Heavenly Sword

PS3™
Release date: 14 September 2007
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: SCEE

Overview

Heavenly Sword takes PlayStation 3 to dramatic heights.

Emotionally charged, stunningly beautiful and delivering unprecedented character performances, Heavenly Sword truly showcases the awesome power of PlayStation 3. A dramatic tale of revenge sees Nariko, a fiery red-haired heroine embark on a quest for vengeance against an invading King and his army.

The story builds around the ancient Heavenly Sword which once belonged to a powerful deity. It can never be wielded by a mortal without it draining their life-force, killing them within hours. When the invading King (played by Andy Serkis of Lord of the Rings and King Kong) destroys the warrior clan that guards the Heavenly Sword, the clan leader's daughter, Nariko, takes up the sword in a desperate fight for survival.

Nariko must now pay the ultimate price as she embarks on one last mission of vengeance against the King and his army before her life is finally drawn to a close... Heavenly Sword combines the visceral action and visuals of the best action movies with a ground-breaking, free-style combat system. You can freely switch between multiple sword types and a wide range of weapons on-the-fly.

The latest physics technology has been integrated into the combat, resulting in destruction on an epic scale as you destroy opponents and the environment alike. Battle through lush environments with operatic grace and style taking your fight to the clouds, over water, through tree-tops and more. Enemies employ complex squad-based fight choreography and can attack one-on-one, in groups of several dozen, or even in battalions of thousands, pushing real-time AI to levels unseen before.

  • Three distinct fighting stances – Switch on the fly allowing you to create your own fighting styles
  • Physics-based Combat – Use debris against opponents; kick tables to halt an oncoming surge of fighters; smash the enemy into the scenery or throw bodies into other enemies using aftertouch controls
  • Featuring the acting talents of Andy Serkis, Steven Berkoff and more
  • Wide range of objects and weaponry including multi-skewering spears and devastatingly explosive bazookas.

Preview

Show me heaven

Step into the next generation of gaming and storytelling with Heavenly Sword on PlayStation 3.

Thanks to the power of PlayStation 3, the line between videogames and Hollywood blockbuster movies is getting smaller and smaller. However, it is with Heavenly Sword, the new game from Ninja Theory and Sony Computer Entertainment's Cambridge Studio, that the line is finally crossed with an incredible fusion of action, cinematic presentation and breathtaking performances from a talented cast.

The plot concerns Nariko, a beautiful, red-haired warrior whose clan has long protected the Heavenly Sword, a legendary weapon that slowly drains the user's life force if wielded by a human. The evil King Bohan is obsessed with the Sword, and embarks on a catastophic war against Nariko's people to make it his own. As a final act of defiance against Bohan, Nariko takes the Sword to take revenge on the king and his army before the Sword claims her life.

Let's stance

The majority of the game is played from a third-person perspective with you controlling Nariko. Your weapon of choice is the aforementioned Heavenly Sword, which can be used in one of three different ways depending on the stance you are in. Attacking normally the Heavenly Sword is split into two blades that allows for fast but powerful attacks. Holding down L1 switches the Heavenly Sword to a pair of chained blades that can be used to hit multiple enemies from a distance and holding down R1 switches it to a huge two-handed sword that deals massive damage to anyone foolish enough to get in the way. As the game progresses you unlock new combos and finishing moves that can take out a whole regiment of soldiers with a single blow. Nariko can also pick up items and throw them as well as being able to use rocket launchers and cannons to take out hordes of enemies.

As well as the fast and elegant combat, the game is packed with cinematic cutscenes and action sequences, and occasionally you'll have to take part in short, reflex-based mini-games, similar to ones found in God of War, where the right button presses mean the difference between life and death. These events are a great addition to the game and help keep the energy high and the spectacle to an absolute maximum.

At various points throughout the game you take control of Nariko's ward, Kai, who is armed with a powerful crossbow. By holding down the Square button you can fire an arrow, and then switch to the arrow's point of view and use the SIXAXIS Wireless Controller to control its flight as it heads towards the target. This is enormous fun, as well as being a brilliant use of the Wireless Controller's motion controls and you'll find yourself playing sections over and over again just to relive the experience.

Cast away

The enemies are all well-designed and tricky to dispatch. Each one can also attack in different stances so Nariko must be adopting the same stance if she is to counter an attack, leading to some extremely tactical gameplay in the heat of battle. The boss characters too are uniformly excellent - grotesque, insane and infused with a genuine sense of evil. A lot of this is due to the excellent cast, featuring Stephen Berkoff (Beverly Hills Cop, Octopussy) and Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, King Kong), a great script, written by Terry Pratchett's daughter Rhianna, and the top notch theatrical direction provided by Serkis himself.

It's this level of attention to detail that elevates Heavenly Sword to the status of interactive movie, as well as an extremely enjoyable game experience. The graphics are excellent and the score, created by musician and composer Nitin Sawhney is suitably epic and sweeping, lending a sense of grandeur and history to the story. But it's the compelling story and excellent performances that truly draw you into the game and keep you there until the end to find out what will become of King Bohan, Nariko and the Heavenly Sword. Simply put, Heavenly Sword is a must-have title for PlayStation 3 owners, and one that truly shows off the PS3 system's capabilities as the next level of interactive entertainment.