(Warning - long winded rant draws near, no spoilers though)
I loved Heavenly Sword... like I loved Kill Bill. It was B movie material except with an amazing soundtrack. You'll find plenty of over the top nonsense with outlandish plots and characters. The spectacularly gory martial arts violence was a massive delight for me! The main character, Nariko, is probably the most drop dead gorgeous female video game character to ever walk the virtual earth. Its just not even fair that they can make a perfect female of such stunning beauty and then give her the perfect voice along with her facial animations. (English accents... Mmmmm)
She is beautiful, its just too bad she couldn't have been in a better game
Speaking of facial expressions, this game says much more without words. For once in a game I'm seeing real emotion on ever inch of a characters face, its crazy. GTA IV did this well too but Heavenly Sword takes it to a whole new level. I remember when Valve first did stuff like that with G-Man in Half-Life 2. Heavenly Sword makes G-Man look 8 bit in comparison to facial detail. Better still they have the guy who did Gollum for the LotR movies as the main bad guy. He brings life to the lead villain of the game in such a way that only he could. Well acted, well timed, with funny little one liners mixed in for variety.
The levels have this amazing art to them too with huge sweeping vista's of waterfalls and sunsets that are just spectacular.
Being able to beat three shades of shit out a lot of baddies never gets old for me. As long as there is always a healthy dose of blood and options in attacks. Nariko has more moves and combos than I could count with her three different stances plus the ability to switch mid attack to mix up the array of offense provides for some VERY satisfying results. I made kills with moves I didn't even know existed. It made Kratos look almost gimped by comparison. ALMOST.
I never once had a problem with the controls except for the shit brained idea of having the player waggle the controller when knocked flying in the air so she can pull off another amazing move. Fuck your waggle Sony! Last time I checked, the buttons on controllers still work. Fucking use them. Pretty much gave up on that move, making it a goal not to get knocked silly.
Grace and beauty flying through the air just tearing shit up. This is obviously the best part of the game, and its as impressive as watching Tony Jaa tear through people.
But alas, all of the above is tarnished by the following faults...
... dear God what were they thinking? The sections that will put you up against 50 baddies you can tear through to your delight in an good old fashioned beat down are tons of fun. I want more of that! I wanted more blood, more action. The fighting is so sweet! I wanted to watch Nariko twist and turn all day long while sending spouts of blood and bodies flying in every direction. Thats not what I got. Instead I got to spend 40 minutes firing a cannon at some catapults using the siaxis motion controller... while being timed. Not so cool. In fact, it was fucking awful. And if that wasn't bad enough, their are sections after that which has you playing as a different character with a crossbow and nothing else. Enter the obligatory frustration with the motion controller. I don't want to spend hours fine tuning motion control with flying obstacles. I really don't. If I wanted that, I'd buy a Wii.
And how the hell is she able to make arrows fly like that anyway? Mind control? Is she the Revolver Ocelot meets Psycho Mantis of medieval times with curving arrows?! Fun character but she left me with a feeling of - Huh?
When I am given the most stunning combat action since the first time I played Devil May Cry, the last thing I want to do is play mini-games with motion controls. *sigh* Soooo much potential but Sony just had to show of their motion controller. Good for you guys. Have a cookie you rip off douche bags. The whole game is like that. You'll have one level that is just bad ass and has you singing praises for the game and then it will turn around and slap you in the face the next. The pacing is all wrong.
The puzzles involve... you guessed it, throwing stuff with motion controls. This I didn't mind as much. Puzzles are what puzzles are. Pushing blocks in God of War wasn't really ground breaking material either, but lets face it, the puzzles aren't there to challenge you really. If I want that I'll play Alundra or Lolo's Adventure. The puzzles are there to break up the action, give you a breather... but it fails in this game because there isn't enough action as it is!
Also - Quick Time Events
. FUCKING DIE! Thank you God of War for giving us something great so other companies can try it in every game possible and fail miserably. There is so much intense and very quick action going on in HS that you can't help but watch the action in awe, so when it pops the "press this button" it takes a second to realize, "Oh shit! QTE!" and by then its too late. You seriously need split second reaction for them or you fail. I found the trick to them though, look through the screen. Try it, let everything going on screen blur out and just focus your mind on looking through the one point on the screen. When the button pops on screen you will recognize it immediately. Thats what I had to do in order to pass some of the QTE's. Which sucked balls because I wanted to watch the amazing action! And we're talking Legolas taking down a Elephant type of material. Real grade A in your face cinematic action playing out and I had to instead focus on pressing a fucking button. GARH! Good thing that the QTE's are not random, so you can memorize the buttons that will pop at least.
Why oh why am I STILL being forced to rewatch cutscenes
after failing a level. "I just saw this, lets move on. I need to practice this level. Ahhhh for fucks sake, do I need to hear this shit again?" I thought this is Next Gen. I thought we moved past this.
And let me just get downright mean for a second here while I'm at it. I watched the behind the scenes making of where everyone and their mother drooled over the graphics and motion mapping and it became clear to me... these people don't look like they play a lot of games. They look like a lot of overworked programmers and art designers. These fucking people probably never even played their own game. I mean, it took them 4 years to make a game that I can beat in two sit downs (7 hours total). Not sure if thats because they had no dev kit to work with the PS3 at the time or what but I hope their next game can focus more on the GAMEPLAY content and not the "oooh, did you see that pixel shading? OMG Motion Capture! The colors! Wow! This is amazing! We need more graphical power, where is the PS4?!"
They spent so much time focusing on the wrong things in my opinion. Yes, the game looks beautiful (See the above screen shots) but what does that matter if the game sucks overall? How can you make fighting that spectacular and not have more? I don't get it.
Alright, enough rambling, I think you get the picture. Overall this game is best treated like a popcorn movie. Take in its flaws and try to have fun where you can. Don't worry if it gets frustrating as its not a long game, and your bound to kick some serious ass eventually even if it is against a VERY predictable boss fight. This beautifully flawed game needs more ACTION and less GIMMICKS.