Friday, July 27, 2007

Heavenly Sword (PS3)

I just played the demo several times.
- Flashed to 1.90. 1 GB download.
- Graphics are gorgeous, great sense of scale. I just love the character design.
- Framerates are very smooth
- Animations are really cool, there are lots of them.
- Could use a bit more blood.
- The dragon's lair rope scene still impresses (though these scenes seem very forgiving). Demo is pretty short which consists of the rope scene, a fight on the pillar, cut a rope, watch pillar fall, another quick time battle scene, and one final fight.
- Not quite Goddess of War. It's a bit less button mashy. The combo system is quite a bit deeper with the 3 fightings styles you can switch on the fly. Some combos require you to switch styles in the middle of your string of attacks.
- Aerial combos are nuts. They look awesome but I'm having trouble triggering them consistently. Looking at the help it seems they all start with L1 + triangle (range stance) with shaking. You have to hit a staggered enemy then move the six axis controller upward. It seems once the air animation starts you must immediately begin the rest of the combo. I can't quite get the timing down exactly. The timing doesn't seem very precise or repeatable and throwing in a six axis movement in there doesn't help. I can usually start the chain animation but I can't get them up into the air except maybe 1 out of every 5 tries. Why do the best and coolest looking combos have to require six axis movement as part of the combo?????

I hope it's just my lack of skill and understanding of the aerial combo system.

I love this game from what little I've played.
System seller!!!! (or it would be if I didn't already buy the ps3 back at launch).
Finally a ps3 game I'm excited about!

UPDATE: 7/27/07
- OK I went into the options and sure enough you can turn off motion controls for everything. After that the help screen substitutes X for where you would normally shake for aerial combos.
- Aerial combos are MUCH MUCH easier now. Basically stun an enemy, use L1 + triangle to get an enemy in the air, immediately hit X and that should start the aerial sequence, then go into your combo (easiest one to start with is square, square, square). I just pulled off 4 of these in a single demo play.
- Heavenly sword just got even more impressive for me. The learning curve is a bit steep but man once you start to get a feel for it, it's a blast. You actually feel like you accomplished something (and feel seriously bad ass) when you pull off one of these combos unlike in god of war where it practically does it by itself.
- Oh yeah the music is pretty awesome too!
- The detail on Nariko is really impressive especially in the opening scene. I feel like I need to apply some neosporin on the cut on her leg before it gets infected.

UPDATE: 9/14/07
- I just picked up the full game today. Finished the first chapter.
- Incredible graphics. They are some of the best I've seen.
- Framerate is fine. It's not a blazing 60fps but it's fast enough and pretty steady no matter how much is going on screen at once (and believe me they can draw a serious amount of enemies at once on screen).
- I love the art direction especially the character designs
- First chapter does a pretty good job at introducing all the different game play types and fighting techniques.
- There hasn't been a whole lot of exploration. Pretty much you are just running from one arena style battle to the next. Not that I mind because I really enjoy the combat.
- Turn off ALL motion controls. They really do suck. Even aftertouch works much better using the analog stick.

So far I'm loving this game. Finally a game worth buying on PS3!!!

UPDATE: 9/19/07
- 8 hrs at most (and that's mostly because I had a bit of trouble with the last boss). There hasn't been a game this short since Max Payne 2.
- Incredible production values: art, animation (especially the face, really conveys emotion well), character design, voice acting, writing, story, music, and sound are all just top notch.
- Great pacing, no filler or back tracking.
- Some lame timed door puzzles.
- Not a whole lot of exploration.
- Combat is great and deeper than God of War. I like the combo/stance system more than gow (air combos never get old!). Counter system works well too. Countering projectiles is very similar to God of War 2.
- Camera is more fixed than most adventure games. You only have very limited control of the camera but that's ok. The placement is usually just fine and was never really a problem.
- Kai missions were a nice change of pace.
- Nice long epic final boss battle; pretty good ending.
- Very impressive in engine cut scenes with an occasional frame rate stutter.

In a lot of ways I enjoyed this more than the God of War series. The only problem is it is over too soon!
If you own a PS3 you NEED this game!

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