Heavenly Sword – a guest post by Yetichan

Heavenly Sword is an awesome game. It has been likened to God of War, which I love, has pretty amazing cutscenes and voice acting for a PS3 launch title, including a kick-ass flame-haired female protagonist Nariko, and a fabulously quirky arrow packing sidekick Kai. The game is completable in 6-8 hours, so not too big an imposte on my time.

Yet somehow it took me four and a half years to finish.

There are several reasons for this, the main one being the fact that I’m a terrible rage quitter. I love a good challenge in a game, and this game provides a good variety of them.  Nariko has a variety of attacks to use, ranged and melee, light and heavy, and counter-attacks you can use when an enemy reveals which attack they are about to use on you with a flash of colour.  Problem number one for me – I have pretty uncoordinated fingers (I struggle with even the easiest of Guitar Hero songs), so I tend to be a button-masher, which can only get you so far in the game.  Boss fights can be pretty unforgiving too – my first significant rage quit was at the first Flying Fox fight, when, after failing the quick-time event finishing moves, and subsequently losing the fight, you get booted to the beginning of the act and have to kill a horde of goons all over again.

His wings are swords. Swords!

Between having to relearn the controls every time I picked up the game and progressing a little before rage quitting once again, I managed to draw my time spent on this game out over four years, placing it on the very peak of my substantial ‘pile of shame’, along with several other decent games which I for some reason or other couldn’t play through to the end.

So why did I decide to finally dust off this title and finish it off?  {Ed. besides me telling you to every other month?} Part of the reason was our PS3 meltdown at the beginning of the year.  After our old faithful 40GB model decided to finally fry its circuits, the prognosis for retrieving five years’ worth of game saves was not looking good.  I had a quiet rejoice – I felt that by losing my saves, my ‘pile of shame’ had been wiped clean.  This feeling was short lived however, when my very clever brother (husband of the awesome Tehkella) managed to resurrect the beast for long enough to reunite me with my shame.  Following this episode, I decided I’d better finish Heavenly Sword before losing my save data again.

Nariko has a very big sword, and she knows how to use it (incidentally, she is voiced by Anna Torv, of Fringe fame! And while we’re on the subject of voice acting, Andy Serkis – aka Gollum – voices King Bohan!)

As per usual, the instinct to ragequit reared it’s ugly head again.  This time however, I decided to make an effort to learn a few tactics – learning how to properly counter attack helped a great deal.  So did learning when to roll away from an unblockable attack.  As a result I made it through chapters four and five over the space of a few days, reacquainting myself with the story, and how well made the cutscenes and character acting seemed even today.  Then suddenly, I was at the final boss fight!

Thankfully, the final boss fight is forgiving in that it is broken into three parts, and also allows you not only to save, but replenishes your energy at each cut scene.  It also looks completely amazing, and a suitably epic conclusion to the story.  I inevitably died a number of times, sometimes within seconds, other times within one sword stroke of winning.  For once, instead of inducing a desire to ragequit, it only strengthened my determination to win.

Having amazing glowy goddess powers certainly helped in those final moments…

And win I did, bringing a euphoria close to the feeling of completing an exam.  After enjoying the chance to sit back and enjoy the final cut scenes, the game offered me the chance to play ‘Hell Mode’.  Thank you, but I’ll politely decline for now.  Meanwhile, I think it’s high time I dusted off Arkham Asylum…

5 Comments on "Heavenly Sword – a guest post by Yetichan"

  1. Love your review, Yetichan – it was great to read and reminisce over this awesome game. I got Heavenly Sword as my first PS3 game from your brother for my birthday one year and I couldn’t believe how lifelike it was (from amazing motion-cap and CGI work I found out later after watching the special features). So, tell me – how many glyphs did you collect? Did you unlock all the extra content? I tried but gave up in the end!

  2. I can’t remember my glyph count off the top of my head… I just remember it was more than half. I’m glad you picked out a final battle shot of Nariko all glowy. Looked so cool when hundreds of soldiers were knocked away by your every move! Oh and did you know Nariko was modeled on a porn star?

  3. I just finished watching the game play for this sword via youtube (I do this because I don’t own a console but want to keep up to date with games I like). Nariko is definitely awesome, and you’re right – the voice acting is BEYOND impressive. They really work hard to make it super believable.

    Also, I’m a huge rage quitter (though, less rage-esque and more frustration) because I too have crappy hand-eye coordination. Button mashing doesn’t work for any kind except fighting games – and barely at that.

    But Nariko is my favorite female video game character – I love her sword and her fighting sequences and her voice. All of it is pretty amazing.

    • I like that you keep up to date with games that way even though you can’t play them yourself! What other games do you like?

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