Heavenly Sword review

It’s another much-hyped game, this time for the PS3. It’s Heavenly Sword. This one’s pretty much hailed as the truly big title for the PS3 since its launch and there’s no doubt it looks pretty, but does it play well? Please listen for the next two minutes so I can tell you.

So, brief backstory first. You play a red-haired lady called Nariko who is given the Heavenly Sword to protect. Use it, however, and you’re cursed. My parents used to tell me that about about stealing biscuits but that’s another story. Unfortunately, a camp bad guy played by Andy Serkis and reminiscent of the Sherrif of Nottingham in the Robin Hood movie kidnaps your Dad, and you use the sword to kick some ass and rescue Daddy.

What follows is basically a lot of arena battles with a bit of running around in between as you mash buttons to defeat hordes of enemies. To begin with, you can just hammer square and triangle to kill enemies and hit circle to occasionally flip someone in the air and kick’em in the balls, but soon you have to string together combos using light, medium and heavy attacks, and use these stances to block enemies’ attacks too. Trouble is, after a while the combat feels very samey but thankfully, it’s the story and fantastic presentation that carries this one through to the end.

With Andy Serkis playing a big role in making the characters believeable, even the facial features of the main characters have been motion captured, bringing an almost cinematic feel to the whole game. For some reason the Japanese-styled warriors have English or even worse, London accents which doesn’t sit well. I mean, can you imagine Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films going, alright My Precious, how ya doing treacle? No, me neither.

Also, something I didn’t know was in the game are some strange shooting gallery parts right near the beginning. In one of them you indulge in a bit of crossbow skulduggery as you pick people off who are invading the base, then you fire cannon balls to stop an invading army. A nice addition is the ability to use the Sixaxis to add aftertouch to your shots to steer them on target.

As a fighting game this works, although it can get very repetitive and samey after a while, and it draws very close comparisons with God of War, even down to the ‘press the button at the right time to avoid dying’ cut-scenes within fight sequences and boss battles.

To be honest, I’m also playing through God of War 2 at the moment and I’m preferring that to Heavenly Sword, but if you want a game that really showcases what the PS3 can do, get this and show it off to your mates. It’s also a pity they spent so long on Nariko’s face but her polygonal hair really lets the side down.

Heavenly Sword gets a respectable 7 out of 10.

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