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Critic Critique Part Deux

May 27, 2008

Heavenly Sword has somehow become a media darling scoring an 81% on Game Rankings. Heavenly Sword is supposed to be a God Of War “clone” so let’s see how they stack up. God Of War features incredibly FUN beat ’em up  gameplay, light puzzles, forgiving yet epic boss battles, and a great story. Over all one of the most FUN games I’ve ever played. Heavenly Sword features incredibly hand cramping gameplay switching light and heavy attacks with the shoulder buttons and incorporating awful six axis controls because there’s no jump button. (What ?) Yeah, that’s right no jump. They decided to forgo that action game standard for seriously complex combos. There is also light puzzle solving in Heavenly sword which is totally ruined by the insanely unresponsive six axis “aftertouch” system. Using “aftertouch” is like making suggestions to a rock to roll somewhere on a flat surface maybe. Since this makes up more than half the game it turns the game into a frustrating chore not a FUN experience. Heavenly Swords boss battles are neither epic nor forgiving. Instead of beating on the boss and having health restores come out Heavenly Sword decided you only need one or two health restores per boss battle. Then when the time comes for the the button pressing sequence if you get it wrong prepare to fight the boss again with a full health bar not a sliver of a health bar like in God Of War. The one place where God Of War and Heavenly Sword seem to match is in the story department. Heavenly Sword has phenomenal acting and facial expression. It surpasses God Of War here and that’s about it. So it turns out that the “clone” wasn’t as good as the original, but wait! Let me bring it back to Dawn OF Mana. It turns out Dawn Of Mana has incredibly FUN beat ’em up  gameplay, light puzzles, forgiving yet epic boss battles, and a great story. That certainly sounds like a God Of War “clone” to me as well. Yet it gets a 57% while Heavenly Sword gets 81%. I don’t get it. Maybe I’m the one in a million guy that likes Dawn and hates Heavenly, but maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m in the silent majority. I don’t know, but what I do seem to think is happening is that there’s no standard check list for critiquing. It’s just how a critic feels when they’re doing the critique. It could come down to whether you had a bad day or something when you happen to play that game or maybe the game didn’t live up to your preconceived expectations or maybe the game unexpectedly surpassed your idea of what it was going to be like. I think this because of Bioshock. All creatures great and small love Bioshock. The critics who gave Dawn Of Mana a low score and Heavenly Sword a high score also gave Bioshock a high score and I agree with them. So it seems that it comes down to the old adage beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is no critiquing standard and it just comes down to how you feel on any given day or does it? Tomorrow: Critic Critique Part Deux, Hating For Hating’s Sake.

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