Heavenly Sword Hands-On Preview
Heavenly Sword box art
System: PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Ninja Theory 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SCEA (SONY) 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sep. 12, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Will Heavenly Sword be a PS3 godsend?
by Amanda L. Kondolojy

July 30, 2007 - It's no secret that Heavenly Sword has been in the works for some time. Most people were initially hyped about it, but then, for some reason the hype died down. Perhaps it's the fire Sony has come under for its "interesting" business decisions, or maybe it's because it's been promised for so long. However, I for one would like to revive the hype because this title looks just amazing.

Heavenly Sword screenshot

And it doesn't play too badly either. Recently, we downloaded the demo off the PlayStation Network, and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. Although the demo is extremely short (even the most liberal playtime is only about twenty minutes), it still packs a punch. The battle system is engaging and complex, and while you can get away with button-mashing to get through the two stages, you'll find it a much more enjoyable experience if you test out different attacks and strategies when dealing with the enemies. There are several types of attacks at your disposal, and you can make quick work of a swift attack or save your power for an intricate cinematic super attack. There's also a multitude of intermediate-style attacks as well as combo attacks that you can use to get rid of the opposition. So it's really all up to you how you play because everyone has a unique gaming style, and I think, for the most part, Heavenly Sword does a good job of accommodating many different styles of gameplay.

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In addition to the battle sequences, the new demo gives some insight into other facets of the game. For instance, it shows that you will be relying on some timed-response mechanics for some parts of the game. In the demo, your challenge is to slide down some ropes that are being cut. You have to flip between the ropes and mash the X button to run faster down the ropes. Now this is a pretty simplistic task to overcome, but hopefully there will be some pretty responsive and interactive situations for the timed-response mechanics to come in handy.

Heavenly Sword screenshot

No discussion about Heavenly Sword would be complete without discussing its visuals. It's no secret that Heavenly Sword is going to have some amazing visuals. And the demo really reinforces that notion. Normally in a game, even an excellent one, there is some type of stale visual. Whether it's a stoic background or a neglected character detail, there's always something to nit pick. But what can you nit pick about the footage we've seen so far? I think you'd be hard pressed to find one element of the visuals that's not amazingly detailed and vibrant.

One thing about the demo that really impressed me was the sound content. Now, some people are self-described graphics junkies. I would like to take this time to admit that I am a sound junkie. I love game music, and am always swayed towards a game that gets all the sound right. And I'm so happy to say that Heavenly Sword gets it right. The music is beautiful and has a somewhat middle-eastern feel to it with elaborate strings and light chimes. The voice acting is also really good, and I'm very pleased with the actress portrayal of Nariko. It would have been really easy to go for the archetypal husky female voice, but I'm glad that this one sounds a lot different.

Heavenly Sword screenshot

Overall, I have to say that I was genuinely pleased with the Heavenly Sword demo. It had the kickin' visuals that everyone was expecting, and also showcased the battle system as well as some of the other facets of the game. And even though it was a very short demo, it definitely accomplished its task of making me anticipate this game's September release even more.

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • 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 A.I. 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.

  • Screenshots / Images
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