Sunday, November 11, 2007

Heavenly Sword

Heavenly Sword was a very much anticipated game for the PS3. Lovely lead female character, some great enemies, large environments... but how playable is it?

HS treats you to some lovely cut scenes. The character models are very well done. But there is some screen tearing in the first chapter. It seems to get better later on in the following chapters. The animation during some of the special moves is great, but repetitive.

The graphics lag sometimes as well. In my opinion we are at the start of the current gen's capabilities, and I expect Ninja Theory will improve a lot in their next game.

Some beautiful music during the game. The sound is what you would expect from a great title. Lots of bashing, yelling screaming, noises of explosions all very well done - but the best is the introduction music.

The gameplay is quite simple. My wife liked the motion control. In fact - this is the only part of the game that she would play. The oldest daughter, loves hack 'em and slash 'em games. So she enjoyed this a lot. But for my wife - all she wanted to do is play Kai with the arrows and the motion controls.

What I did not like is the combos. The combos made the game too linear. For example - some of the scenes you just follow a number of on screen hints. No gameplay - just how fast you can respond to some on screen hints. Spiderman 3 does the same thing - and it irritates the hell out of me.

All in all the game played OK, but the replay value was limited. Some of the boss games was just stupid. You make three hits, on the fourth one you will get hit, so you leave the boss alone to hit and miss you, and you repeat the same sequence. This was for me the one part that irritated me the most of the game. The skill level seemed to come down at how well you can count how many times you hit before moving away and repeat the sequence.

The story was what you expect of some mythical story about a sword that the bad guy really wanted. You play this beautiful girl, fighting thousands of baddies, whose power increases, and then the sword moves become more powerful as the game progresses.

But Kai - the little girl sidekick was just beautiful. Of the whole game she was the character that really got under your skin. Not the bad ass sex bomb heroine - the small girl who eats worms and shoot arrows. Just a cute face, clearly wacky girl, but one that you just want to see running around laughing and playing.

The story becomes weirder and weirder - the bosses become more strange as the game goes on.

Overall Impressions
I liked the game at times. But it is not a game that I will play over and over again. The end level bosses was not that good in terms of enjoying the fight. For great animation and great graphics with a great music score the effort that went into the game is obvious. The cut scenes, the atmosphere and style is evident. But the gameplay really let the game down for me in many places. Being forced to watch the cut scene before playing every time you restart was a bit annoying. But the cut scenes was great to watch.

How much did my kids play this?
This section I add in to let you know in "real life" how enjoyable this game was. My kids loved the game at the start - but guess what - after a few days with it, they went back to playing Lego Star Wars (PS2), Ratchet & Clank (PS2) and Simcity (PC). So for replay value - Lego Star Wars and R&C for PS2 beats this one out. By miles.

My overall impression:
This Gen Score 5/10
Previous Gen Score 7.5/10

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