3.26086956521739 5 5 0

Ninja Theory emphasize the fast and deep combat systems, alongside the Hollywood level presentation.

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Interesting combat system.

4 agree

Very cinematic.

4 agree

Impressive graphics and art style.

4 agree

One of the few games that makes arguable good use of the SIXASIS controls

2 agree

Very expressive and superbly executed voice acting and motion capture

1 agrees
  • Only 3 words are allowed.

Short length (~6 hours)

3 agree

Gameplay can get a little repetitive.

3 agree

Very few non-combat challenges (like puzzles) to break up the action

1 agrees

No jumping mechanic

1 agrees
  • Only 3 words are allowed.


Heavenly Sword is an epic action game in the same style as God of War that sees Nariko taking on hoards of enemies as she seeks revenge against a tyrannical king. Ninja Theory emphasize the fast and deep combat systems, alongside the Hollywood level presentation. Weta Digital, the same effects company that did King Kong and Lord of the Rings moveis, handled the motion capture and performance of the digital actors. Andy Serkis who acted as Gollum in the LoTR movies is responsible for creative directing and also performs as the King.


Heavenly Sword features a mix of traditional melee hack and slash combat, interactive cutscenes, and some ranged combat. Nariko will move from one area to the next sometimes through an interactive cut scene and find herself in an arena battling enemies that number from just a few to a few hundred. After all the enemies are defeated the next area is opened up.

Combat in Heavenly Sword is motivated by recent classics such as God of War and Ninja Gaiden. Compared to those two games the combat falls somewhere in between, requiring more thought and strategy than GOW's mash-friendliess, but not as deep as NG's. There are three different stances that Nariko can assume with the sword: light, balanced, and heavy. The light stance sees the sword transform into two chained weapons that send out fast attacks that deal less damage in a wider area. Balanced mode has Nariko controlling two swords that deal a medium amount of damage, with medium range. Heavy transforms the sword into one big sword that Nariko holds with two hands swinging in slow and powerful arcs. The default stance is the balanced form, with the light stance activated by holding the left shoulder button, and the heavy stance activated by holding the right shoulder button.

Each stance has its own set of combos and combo strings depending on the sequence of button presses. Further combo options are introduced by mixing between stances mid-combo. Unique among combat games, Heavenly Sword features no block button. Instead Nariko blocks automatically if no attack buttons are pressed. You can only block while in balanced or heavy stances. Right before an enemy attacks they will emit a trail of light which indicates what kind of attack they're going to perform, and thus what stance you need to be in for a successful block.

Another integral part of the combat system are counters. Right when the enemy's attack is about to land Nariko can initiate a counter which will deal major damage. Similar to blocking, the color of the enemy will determine which stance is required for a successful counter. While no jump button is found air combos are initiated by jerking the SIXAXIS after an enemy has been launched into the air.


Both interactive and non-interactive cutscenes are used to relate the story, with little to no dialog being spoken during the action and combat sequences. The title of the game follows the main weapon that Nariko uses to seek revenge. The game starts with Nariko's death as she enters a kind of pergatory to come back and kill the people that destroyed her tribe. She weilds the Heavenly Sword a magical blade that kills whoever uses it. The evil king of the land wants the sword for himself which is why he attacks Nariko's tribe.

Reviews have been generally positive so far; Heavenly Sword currently has an 85.3% rating on Game Rankings.

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09/05/2007 09:29

I agree, the I liked the demo, so I will get this game. Other people I've seen liked the demo to and others didn't like it, so I guess it kind of comes down to your tastes. The reviews seem to reflect that e.g. Edge gave it a 6, but Gamepro gave it 4.5 out of 5; IGN gave it 7, but EGM/1up gave it 8, 8, and 9. Still though, I will be interested in a sequel to this, so hopefully the first sales good. Some people were joking about a Kratos and Nariko crossover thing lol.

09/05/2007 08:01

When it comes to games like this I don't really trust reviews that much to be totally honest. A deep combo system can make a game last for AGES when coupled with a super hard difficulty level. See: Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry. Some people find the combo system in HS to be pretty shallow, where others think it has a lot of depth. I think the depth is there, so I'm excited to see what happens when it gets into the super hardcore players.

09/05/2007 07:22

Yeah, when I play the game I'll find out as well, but for right now I am going to trust the developer over IGN and Edge. But yeah I agree, online gaming and/or replay value can help a shorter game. It also has a Hell Difficulty Mode so hopefully that will help it if it is to short, the PS3 NEEDS this game to be good. Otherwise it will only have Warhawk until Ratchet and Folklore come out next month.

09/04/2007 07:01

Ya I was. IGN and a few other places like Edge. I guess I missed 1up's timing. To be totally honest I don't care TOO much about how long a game is as long as the replay value is high, etc. Which really won't be determined until the game comes out. I'll change my vote accordingly when more info comes out :)

09/04/2007 06:55

Are you going off what IGN said about Six hours? 1up and Ninja Theory said it was 10-15 hours.

09/02/2007 04:09

I hope this game is good, it was one of the main reasons I bought a PlayStation 3, although the other reasons were Lair (That turned out great, not) Devil May Cry 4 (Multiplatform), FFXIII, and MGS4. As well as Blu-Ray of course. Hopefully I can finish Metroid before this comes out.

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