There has been a huge amount of hype, which seems to be justified by the blink and you miss it demo that appeared on the PSN a few months ago. I rented the game, hearing that the length of it was very short and I have to say, it blew me away. The graphics were sick and the combat mechanics were incredibly deep, the problem is you never get a chance to explore all of the mechanics.
Ninja Theory should have looked at the game that many people compared it to – God of War – for a progression lesson. Heavenly Sword continually gives you new combos as you progress through the many, very short, stages. This would be great if there were new enemies that are vulnerable to air combos, or heavy combos, or had any other restrictions, but this game just shoots waves of enemies with really no need to do anything but intelligently button mash. Yes intelligently button mash, because the blocking system requires you to not be attacking to block a move automatically you have to moderate the attacks into a give and take pattern. If they would have made challenges specifically designed to use new combos/abilities they could have stretched the gameplay out and had much more variety. The other stages that feature Nariko on a canon or Kai with her bow are fun as you can guide the arrow/explosive in slow motion with pinpoint control, but in some cases go on far too long.
Oh yeah I said the game blew me away, but have only complained? yes the game is repetitive, yes it has some wasted potential, but damn is it a blast to watch!! This game is what they promised, a summer blockbuster in game form, the animation, graphics, effects, cut scenes, action, acting is all top notch. I have never enjoyed not playing a game so much in my life. While the story is hardly innovative it is superbly played out, acted and visualized on screen, look at this for Jeebus sake:
All the cutscenes look this good and the ingame action is breathtaking as well, Andy Serkis of Lord of The Rings Fame and WETA did the motion capture and cutscenes and the effort shows. The only issue I had with them was that the music was too loud and drowned out the voices and there were some frame rate issues at the beginning of some of the scenes. I also have to say that Kai is one of the funkiest characters I have ever seen, picture Bjork as an agile crossbow carrying medieval character…that is Kai
All in All the game was VERY good, a little too short, a little too repetitive, but the sheer spectacle of the game was enough to keep me playing (for all 6 hours) and want much, much more. Ninja Theory states this will be a trilogy and now that the tech is developed the can build more gameplay…I predict, right now, that heavenly sword 2 will be one of the best games of 2009…just my opinion…