Lair took a really bad beating last week, breaking the hearts of PS3 fanboys around the world. But it would be OK because there was another Chosen One that Sony had been flaunting for months: Ninja Theory's Heavenly Sword. We nicknamed it Goddess of War during E306, but even with the its chainsword-driven action, the game seems to have blossomed into its own entity at this point—for the good or the bad.
So hit the jump for our Frankenreview: the one review that will dictate whether or not the PS3 is good for something other than big screen porn. That is, if you don't consider a beautiful redhead kicking royal ass in skimpy clothing to be some logical extension of pornography. GameRevolution I can not remember the last time I cared so much about the characters in an action game, and not just the heroes, the villains as well. Like Gollum, even the bad guys have complex motivations. The facial expressions, body language, and the lip synch are so spot-on it's uncanny. I found myself actually excited for more story exposition, rather than disappointed I was dropping out of the action. GameInformer From the moment Nariko chooses to wield the Heavenly Sword, her time with it is limited. As a player, your experience with the sword will also be fairly short; most gamers will probably finish the game in about seven or eight hours. However, that timeframe is dense with non-stop thrills thanks to the game's ability to continually throw compelling new challenges in front of you. IGN The game's biggest strength is its combat system, which in large part works very well. Instead of using only face buttons to put together combos, you have three different stances that each has its own set of moves...Unfortunately, in most one-on-one battles it makes most sense to mostly stick with Triangle as it doubles for a move-breaking counter attack. The more often you use Triangle, the more likely you are to unknowingly counter an enemy's attack and come back with an instant-kill finishing move. Eurogamer Now and then Heavenly Sword takes a break from all the hackandslash guff and lets you shoot at things from big cannons...In these hugely entertaining (but rather samey) interludes you can...hold down L1 and effectively steer the missile directly to its target. By default, the game encourages you to use the SixAxis tilt controls, but although it feels rather fantastic when you wobble your pad to your target, it's horribly imprecise. After a few hours of struggling with it, we couldn't quite believe how much easier it was to control the direction with the analogue stick in comparison Pro-G If you are looking for a purist's hack and slash that will test you for months, go elsewhere, ideally to Ninja Gaiden Sigma. But if you want a thrilling and cinematic adventure that will give you ample opportunity to show off the muscle of your PlayStation 3 and provide a glimpse of the console's possible future, you could do far worse than pick up this big-budget epic. Penny Arcade pointed out that Heavenly Sword reviews (specifically 1UP's) read like a struggling game with an 8 tagged on. And while I agree that Heavenly Sword is certainly sandbagging a bit with the PS3's currently high handicap, I think the reviewers were so generous despite length and mechanic issues because of the game's extremely high level of cinematic polish. Either way, the fanboys can dry their tears.