Heavenly Sword was more than just a memorable gaming experience for me. It was the game that happened to get me back into gaming after over a year hiatus full of nonstop work. Cartwheelbob, one of my good friends who hadn’t known me for very long at the time, had challenged the fact that I was a gamer. “Oh, no he DIDN’T.” Oh yes… Yes, he did. And for some reason a little explosion went off in my brain, so Cartwheelbob handed me Heavenly Sword to see if I could hack it.
First of all, if you’re like me (or at the very least someone who has functional thumbs), you can start this game and finish it well within a 12-hour period. Heavenly Sword really was the perfect kickstart for my return to gaming, especially since I was challenged and this is a game hellbent on vicious retribution.
You play most of the game as the strikingly beautiful (and fueled by rage) Nariko, occasionally taking the reigns of the character Kai. Heavenly Sword is not merely a hack and slash adventure, as it incorporates different fighting styles (speed, ranged, strong), counters, and various shooting sequences using the sixaxis motion sensor. The graphics were amazing to me when I first played it and the game generally carried a high production value at the time of release. I've even gone so far as to plug in my PS3 to revisit it a couple of times.
Anyways, the Heavenly Sword challenge was accepted, and I played it straight through to the end, taking a couple breaks here and there (especially when it was time to use the sixaxis motion sensor and there was a bit of a learning curve). But ultimately I pressed on through the night and into the morning and arrived triumphantly to the final boss fight: Bohan. Bohan, you motherf*cker, I will always remember your punk ass. I’ll admit, my Gamer’s Rage was truly boiling during that boss fight, but I was super satisfied when I beat that stupid son of a… anyways, you get the point. My eyes were completely bloodshot, I hadn’t taken any breaks to sleep, but I finished the game, tossed down the controller, and Cartwheelbob gave me the nod of approval. And at that moment, baby, I was BACK.
Despite the fact that it’s a good thing the game was short or else I would have passed out long before finishing it, I do wish Heavenly Sword was longer. The game is fairly linear with a lot of cool stuff thrown in, and I feel like a few more hours would have added to the total value of the game. I don't need 100 hours of gameplay to be satisfied, but the fact I could beat the game without having to sleep (or chug a few Monster Energy drinks)... eh. But I can’t complain. I was highly entertained (and exhausted) by it, and it brought the fire back.
So if you’re in need of a hack-and-slash with a story that evolves in real-time, some dangerously sexy cut scenes, plus several evil boss fights (mostly Bohan. Jerk.), and you don’t mind going back a few years in graphics quality, pick up Heavenly Sword. And DON’T stop playing until you’re done… or you won’t get the Cartwheelbob nod of approval.
– Emily Rose Morrison