Heavenly Sword

Unemployment has turned me into a crazed console gamer. Usually, I'm the guy for whom walkthroughs are written, but I've finished two PS3 games in the last two weeks, without major internet assistance. This is some kind of record for me, as I'm the guy who played Dead Rising for three hours one night without making any kind of headway on the plot because I just really enjoyed hitting zombies with guitars. I'm just saying that more weapons, in both games and real life, should play power chords when you use them...

The first I tackled was Heavenly Sword, because the main character, Nariko, is seriously hot on the cover. Flaming red hair, a barely there costume that defies gravity to cover her, and a huge, ass-kicking sword - what's not to like? I figured there would be gratuitous shots of heaving cleavage and girly buttocks made rock hard by a lifetime of martial arts. That expectation may have been enhanced by the several confusing hours I spent playing Bayonetta just prior to starting Heavenly Sword. I was a bit disappointed that Nariko's special attacks don't cause her clothes to fall off like Bayonetta's, but it's a good game anyway.

It turns out that Heavenly Sword is a thinking man's button masher. Sort of like a prettier God of War but with a more nuanced combat system, a better plot, and no bare boobs. Nariko has three distinct stances that she can fight in, and the player must make sure she is in the proper stance to block or counter the attacks of her opponents, based on their stance. At first it's infuriating, but with time you begin to not only block attacks but also counter them and send them back at the attacker - most satisfying. As is required by gaming law, she is also equipped with amazing special moves which charge up based on how many blows in a row she can land. My favorite is the one where she hooks her swords into the opponent as she leaps into the air, then carries him up with her. She then slams him down on his head, and lands with one foot in his crotch. It's cringe-worthy every time it happens.

And happen, it does. Often. This game dishes up combat in huge slabs. To keep it from being monotonous there are some sections where you use missile weapons or play as a secondary character, Kai, who is younger, insane, and quite the archer. In all the missile combat sections you can use "after touch" to guide the missiles once they are on the way. It's rather like riding a Gulf War era "smart bomb" down to the target. It's a pretty unique experience, and a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.

So why am I writing about a game that is 3 years old? (See "unemployed" above.) Because it holds up pretty damn well against the current crop of games. Take, for instance, "Grand Theft Equus" (AKA Red Dead Redemption). I realize that they are fundamentally different types of games, but RDR is just plain fugly, while Heavenly Sword is absolutely gorgeous. Or, you could compare it to Assassin's Creed II. AC2 is very pretty, and the plot is amazing, but the melee combat is slow and clunky compared to Heavenly Sword.

In short, it's Pope Tested, Ministry Approved. The good news is, you can probably pick it up for less than thirty bucks now. Give it a try.

Tomorrow, InFamous.

6 comments:

Sci Fi Heroine said...

I dunno...you like it now, but I remember hours of cussing out the siege episodes and Kai's weird aiming system. I still vote for Bioshock and Arkham Asylum as the Best Games Evar.

His Sinfulness said...

Hours? More like minutes - it just seemed like hours for you guys because my rants are so powerful...

Raksha said...

I think I read somewhere that Portal 2 is coming out soon, so there's always that to look forward to! A silver lining of continued unemployment.

Also, your talking about hoping the fights would make Nariko's clothes fall off reminded me of the Tarot comic. Did I ever send you that link to The Invincible Super Blog's review of the stark, existential horror of Tarot #53? "You have to get out of here! Your vagina is haunted." That's all I'm going to say.


Also, apropos of nothing, I just noticed today that after 2 1/2 years of rarely leaving the house, I am so fucking pale you can see the faint blue of veins under my skin all over. Even on my upper arms, which is usually the most tan (i.e. least pale) part of me. I can't decide if that's cool or icky.

His Sinfulness said...

Damn it, Raksha... I read that review and now I have to scour comic book stores and Ebay until I find that issue. A haunted vagina just HAS to be in my collection. You know, in the interest of completeness...

As for your veins - soon you will be liberated from your Idahoan (Idahovian? Idahoic?) prison and you can get skin cancer like the rest of us. :)

Mandy said...

Have you tried Bioshock 1 and 2? They have some awesome steampunk-esque art, great music, a story line you get to interact with....and if you want- lots of things to smash, hammer, blow-up, and maim. I have fun just watching the games, I don't even have to play them.

His Sinfulness said...

I've played a bit of each, but finished neither. Bioshock II is sitting on the shelf by the PS3 as we speak - perhaps that will be next. :)

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