange and bizarre little girl who
has a different fighting style than the main character.
The control system of Heavenly Sword is perfect on the PlayStation 3
with the square and triangle buttons used to attack your foes but by
holding down the L1 and R1 buttons, this will allow you perform some
devastating attacks. The developers have carefully implemented a variety
of combat stances into the game such as speed, power and range which
allows for different combat maneuvers.
In order to defend your character, the
gamer must carefully time the attack of their opponents in order to use
the counter attack maneuver. Similar to the Devil May Cry series, Nariko
can also perform a variety of "style-ized" attacks which are done
through the user of style points. Needless to say, this is quite visual
and definitely quite impressive as you see Nariko use her feminine
charms to slice and dice her way through the enemies.
The game contains a feature called
aftertouch which allows you to direct arrows toward your desired target.
This is achieved by holding down X and aiming with the SIXAXIS motion
controls which is rather tricky but once mastered, thoroughly enjoyable.
The game also has a healthy amount of
checkpoints and will inform the player how well they performed after
completing a level. The downside of Heavenly Sword is that the title is
rather short and we easily completed the title in around 10 hours. Once
completed in normal mode, the gamer also has access to a "hell" mode
which is rather quite difficult which some players may attempt to
complete a second time.
Graphically, there is little to fault with Heavenly Sword that is
probably the most visually impressive game on the market at the moment
and match that with amazingly pre-rendered CGI cutscenes and you have
one impressively looking title. The developers have also used real
actors to map the facial expressions of all the characters which is
easily makes Heavenly Sword one of the most realistically looking
characters in any game. From the way the eyes dart around to the
realistic flows of Nariko's hair, everything is flawless in this title.
The background environments are also quite detailed and it's easy to get
lost in this amazing universe.
Musically, Heavenly Sword features an
orchestral harmony that would not feel out of place in any Hollywood
Blockbuster movie of a similar genre. Add in some excellent voice acting
that does not sound too contrived or forced and Heavenly Sword is
definitely a first classic audio experience. The game also contains a
variety of realistically sounding sound effects that go hand in hand
with the gameplay and graphics.
In conclusion, Heavenly Sword is probably the game on the
PlayStation 3 which should have came out when the console was launched
because of how well the title has been made and is one of those rare PS3
games that has been exclusively designed for the console. If you enjoyed
God of War and Shadow of the Colossus, then you will definitely enjoy
this title from start to finish. Brilliant from the word go!