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Heavenly Sword

Heavenly Sword

Heavenly Sword

Heavenly Sword is a video game developed by Ninja Theory exclusively for the PlayStation 3 console and published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. The game was released on September 12, 2007 in North America and Japan; September 14, 2007 in the United Kingdom and Ireland; September 20, 2007 in Australia, New Zealand and Europe; and November 15, 2007 in the rest of the world.

Heavenly Sword Plot

The game begins in medias res, with Nariko fighting the forces of Bohan. As she is fighting and slaying, the sword finishes draining her life and she seemingly dies, waking in a field and speaking to the power within the sword about what has transpired previously. Five days before, Nariko's clan is assaulted by the first strike of King Bohan's forces. Before she joins the fight, Shen thrusts the sword into the ground next to her demanding that she take care of it. Nariko fights alongside her father and her clansmen as their defenses are weakened and stretched by scores of Bohan's warriors scaling the city walls accompanied by catapults. As the warriors and Shen escape from Bohan's Army, Nariko protects them until spotting a catapult moving toward the fort. As Shen had earlier instructed her, she flees, as the fortress is apparently destroyed behind her. While fleeing, she passes a large black bird with a golden head, the animal form of the Raven Lord. When Bohan's army captures her father and corners her in a retreat from the clan's city, Nariko has no choice but to wield the sword to defend herself in order to escape. She takes a flying leap off a cliff edge as Bohan's archers begin firing at her. Kai finds Nariko after disobeying Shen's orders to hide and informs her of the temple where her father and clansmen are being held captive. Nariko infiltrates the temple and is ambushed by Flying Fox. She defeats the general for the time being and continues on to rescue her father. Meanwhile, King Bohan plots to set up a trap for Nariko with Whiptail. Nariko falls into the trap, and Whiptail, after watching most of her personal guards defeated, tells Nariko the truth behind her father's original feelings about her birth - Shen wanted to kill Nariko shortly after her birth, but was unable to bring himself to do so. Nariko tells her father to leave her and fights with Whiptail. After Nariko impales Whiptail with the sword, King Bohan turns up and snaps Whiptail's neck in her dying moments, then captures the sword and an incapacitated Nariko.

As Shen escapes, Kai makes her way to Nariko's holding cell. Kai is able to find where Nariko is imprisoned and begs that she comes home with her. Nariko explains to Kai that she needs to reacquire the Heavenly Sword to kill King Bohan. She asks Kai to retrieve the sword and Kai accepts the task. Kai eventually succeeds in finding the Heavenly Sword, only to also discover her mother's skeleton. In a flashback, it is revealed that, some years ago, Kai's mother was murdered in front of her eyes by Flying Fox. Returning to the present, Kai is confronted by Flying Fox and barely manages to escape from him with the sword. Meanwhile, Nariko is forced by Bohan to fight before his army against Orangumen, pets of Roach's. During the battle, Kai arrives and throws Nariko the sword. When Nariko defeats all the Orangumen, Bohan orders Roach to murder Nariko. After defeating Roach, both Nariko and Kai flee from the pit. Bohan then commands Flying Fox to kill Kai while his soldiers take on Nariko. As the two try to escape the temple, Flying Fox cuts Kai off from Nariko and they are separated. Nariko desperately tails Flying Fox, but when she finally catches up, he seemingly hangs Kai in front of her. Believing Kai to be dead, Nariko flies into a rage and battles with Flying Fox. As Nariko and Flying Fox duel, Kai, who survived the drop, uses her crossbow to shooting an arrow into Flying Fox's head, killing him. Nariko releases the injured Kai from the noose and returns her to the care of the clan.

King Bohan rallies his men to launch a final attack to regain the Heavenly Sword. Nariko fights alongside her father and clansmen once more despite being outnumbered. Nariko kills countless numbers of Bohan's troops with ease and destroys his catapults. Despite her efforts, the sword kills her, bringing the events of the game full circle. But this time, Nariko reverses her death by making a pact with the sword to protect it from becoming a useless and dusty relic, since it needs her more than her clan needs it. Nariko returns as a goddess-like figure, and proceeds to slaughter Bohan's troops. Desperate, Bohan begs the Raven Lord (who has been seen repeatedly throughout the game watching Nariko or being with Bohen) to give him the power to destroy Nariko. Bohan gets his wish and the Raven Lord merges with him. An epic battle ensues similar to the one foretold in the prophecy. After Nariko manages to defeat Bohan, the raven leaves his body, and, despite Bohan begging for mercy, pecks his eyes out and flies away.

As Nariko raises the sword to strike the final blow, Roach comes to his father's side and begs Nariko to let him take Bohan. Nariko allows, and the two leave, with Bohan calling Roach his son for the first time. Though successful in protecting the sword from coming into the hands of Bohan, Nariko still must give her life for wielding it, for that is the price for using the almighty sword, and the story comes to its end. Nariko reflects that she believes they have fought in vain for the prophecy, that the sword was not from Heaven, but feels gratified that she chose to be the one who was going to save her people from evil: she took the sword, paid the price and ultimately defeated Bohan's army, but nevertheless she was still a normal woman. Nariko heals Kai, and gives her the sword for safekeeping, before passing away. At the funeral, Nariko's body is placed into a boat filled with blossoms, and Kai and Shen cast her out to sea.

Heavenly Sword Gameplay

The gameplay of Heavenly Sword resembles a martial arts title focused on melee combat while featuring opportunities for ranged attacks. The main character, Nariko, uses a weapon called the "Heavenly Sword" which changes into one of three forms depending on what attack stance the player uses as part of a unique fighting style. Speed Stance provides an even balance between damage and speed, where the sword takes the form of two separate blades. Range Stance allows fast, long-range, but weaker attacks, with the sword being two blades chained together. Power Stance is the most powerful, but slowest style, where attacks are made with the Sword in the shape of one large, two-handed blade.

For exploration and certain battles, the game also makes use of "quick time events" (QTE). During a QTE, a symbol for a certain button or for an action such as moving the analog stick to the right or left appears on screen and the player must match what is shown to successfully complete the scene.

In addition to Nariko, a secondary character, Kai, is controlled for some portions of the game. Many of Kai's stages take the form of sniping missions, using her crossbow to pick off enemies, in some cases to protect characters. While Kai cannot perform hand-to-hand combat, in stages that call for her to explore the level she is able to hop over objects and to free herself from an enemy's grasp by temporarily stunning them.

Projectiles can be maneuvered to their targets using the motion-sensing capabilities of the SIXAXIS controller through a feature known as Aftertouch. Such projectiles include guiding Kai's arrows after she has launched them, and for Nariko, guiding a cannon or rocket launcher, or picking up and throwing objects.

SettingThe game's story and mythos revolves around the titular Heavenly Sword, a blade said to have been wielded by an unnamed Heavenly deity against a demonic warlord called the Raven Lord. After the battle was won and the Raven Lord defeated, the sword was left in the mortal world, becoming the center of wars over its power. The fighting made the sword lust after the life of its users, eventually killing them after a short time. A warrior tribe finally took charge of the sword, ending the wars and pledging to keep it safe and unused for the world's own good. Among the tribe, a legend said that the sword's original wielder would be reborn in the year of the "fire-horse", and that this figure would unite the world's scattered tribes and lead the world to peace.


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