Release Date: September 12, 2007
Developer : Ninja Theory
Metacrtic Score: 79
You know what the gaming world need? More female protagonist. You know what the gaming world doesn’t need? This peace of shit game. There is nothing salvageable in this mess. The story is bland, the fighting is dull, the sound is annoying and it’s so ugly it’s almost painful to look at. There is nothing, NOTHING good here. So, please join me as we take a walking tour of sewer of bad ideas.
You play as Nariko, the eldest daughter of the king of…whatever the name of this world is, you wont care, trust me. The tyrannical King Bohan aims to take over and in order to do so is looking for the titular “Heavenly Sword”, an artafact Nariko’s clan holds sacred. Once he gets to close to attaining it Nariko decides to use it herself. The sword gives her unrivaled power, but it also begins to drain away her life.
It was right about there that I noticed that I didn’t care about anything this story had to say. There are a few ideas sprinkled throughout the game that could be interesting, but the game never makes you care about any of it. For example, most of Nariko tribe hates her, as there was a prophecy that a man would be born who would…save the world or something. But where Bohan invades and starts kicking ass, everyone blames Nariko because she’s a woman. That could have been interesting. That could also have been a meaningful look into how male games looked at women in and around the industry. And hell, look at how male gamers respond to Anita Sarkeesian, and this kind of this idea becomes even more appealing. Unfortunately what we got was a cast of dull charters, a bland script and one of the worst voice cast i’ve ever had to listen too.
With how little damage your main weapon does in this game I think a better title would have been “Heavenly Butter Knife”. I wish I cold say that that was the only issue with the game play, or even that it was the biggest issue with it. Sadly, this is also dull and boring, but at times it’s even broken.
The main game play gimmick is that the Heavenly Sword can take three shapes giving you three play styles (normal, speed and power) that you can switch between at a moments notice. Again, good idea, miserable execution. The “God of War” like hack and slash game play is never as tight as it should with any of the combat styles, making each battle feel as if I am giving hits and suggestions to Nariko instead of orders. When you add that to the insane amount of hits each enemy takes to put down the fights just become overlong spectacles you almost wish you were a part of.
Another issue with the game play is the blocking. Someone thought it would be a good idea to make the blocking button the same as the heavy attack button, meaning that you never know if you re going to block or attack. Then some one decided that that was too easy, so certain attacks can only be blocked when you’re using the right form. Meaning you often have to switch styles mid combo, the the triangle button and hope Nariko does what you want her too.
In better hands this could have made for a sweet, “Devil May Cry” like hack and slash. Instead we get a game that is almost painful to play that isn’t even all that fun to watch either. And I still haven’t gotten to my big issue with the game play yet.
Twice in my time with the game I had to play as Nariko’s sister, Kai. Kai is set up the same way as River for “Firefly” was: mentally unstable but highly capable. Unlike her sister Kai uses a cross bow and her segments are kind of like a shooting range. I did the first one of these segments four times on two different play through. Only twice did the controllers work the way the game said they should. Twice in that bit I could not aim, at all. I had to restart the entire game, twice, to get the game to play right. When it happened the second time I just quite playing. This game is broken. It’s as simple as that.
If the rest of the combat was fun I could have over looked this (docking a few points sure) but it’s just not. This game is as bad to play as it is to listen too or watch.
Game Play: 1/5
Music and Sound:
Like I said before, this game has the worst voice cast I’ve ever seen. Eben when the voice fits the character, the performance is either too over the top or underdone. It also doesn’t help that who ever was directing the actors had no idea who these characters were or what their personality were so the cast just flip flops between random personality as if they are giving each one a test drive until something sticks.
But I guess I should be thankful to whoever mixed the games audio. Because that person is so bad at their job that the voices are almost inaudible at times. A scene will start out with a lot of yelling, but then everyone seems to have noticed a sleeping baby and are whispering only to START YELLING AGAIN. This Is piss poor work, but I am almost grateful as it meant I didn’t have to put up with the rest of the piss poor work from the sound department.
Music and Sound:
Overall Score: 1/5
Who is this game for:
I’ve recently meet a few feminist women (who were kind of scary) who seemed to wholeheartedly believe that the only media worth consuming was that witch has a “strong” (I.e, one dimensional power house that could do no wrong and never get hurt) female lead. If that is your thing, and you don;t need anything deeper, like good writing, well developed characters or anything in the realm of competent game making: here is a game for you. If you do want a little more, look else were.