It's a war of words, and this one involves one of the most anticipated PS3 titles of the year.
A few days ago, we learned that Tecmo's lead graphics programmer, Itagaki Tomonobu, called Heavenly Sword "half-assed" in the latest issue of EGM, which features a big preview of the game. It's also worthwhile to note that Tomonobu apparently isn't too fond of the God of War or Shenmue titles, either, because they use "button-timing sequences." The full comment is as follows-
“I’ve never played a good game where the developers put a big icon of the button you’re supposed to press onscreen,” said Tomonobu. “I look at Heavenly Sword and it seems really half-assed, because it’s asking you to do all these button-timing sequences but you are not getting much payoff from it.”
Okay, but isn't there a great deal more to Heavenly Sword than just these sequences? It seemed as if the combat depth – on display in the brief playable demo – is pretty impressive, but at the same time, Tecmo is indeed responsible for the likes of Ninja Gaiden Sigma . Tomonobu is entitled to his opinion, but that doesn't mean the creators of Heavenly Sword wouldn't respond. One of the game's producers, Kyle Shubel, has already responded to the Tecmo programmer's criticism:
"My response to Mr. Itagaki would be that the intent of the Hero sequences is to empower the player to experience events that would be nearly impossible to play in a natural platforming state… for example, making the player run down ropes, leaping from rope to rope as they’re being cut from underneath you, all while dodging other objects – that would be a frustrating experience to 99 percent of our users if we were to force them to do that manually."
We do have to agree with that, and if possible, we'd certainly like a clarifying comment from Tomonobu. We know Sigma is brutally difficult, so perhaps he simply doesn't like parts of games designed to be a little easier on the average gamer. But at the same time, the gameplay mechanic he's criticizing has been successfully implemented and very well received in other outstanding games. Oh well, it's still an interesting little battle going on here, as it seems a zillion people have already heard and processed Tomonobu's words.
What's left? Wait for Heavenly Sword , of course, and decide for ourselves.
Related Game(s): Heavenly Sword