Heavenly Sword follows the story of our heroine, a young woman called Nariko. Nariko was born into a clan who had been guarding the Heavenly Sword for generations. Legends told of how a son of the tribe would be born to reclaim the sword and lead the land to greatness once more. But, when the time long fortold arrived, the child that was born was female: Nariko. By breaking the legend, she is seen as a curse on the clan and so, when King Bohan invades, plundering the land and its people, she is the one that many hold to blame.
Finally, in a moment of desperation, she decides to take charge and use the Heavenly Sword to destroy King Bohan and his army. But, as the Heavenly Sword was meant only for a god, any mortal that wields it dies within days as the sword devours their strength.
Our game begins with Nariko dying on the battlefield holding the Heavenly Sword. At her moment of death, she gets a chance to relive the days leading up to her demise. You get to play these moments in a bid to reach a higher understanding of your life.
Heavenly Sword is presented as a series of chapters in the life of Nariko, each of which is set in a large level. The story drives the gameplay and so whilst progression is relatively linear, the gameplay isn’t. There are multiple ways to defeat each encounter as we have the most diverse combat engine to be found in an adventure game - not to mention the use of props and enemy weapons. So, it's up to the player to decide how they wish to fight.
The game has been designed to look and feel like - and match the pace of - an action movie. That means you're free to traverse the environments using a combination of combat, cinematics, props and action-sequences but the game is fundamentally narrative-driven. The events in the story are what really drive your mission and progress.
In play, your main weapon is the Heavenly Sword itself. It comes in three stances which you can switch between on the fly to create your own combos and fighting style.
Speed Stance has the sword split into two blades. It’s fast, technical and has a lot of depth to it. It's good in one-on-one fights against skillful opponents but deeper combos hold the key to unlocking defenses and delivering massive damage.
Power Stance has the sword blades join to form one huge powerful sword. It's slow and powerful and great against tougher enemies or to break enemy defences.
Range Stance has the sword's blades extend from its handles with chains. It's the weakest of the three stances but it covers a large and wide area. It's great for taking out lots of enemies or knocking them into the air for follow-on aerial combos. It can also be used to sweep debris at enemies.
Phew, that’s a hefty set-up for the game - I’m glad that’s done and out of the way! It means that now, over the next few weeks, we’ll be able to fill in more and more detail and gossip about the game - including information on Kai, Nariko’s adopted sister, who plays a very important role in the story!
Resistance: FoM | F1 Champ. Ed. | Motorstorm | Ninja Gaiden Sigma Zelda: Twilight Princes | Rayman Raving Rabidds | Super Monkey Ball: BB | Mario Striker Charged | RE 4 Wii Ed.
Having a PS3 these days is like wearing a big fat "I told ya so" T-shirt