Heavenly Sword - PS3 - Preview
I had seen a trailer for Heavenly Sword awhile back, and while I didn’t dismiss it as just another action game, I also didn’t get overly excited about it. It looked very cool, but I didn’t think all the fancy choreography the main character was doing could be pulled off in-game. I was wrong.
The game follows Nariko, a woman out for revenge against the King. Her only chance of surviving an invasion by the king is to grab the Heavenly Sword, a sword that drains the life force of any mortal that attempts to wield it. Now, as Nariko’s death quickly approaches, she uses the power of the Heavenly Blade to have her revenge on the King.
In the demo I played, Nariko was trapped in a pit surrounded by warriors. As they all laugh and heckle, a few warriors jumped down. Combat took a little getting used to because of its depth, but within a couple minutes I was tossing my enemies around like playthings.
The unique combat allows for some crazy combos. Attacking normally you can switch between a light and heavy attack, and Nariko will slash while dancing around the enemy with a blade in each hand. But as soon as you hold down L1, the blades fly out and she’s now swinging them around on chains. These attacks turn into wide ranged attacks, and if an enemy gets in close you can let go of L1 to quickly bring the blades back to your hand and go right back into your close combat stance. Holding R1 will prompt Nariko to combine the two blades into one sword that she swings slightly slower but with a lot more power. So through these three stances you’re already kicking ass with style, since all the animations and combos change with each stance. Stance changes and combos are incredibly fluid, and the animations are very impressive.
As if that weren’t cool enough, Heavenly Sword uses a sort of auto-block setup. So if you aren’t attacking, Nariko will automatically block opponent’s attacks. Pressing the light attack button right after the attack will launch into a counter attack, which only get more impressive the more you fight. They’ll start at a simple dodge and hit, but later they turn into things like Nariko hooking the enemy on her blade and swinging them around, jumping all over the place, breaking bones, etc.
As I dispatched the last of the enemies, their leader jumped into the pit with me. I should mention that at this point the entire arena is in shambles. At the beginning of the fight there were tables and chairs all over. Now they are casualties of battle, and the pieces are still affected by combat. Stepping over debris causes it to be kicked around – same with dead enemies.
I start my fight with their leader by snatching up a sword on the ground and throwing it. If you hold the throw button when throwing a sword, shield, or whatever, it moves in slow motion and you can actually guide it into your target. After we scuffle for a bit, the game lets me know that now would be a good time to try using a grab move on him (wink, wink). Doing that launches a choreographed battle with timed button presses, much like some of God of War’s boss fights. Pressing the buttons correctly resulted in an exchange of hits that took us way above the battleground. The final blow sends my enemy crashing to the ground as Nariko lands gracefully on the outer edge of the pit.
Heavenly Sword has easily been the most impressive game I’ve played here so far. The graphics and gameplay are worthy of being next-gen, and the combat was so exciting that I was never bored. I was a little sad when the demo ended. Make sure to watch for more details on this amazing Playstation 3 title.