Developer: Ninja Theory Ltd
N Amer - 09/04/2007
E3 2007 Preview
When Heavenly Sword was shown at E3 in 2006, it was nicknamed “Goddess of War” by some. Anyone who has seen the latest iteration, and demo, of the game should be recanting that statement.
Nariko is the star of this game, and while not absolutely a gorgeous lead character, she is stunning many ways.
The title was on display at the Sony arcade in the Le Merigot Hotel in Santa Monica during the E3 Media & Business Summit. Sitting down and playing the game, albeit in its abbreviated form, was pure pleasure. The fighting mechanics are amazing, with Nariko dodging and capable of coming up out of a roll to deliver a side kick that does devastating damage to her foes. And then there is her sword, which twirls through the air, biting and slashing through enemies with relentless precision.
For those who do not know the storyline …
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 slowly but inevitably draining their life-force.
When the invading King 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 and irreparably overtaken by the omnipotent Heavenly Sword.
The fighting and movement animations dance between amazing and fluid grace, and are incredibly smooth. The framerate, in the demo was constant and the game was just a real pleasure to play. Graphically, the game looks terrific. Characters have personality apart from what is going on around them. As Nariko rides a column of stone into an encampment, you will see soldiers carrying on with life, arm wrestling and generally oblivious to the devastation descending on them … no, not the rocks, but Nariko. There are several moves tied to the game’s control system, including some finishing moves that are lethal and jaw dropping when first viewed.