Heavenly Sword is one of the PS3's shining lights
Heavenly Sword is one of the PS3's shining lights

Heavenly Sword is one of the PS3's shining lights

Undoubtedly the most impressive PS3 game on the show floor is Heavenly Sword. First shown in playable form at Sony's press conference on Monday, Heavenly Sword is all about kicking serious ass with style.

As Nariko, (think Kratos from God of War, but with breasts), you have to fight your way through a series of enemies in an arena-like setting, using a number of weak, medium and powerful attacks, all of which are beautifully integrated into one of the best combo systems that I've seen. The attacks are incredibly fluid, and ultra brutal.

By holding R1, Nariko unleashes a series of powerful attacks that see her flipping and flying across the arena with ease. L1 on the other hand is used for the less powerful, but much more visually appealing, long-range attacks, where Nariko whips around her God of War-like chains, knocking out any enemies in her path.

Though I fared well against the onslaught of attackers, after about the third wave I was being knocked back and forth and decided to give the blocking system a try. The way it works is that Nariko's stance has to correspond with the strength of the attacker. For example, if a weak enemy attacks, all you have to do is switch to your weak long-range stance and voila, you'll live to see another day. Similarly, if you're up against a much more powerful enemy, you'll have to switch to your powerful stance, holding R1 to block the attack. It takes some getting used to, but works extremely well once you've spent some time with it.

Also littered around the arena were objects that Nariko could manipulate, such as barrels, stools, and debris. At any time, by pressing X, you can pick up any number of objects to hurl at your enemies, all of whom carry their own weapons which are dropped once they've been killed, and can be picked up for use at any time. By using Nariko's long-range attack, you can actually use the force of your spins to pick up objects, which are then tossed in all directions for a devastating area attack.

'The killer combos are further complimented by the game's awesome counter system...'

The killer combos are further complimented by the game's awesome counter system where by pressing triangle at just the right moment, Nariko will unleash a counter attack, which, depending on the situation, will result in a number of death dealing blows.

The final portion of the demo has Nariko engage the arena's boss in a spectacular gravity defying attack, where you have to enter in the right button combinations to execute the final blow - rather God of War-like.

Think God of War type action

Think God of War type action

However, the game's biggest surprise lies within its visual flair. I wasn't expecting Heavenly Sword to be as stunning as it is, especially when you consider how the E3 version of Warhawk fares against its initial showing at E3 2005. If you remember last year when Sony first unveiled the title, the game looked like another CGI spectacle, but I'm pleased to report that the game looks exactly the same, and in some cases, a little better even. Nariko's animation is silky smooth and the way in which her hair dances around and the way her clothing realistically shifts based on her movements was a sight to behold. The visuals are extremely high-end with everything sporting an impressive amount of detail.

Unfortunately as soon as the demo began, it was over, and though I would have loved to have spent another hour with the game, I couldn't, I'm extremely impressed with what I've seen so far and it's certainly a game to keep an eye on over the next few months.

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codejunkie's Avatar

codejunkie

sweeeeet hack and slash
Posted 02:50 on 16 May 2006

Game Stats

Release Date: 14/09/2007
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: SCEE
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 3,428 5
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