|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|
by Matthew Walker
April 19, 2007 - For years, female gamers have desired a game that involved a strong female lead that could take on any of the more popular male leads. Here and there, they have received a female lead they could boast about being just as good as some of the other characters. Probably, the most notable is Samus from the Metroid series. She is a take no prisoners, anything you can do I can do better, awesome character in the same vein as Ripley from the Alien movie franchise. Come this August, both Samus and Ripley are going to have some competition thanks to Ninja Theory, the developer behind one of the most highly anticipated games for the PS3 this year. The game set to break out of the shell and raise the bar for awesome lead female characters is Heavenly Sword and, already, it is truly heavenly.
Heavenly Sword is set to follow a storyline that would rival any Asian cinema martial arts film. A young girl who has been cursed by an ancient sword has only a few days left to live. With those few remaining days, she sets out on a quest, a last shot at redemption, to defeat a king and his invading army. The girl's name is Nariko and she is prepared to pay the ultimate price to avenge the warrior clan decimated by the king and his invading hordes. Even if this were a martial arts film, it would be hard to imagine how the action of the game would be captured on film.
Speaking of the action, once you take a look at the videos available, you might automatically want to compare the game to God of War. In fact, when the game debuted at E3, it was nicknamed Goddess of War by several critics. This makes the shoes it will need to fill a bit daunting. In the trailers, it shows Nariko facing several enemies at once, a challenge that has become staple for proving just how cool a character is. As she surveys her surroundings briefly, you can see the amount of detail already captured in the game. She then draws her swords and begins a mesmerizing barrage of attacks. She realizes at one point that her swords are designed more for taking on a few enemies at a time. Her sword changes into a chain like whip, and the attacks become more fluid and devastating for several enemies. There will be context sensitive attacks, just like God of War. For certain battles, you will be required to press a certain button to begin a round of pressing the right button at the right time moves. In addition to the wicked combo moves, there will also be brutal finishing moves that you can perform. One such move has been affectionately called the groin buster. It is unknown if that is the true name of the move, but you can imagine what it is. Another ability we will be able to enjoy is when you throw an object or fire one from your rocket launcher - yes, I said rocket launcher - you will be able to guide the object to maximize the damage done.
Graphically, Heavenly Sword looks to be one of the games we have been waiting for on the PS3 and may set the bar that future releases on the PS3 will be held to. Stepping up the technology of games by using the Hollywood trick of full motion sensor capturing, the characters have been brought to life with such realism that if it wasn't for the controller in your hand, you might think it was a movie. Of course, that might have something to do with the man that is the dramatic director - Andy Serkis. Most of us know him as the vicious and vile Gollum from the Lord of the Rings films. He is not only the dramatic director of the game but he will portray King Bothan, not only the motion capturing, but the voice as well. King Bothan is, of course, the main antagonist of Nariko, so we can be sure that we will despise him as much as we did Gollum. The thematic orchestra of the trailers also leads one to believe that the emotion and epic feel you could expect from a game of this magnitude is throughout.
With the insurmountable popularity of God of War, it is hard to say how Heavenly Sword will fair in a market that has been flooded with clones of popular games. However, with the speed of the game already impressive you can be sure that Heavenly Sword will increase the requirements of Kratos' next adventure. Then again, with the already separating points between the two, it will be hard to strictly compare Heavenly Sword with the God of War series, at least until God of War 3 comes out. Be sure to check back with CheatCC in the coming months for more information on one of the PS3's most anticipated games of the year.
CCC Freelance Writer
Heavenly Sword gives new meaning to the term "epic" by Cole Smith
May 9, 2006 - The graphics in the game alternate between epic movie and videogame with the camera angles cooperating by letting us focus on our immediate area when doing battle while affording us panoramic, micro-bursts of our surroundings when it's convenient. If I were a developer on this game I would certainly want to showcase the environments. What I've seen is incredible. The detail is incredible, full of rich textures, colors and just enough grit to make it realistic.
The star of the game is a feisty, young gal who possesses ridiculous combat skills. She displays her talents in an ancient arena that is similar to the Roman Coliseum where gladiators clashed thousands of years ago. Toggling between two main weapons, a huge sword and hook blades, our female warrior slices and dices her way through waves of heavily armed and armored enemies. The different weapons have different characteristics which make them more effective against certain types of enemies.
With a flexible set of moves she is able to combine them to make some spectacular combos and reversals. Special attacks and finishing moves are not only effective but very dramatically portrayed. The special attack meter will fill as you successfully hack and slash other opponents.
The animation is incredibly smooth and you can always stay focused on the action regardless of how many enemies are onscreen and how heated the action gets. The controls appear to be very responsive and there is a good variety in the move set and weapons so that the combat will not become overly tedious. We've also learned that the game will include elements from other popular genres such as exploring, platforming and puzzle solving.
This is one of the most impressive PS3 titles we've seen and we'll keep you posted as it progresses.
CCC Senior Writer