When the Sony PlayStation 3 made its debut, Heavenly Sword was among the first bunch of games released for it. This classifies the game as a ‘launch title’, which is a game designed to show off some of the best features of the new console in an effort to help it sell. Although this game does sport some amazing graphics and animation, I thought the gameplay tried to be too much like God of War, but missed the mark just enough to take some of the fun out of it.
Story (4 out of 5)
The main story of this game was written by Rhianna Pratchett, who is the daughter of bestselling fantasy author Terry Pratchett. As the story unfolds while you play, it probably would have made a neat novel. This game involves a female warrior who takes up arms against invaders who want to steal a sword from their tribe. This sword was supposedly forged in heaven and grants the wielder various powers, but at a cost. Throughout the game, your character will learn how to harness the power of the sword in order to defeat the invading army.
Gameplay and Controls (3 out of 5)
If you ever played either of the God of War games on the PS2, then you’ll find many similarities with this game. The majority of the action involves combat in a third person perspective, where you have a variety of special moves that you can use to take out the massive number of enemies. Unless you’re fighting a boss, you’ll always be outnumbered in this game. The fighting parts of the game are excellent and provide a lot of button-mashing fun.
Where the game lost me was in some of the mini-game levels where it changes up the gameplay. There are first-person crossbow shooting parts that are sluggish and inaccurate, and there are several parts that make use of the PS3 controller’s motion-sensing capability. Unfortunately, the motion stuff doesn’t work quite as well as the Wii, and it makes for a lot of trial and error. The worst parts of the game are where it expands on the Dragon’s Lair style gameplay used in God of War, where you have to press a certain button at a certain time in the right sequence. I found these parts to be tedious and frustrating to the point that they really took a lot of fun out of the game.
Graphics and Sound (5 out of 5)
Asian architecture and landscaping obviously influenced the graphic design of this game, and it all looks very good. A wide range of colors and textures are used to fill out the levels. The lifelike animation in this game can be attributed to actor Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings. The same kind of motion-capture technology used in the movies was employed for this game, and it really shows. I’d even go so far as to say the graphics in this game are good enough to be movie quality, like a CGI animated film. It really does look great, especially on an HDTV. The main female character in it looks a little like Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider games, but with less clothing. The voice acting is provided by a bunch of British actors and they all do great jobs in bringing the characters to life.
Overall (3 out of 5)
Heavenly Sword is one of those games that you should definitely rent before you buy. I found a used copy at a local GameStop store for just $17.99, so I don’t regret buying it. I played through it all and then quickly posted it for sale on Amazon, because it is only a single player game and doesn’t offer much in the way of replay. If you haven’t played this game yet, I’d suggest waiting for God of War III instead.