Heavenly sword not quite divine

“Heavenly Sword,” developed by Ninja Theory for the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) has been one of the most hotly anticipated titles since the launch of the PS3 last year. While the game doesn’t fully live up to its potential, it does have a number of extremely high points that shouldn’t be ignored by a few small drawbacks.

Ninja Theory sets “Heavenly Sword” in a mythological realm which closely resembles ancient Japan, if it were being invaded by the Romans. The main heroin, who the player controls for most of the game, is Nariko. While under siege, Nariko wields the clans divine relic, the Heavenly Sword, which will consume the life of whomever uses it in battle, thus producing Nariko’s fate and setting the tone for the game.

By Kevin McGinnis,
Contributor

“Heavenly Sword,” developed by Ninja Theory for the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) has been one of the most hotly anticipated titles since the launch of the PS3 last year. While the game doesn’t fully live up to its potential, it does have a number of extremely high points that shouldn’t be ignored by a few small drawbacks.

Ninja Theory sets “Heavenly Sword” in a mythological realm which closely resembles ancient Japan, if it were being invaded by the Romans. The main heroin, who the player controls for most of the game, is Nariko. While under siege, Nariko wields the clans divine relic, the Heavenly Sword, which will consume the life of whomever uses it in battle, thus producing Nariko’s fate and setting the tone for the game.

The biggest downside to the game is it’s length; a well-versed gamer can complete the entire quest in six hours, which is pathetic for a game which costs $60. The other side of that, however, is that every minute of those six hours is non-stop, jaw-dropping, action-packed fun.

When wielding the sword, Nariko is able to use three different fighting styles: ranged, power and speed, all of which can be controlled by holding a different button. Unfortunately, the game emphasizes mashing the buttons over strategy and the different fighting styles become more for fun than advantage.

Graphically, I have never seen a game as beautiful as this. With dynamic lighting, massive architecture and the most detailed and animated character models, “Heavenly Sword” impresses at every turn. Also adding to the dramatic flair is top-notch voice acting, including Andy Serkis, who voiced Gollum in the “Lord Of the Rings” films.

An excellent rental, but a purchase cannot be justified. Hopefully the sequel will act on some of this title’s shortcomings.