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Heavenly Sword PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 8.9
Graphics 9.0
Sound 8.9
Value 8.5
Distributor: Sony
Review Date:
October 2007
James Wright


Heavenly Sword

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 controls.

  • 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 way.

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!


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