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Heavenly Sword Member Review for the PS3

thetank By:
GENRE Action 
DEVELOPER Ninja Theory Ltd 
T Contains Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

And you will know my name is the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon thee!

Right, it\'s always good to start off the day with a reference to Pulp Fiction. It\'s me again, everyone\'s least favourite video game reviewer with a job at a video store. Everyone has a gimmick, Teller doesn\'t talk, Ebert gives thumbs up, and I drive people away with my incessant movie references.

I\'m also making every attempt to provide reviews and comments that are as readable, and enjoyable as possible. Of course, this isn\'t always an option, but at least I\'m better than "ZOMG! Oresum, such a fuggin k00l game! lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111one!!! Hahaha A+"        ...right?

I\'d hesitate to call Heavenly Sword a God of War clone. First of all, that provides other people a chance to do so, and I just don\'t like the term. The only true God of War Clone would be an albino Agent 47 with red tattoos, and the Blades of Athena. Anyway, having just completed God of War on God mode (yeah, I\'m late to the party), I still fail to see how people are incapable of simply letting this game exist on its own. Every review, or even comment, is going to be influenced when you compare a game like this to the story of Kratos, and Heavenly Sword deserves a fair, impartial go.

With that out of the way, I can actually get down to the brass tacks. Heavenly Sword tells the story of Nariko, who in some complete ****-up is left in possession of a double-edged sword, in possibly the most literal terms, a sword which will grant virtually limitless power in exchange for the blood of its wielder. If that were me, I\'d be waving a white flag by now. However, Nariko\'s choice has resulted in conflict, in no uncertain terms. The consequences of her choice are presented to the player through various action and platforming sequences, interspersed between cutscenes, with very talented motion-capture artists at the helm. The main villain, in addition to other minor parts, is portrayed by Andy Serkis, known for his role as Smeagol in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (made in my homeland of New Zealand, suckah!). As expected, this star power brings life to the game and its characters, and makes the cutscenes a thing to look forward to, as opposed to an unnecessary break in the action.

The action, by the way, makes for great fun while playing the game. The combat system is simple, and dispatching your foes doesn\'t take too much to get that hang of. That said, there are a few niggling flaws I found when surrounded by innumerable grunts armed with pointy-things. The stance system used in the game is a fantastic idea, enabling the same button combinations to be used multiple times, each time generating a different attack, useful against different types of enemies, and allows you, with a bit of practice, to easily exploit your enemies weaknesses. Your foes are also capable of using different strengths of attacks, but each type of these attacks (strong, weak, and ranged) can only be blocked in certain stances, which sounds fine, but when you\'ve got an enemy on either side of you, one using a weak combo, and one using a strong sweep, knowing that letting either hit you will result in an instant death, and having to start again at the previous checkpoint, makes you long for a one-size-fits-all blocking system. Either that, or train up your fingers for dancing around the controller by mastering Guitar Hero. Up to you.

It\'s small things like that that prevent this game from being an \'A\' level game, but its the little things you probably wouldn\'t notice otherwise that stop it from falling into obscurity. The Aftertouch system implemented by the game allows you not only to pick up and throw tables, chairs, melons, and the corpses of your fallen assailants, but also control them midflight, a la Burnout. Nothing quite as satisfying as throwing a shield into a post at the end of a hallway, then steering its trajectory outwards into the room, and ricocheting off the heads of two more enemies before its momentum falters. Humming "Ride of the Valkyries" optional.

I\'m not sure what I\'ve missed in this review. Knowing my luck, something vitally important, that will condemn me to never receive that damn "Reviewer" medal. Oh well, if at first you don\'t succeed...

(Author's note: Thanks go to Nick for identifying what exactly this review was missing. Nariko's hair is one of the prime examples of what the PS3 is capable of in terms of graphics. No man can see the wind, but when playing Heavenly Sword, you can see what it does. Nariko's flowing blood-red locks are continually picked up, and tossed about by the wind, in beautiful, mesmerising patterns, that can often distract you from the action long enough to get you killed. The things we do for love, I guess. Unfortunately, however, her hair doesn't have any sense of collision detection, especially noticeable when you turn through her hair. Probably written off as a side-effect of the magic of the Heavenly Sword.)

Right, the end of another review. Calm down, it\'s almost over. Heavenly Sword is a fantastic game, though a tad short in terms of playtime. Well presented, and with many excellently implemented gameplay feature, like the ability to pan the camera for a better look at your surroundings (Take that, Kratos!). And now I leave you with a word from the Wolf.

"Pretty please, with sugar on top, play the ****ing game."

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B+ Revolution report card
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