previews\ May 16, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Heavenly Sword - PS3 - Preview 2

Last E3, when the new crop of consoles was all the rage, one game seemed to dazzle GameZone’s writers more than the rest. That game was Heavenly Sword, Sony’s intense action game that revolves around a story of revenge and redemption. We voted it the game of the show, only to find any new post-E3 information to be sparse to say the least. Now Sony has finally showcased a new playable demo at their recent Gamer’s Day event held at their San Diego studios. While it was still only a terribly short tease of the game, it did divulge some new gameplay elements that weren’t present in last year’s E3 demo.

According to Ninja Theory, the game’s developer, Heavenly Sword is on track to take advantage of the PS3’s unique Cell processor like never before, allowing hundreds of AI enemies to act completely independently of each other and perform very sophisticated actions. This is important, considering that combat is truly at the heart of the game. You’ll be able to attack your enemies with all kinds of attacks, and even use environmental objects (like your fallen enemies’ corpses) to attack.

The moves are very fluid and well animated, done under the direction of Andy Serkis, the actor who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films and King Kong. You can perform a ton of different moves, each one denoted to a certain battle stance. There is the normal stance, the speed stance (which allows you to use chains and attack and counter quickly), and the power stance, where you attack with your sword making slow, broad swings capable of a lot of damage. Switching between your attacks is done very easily, simply by holding down the R1 or L1 button and pressing the attack buttons. You can even switch them mid-combo

Fighting well will also net you stars. The better you fight the more stars you’ll gain. Stars will enable you to perform superstar attacks, which dispatch tons of foes quickly.

Since the E3 demo, Heavenly Sword has been in the position of drawing many comparisons to another well-received Sony franchise, God of War (in fact, many refer to the game as “Goddess of War”). The game’s real-time button press sequences probably won’t do much to shuck that stigma. The game has real-time cutscenes similar to God of War, where you must hit the right button that pops up on the screen at the right time in order to proceed. However, these sequences are well done and never feel out of shape.

While I would’ve loved to see a little bit more of Heavenly Sword, I’d have to say that the short bit that I did play was pretty impressive. Undoubtedly, many gamers are really excited about this one, and rightfully so.

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