Heavenly Sword Preview (PS3)

The demo weighed in at 996MB and I watched as every byte crawl its way from Sonyís Playstation network down to my PS3. This was a game Iíd been looking forward to. I was one of the thousands who gawped in wonder at last yearís E3 at the gameplay trailer on show and couldnít wait to get my hands on it and try it out for myself. Over a year later and my wait is finally at an end.

Not a lady to be messed with!
Letís get ready rummmmbbblllleeee!

Having played most of the launch titles and the immediate release list looking barren, I was hoping for a demo that would give my PS3 some life whilst I wait for the deluge of ĎFallí Ė thatís autumn in English Ė releases to turn up in my post box. How disappointed I was.

The opening cut scene is beautifully shot with colours and pastel-shades glistening in all their high definition glory. A press of an X-button later and Iím leaping from guy rope to guy rope performing somersaults and all manner of acrobatic feats before a quick tap of the square-button saw Nariko Ė our heroine Ė scissor kick the closest enemy in the face before landing in style with all the poise of a Nureyev.

QTEís such as these seem to split the gaming public. Some believe that they are simply a gimmick as no skill whatsoever is required to complete them successfully and feel tacked on. The other camp Ė of which I am a fully fledged member - enjoy them and see them as a way of taking part in a grander event, rather than just placing your controller on your lap watching from afar, pressing the odd button here and there makes you feel in there. Heavenly Sword takes these to a new level also, if you miss the final button press, you could land in a heap on the floor surrounded by blood thirsty enemies instead of the aforementioned scissor kicking a centurion into the hoard and thus creating some space for yourself as you land gracefully. Nice touch I thought.

Amazing scenery!
You get to do this in the demo

I now found myself poised on a narrow precipice surrounded by at least 10 enemies. With a multitude of combos at my disposal I got stuck in. It is here that the game really begins to feel like God of War. Not that thatís bad thing in itself but it doesnít seem to have added anything new to the combat. One could argue that the array of moves Nariko can pull off and the amount of baddies on the screen at once is a step up from the last generation, but I would call it a step sideways. This sentiment was cemented by the fact that I dispensed of everyone on the cliff on the first time of asking in under 3 minutes by tapping triangle and circle at the same time.

Another cut scene ensued and before I know it Iím surrounded again. This time Iím in a marketplace and barrels and stalls smash into pieces as the enemies fly from my spinning sword attacks and deadly counter moves. Another 3 minutes later, Nariko surrounded by slain bodies barely has time to think as three more armed-to-the-teeth guards burst through an otherwise locked wooden gate. I hold down R1 to ready my power stance, grip the controller tighter and..... it ends. Thatís it.

So after a couple of play-throughs I managed to play through the whole demo in less than 5 minutes. I went into the options menu to add the six-axis camera tilt but that just seemed like another wasted use of motion control.

However, there are a myriad of moves to be learned and a demo as easy as this one is a good way of honing your skills for the final game. You can press start at any point in the game and pull up a list of all available combos, and the list seems endless. Hopefully when Heavenly Sword ships weíll have found out that the demo was on Easy setting so we are forced into learning these combos and putting them to good use as pressing two buttons repeatedly throughout the full campaign is not a prospect I relish.

Gives a new meaning to ĎIíll take you all on!í

So after waiting so long Ninja Theory wave the chocolate cake under this starving manís nose and pull it away again before I could get a proper mouthful. The morsel that I did taste however was delicious, although nothing about it set it apart from the other cakes out there. Anyway, before I get too hungry Iíll say this: The Heavenly Sword demo is a woefully short and an all too familiar single player experience. If Kratos could actually die heíd be turning in his grave. All that being said and done, I did have a ton of fun, which is what playing games is all about, isnít it?

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