The Heavenly Sword brand has been somewhat stagnant for a decade now. A lot of Heavenly Sword was ahead of its time, making many things limited to the hardware available to game makers. This, in turn, made many players overlook Heavenly Sword. However, the ones who played it would say that much of the game is quite fun to play. While the story was sub par and was plagued with some technical issues that held it back, the combat, and the steep learning curve made it an interesting game to play.
Even with all its faults, many fans have been asking for either a sequel or a remaster of Heavenly Sword because it can feel better on PlayStation 5. There was hope several years ago for a sequel, sadly fans may not see new life in the game for a long time now. However, there’s still a lot the game can offer nowadays, and many things do hold up in today’s world. While not everything has aged well in Heavenly Sword, this list will highlight the aspects that hold up, and in turn, make an enjoyable experience.
This is an area that has divided the fans of Heavenly Sword, some say the graphics haven’t aged well at all, and others will say the opposite. When playing on the PlayStation 3 in certain levels, the game doesn’t look that good, but during the more open areas and cut scenes, the game looks great. Heavenly Sword borrows a lot from Ninja Gaiden, like the camera which is probably one of the weak parts of the game. As such, it doesn’t allow players to see the area, or the sprawling landscapes unless they turn it themselves.
But when they do, players can see the rich colors pop, and dark tones blend well with the lighter ones. Not just graphics, but also movement animations of Nariko are held up today as well, much like other older games with great running animations. Players will feel like the game is not that old, just because the look of Heavenly Sword replicates the earlyXbox OneandPlayStation 4games.
Around the time of the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, games were becoming more and more cinematic. When that happened, the soundtracks matched the energy of those games, and it made things feel grander, and gave players the proper feeling for certain levels. In Heavenly Sword, this is very much true. The scale of these soundtracks is massive, they reflect the battle scenes very well. In some cases, the soundtrack can be mistaken for a game that came out in 2022.
Because of how dynamic and massive it can be since each section has a different feel, the soundtrack should highlight that aspect as well. For the big fights, the big music comes in, matching the player’s energy. This makes them fight and play with less fear, something many games in the last ten years have done. For the slow moments, like simply walking or interacting with the world, the music mirrors that.
While the story is a department where Heavenly Sword lacks, however, the characters make up for a lot of that. Featuring Andy Serkis as the main antagonist, and many other characters, gave players a decent-sized roster of an interesting cast. Games like God Of War 2, which is one of the best games in the series, featured many characters having arcs that make them deep and compelling. To make up for the sub-par story, Heavenly Sword does a good job of making these characters deep, and in turn, the story itself, at times, becomes more immersive.
This was around the time when games were simply straightforward and didn’t really challenge the players as much in terms of character development. But thanks to games like God Of War, character development has been a big thing in gaming. For Heavenly Sword, this was great because it made the player also be a part of that growth. When a game does that right, they become fun to play.
Much like Ninja Gaiden, Heavenly Sword is pretty hard to play, and that’s probably one of the mechanics that has aged well over time. Since many games today are leaning towards the harder play style, players who jump into the world of Heavenly Sword will remember how quickly things got tough. This made combat really over-the-top, and much like Ninja Gaiden, the combat itself was brutal but fun.
While Heavenly Sword was hard, it was still accessible, and encouraged players to fight aggressively, because with the combat style of both God Of War and Ninja Gaiden things got chaotic fast, but players could control the fight. But thanks to the brutal play style of Heavenly Sword, many players who played it are able to transfer those skills into games nowadays because that steep learning curve is an aspect many games use today.
As mentioned before, the Heavenly Sword is a brutal game with a combat system that reflects that. If players don’t pick it up fast, they can have a hard time throughout the game. Hack-and-slash games have not really changed much, but rather they’ve become more dynamic with how they play. Heavenly Sword is much like that and borrows elements from Ninja Gaiden in terms of being active in combat, and relying on combos primarily.
Because just like in Ninja Gaiden, if players chain combos they can get a rhythm better and can take down the enemies faster. In turn, the whole experience of Heavenly Sword becomes easy to play. Like in modern games such as God Of War, if players manage the enemies, they can easily slash their way out of any situation. This makes the combat much more tangible.
Heavenly Sword is available now on PS-Plus.