|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|
Kai is the only remaining member of another tribe that was struck dead by Boham's army. She can't attack the enemies by foot, but she is very good with the crossbow. When you play as Kai, you'll have to shoot at the oncoming enemies and some other random targets. The game contains a feature called "aftertouch." You will be able to direct the arrows towards the desired target employing the aftertouch, which allows you to travel along with the projectile. You'll achieve this by holding down X and aiming with the SIXAXIS motion controls; while this is not very difficult, it takes quite a while to master.
Later on, you'll have to aim through a flame to then light up explosive barrels or hit a switch. Sometimes it felt a little overused; targeting and hitting the enemies is fun, but when you have shot a dozen of them, you just want the game to move on to the next thing. Instead, they make you shoot almost a whole army, and it takes forever. Nariko will use the aftertouch once in a while too; for example, directing bombs from the cannon, or throwing discs to hit a gong, which will open a gate or something like that. If the game didn't rely so much on the aftertouch, Heavenly Sword would have been pretty much frustration-free.
The game has astounding visuals. Heavenly Sword is defined by lots of combat and beautiful, high-quality cutscenes; this is not to say that in-game graphics are worse; actually, your eyes will be delighted watching Nariko throw her powerful attacks her crazy, long, red hair flows in the air, dancing in the middle of a combat scene. Their clothing, the weapons, the architecture, the different textures, the characters' facial expressions, etc., everything is of the greatest quality, completely faithful to the potent graphics engine the mighty PS3 has to offer. Perhaps this is why the game is shorter; it's possible that the extra effort it took to make the game look perfect translated into a shorter final product. I wouldn't mind playing a sequel, which will most likely have a bigger budget and ample resources to make it longer and better.
The soundtrack is another near-masterpiece. It sounds just like a movie. I didn't even hear the same tune twice, except more towards the end, in the final battle, which did get a bit boring. The voice acting is also superb, with quality professionals delivering the most unique and interesting video game voiceovers I've ever heard. The sound effects are equally above average, with movie-like effects that resound across the walls.
The way the levels were split within each chapter was also very nicely done. Often enough, you'll cross an invisible checkpoint and the screen will display a "Complete" message, along with the number of glyphs you obtained (up to three), which represent how well you performed in that level. The game continues on without stop, which allows for smooth gameplay and flow of the story. You'll rarely have to say "Oh! Now I have to do this again!" (This happens a lot in other games). At the end of each chapter you'll have access to the previous chapters and the levels within them. You can repeat some levels if you want, hoping to obtain more glyphs than the first time around. Completing the game in normal mode will unlock Hell mode. It will be more difficult, but the story will remain the same. Unless you're used to playing your games a second time around, you will probably call it quits after you beat it, which takes no less than six hours and probably no more than ten.
By and large, this is a game you should consider playing, whether you rent it or add it to your library of purchased games. I wouldn't say it's a title worth buying the PS3 for, but if you put it alongside many other good titles that are starting to come ashore, it should at least influence your decision. Did you enjoy God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, and other games of that nature? Then, no doubt, this is a game you'll love. If you are thinking of a game with more platforming elements and puzzles, like the Prince of Persia trilogy, this might not be exactly your style; however, you might as well give it a try!
CCC Co-Site Director