Heavenly Sword: Hands On
“It’s just God of War with a chick” is something we've all read about from many people who irrationally jump to generalizations about games they haven’t played.
Ninja Theory, the developers of Kung Fu Chaos, truly wows audiences with their second creation, Heavenly Sword. In a time when many developers are creating sequels to their established franchises, Ninja Theory is doing something daring and new. Heavenly Sword is a story of revenge and redemption centering on our heroine Nariko. She was born into a clan who had been guarding the Heavenly Sword for generations and expecting a god to be born to reclaim the sword, but instead got Nariko. Due to this, the idea of her being an omen severly fractures the clan, and makes it the perfect time to strike for King Bohan. As the King persecutes them, Nariko is the only scapegoat for the whole ideal. In a moment of desperation she decides to take charge and use the Heavenly Sword to destroy King Bohan and his army, but ends up dying all to start off the main storyline. Different from the common misconception that the game is a female insinuation of God of War, Nariko is not wreaking havoc on Gods. Moreover, she’s not taking any alliances and trying to conquer Greece.
Anyone who assumes this is just another God of War type game is either seriously befuddled in their reasoning and logic, or just hasn’t given this game a proper view or play to begin with. Assuredly, as they read on, they will see this is one hell of a sword.
If you’re expecting a simple button mashing game, you're mistaken. One of the game’s primary methods in making sure the player really has one hell of a time fighting enemies is by a three stance system, which should add some variety to the repetitive hack-and-slash genre. The three stances are Strength, Speed and Range. The speed stance is the default stance throughout the game, and is also the most complex. The strength stance takes advantage of a more powerful weapon to deliver heavy hits at the expense of speed---but it really teaches them a lesson. The ranged stance allows you to hit enemies from a distance and will knock them back to keep them a few feet away, but is the weakest stance in terms of raw power and speed. The best part of the game is the enemy AI.<
Truly unique in their own respect, the enemies will recognize your strategies and adapt to it, forcing you to come up with something new to defeat them. Lastly, an important move to note is the 'counter-attack' and 'cross fusion'. With the former, when timed right, a very amazing animation will begin showing our very sexy Nariko bash someone’s head in, or break their legs. In displaying a cross fusion, quite possibly the most intricate fighting system to date, you can mix stances in between moves. So, even if you’re coming at an enemy with a blow to the groin, you can implement speed to grind the sword around that area. In addition to this one badass lady massacre, is the interconnection with the environment, especially the enemies’ bodies. If you’re pissed enough, you can pick up enemy corpses or bodies and fling them into other opponents.
The details through the entire game are all supplemented by an impeccable and breathtaking performance by the cast, which makes Heavenly Sword the first game in history to use full motion capturing. Andy Serkis does an amazing job as the Dramatic Producer, and Anna Torv as Nariko gives a likewise stunning performance. Giving the perfect performance as a kinky, giddy little girl who loves to explore and be slightly crazy, Lydia Baksh also does an excellent job to make the Kai sequences come to fruition. The environments themselves, specifically a beautifully constructed level with waterfalls so devoid of graphical anomalies, all of them with destructible objects and surroundings, really allow the player to focus in on the story and battle system realistically and immersively. The excellence in programming coupled with SPUs and a total of 2,745 animations for the enemy AI alone is enough to get players to use more than just one stance throughout the entire game, and really experience ... (continued on next page)
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