Review: Strength of the Sword 3 (PS3)

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Title: Strength of the Sword 3
Format: PlayStation Network Download (386 MB)
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Ivent Ltd.
Developer: Ivent Ltd.
Price: €9.99 (EU), £7.99 (UK)
PEGI: 12

For the last five years  a small indie studio called Ivent games, which comprise of just two developers named Gerogi Rakidov and Lyubomir Iliev have been hard at work making their first PlayStation 3 game. There isn’t much in the way of a story, which the two developers openly admit, isn’t the reason why they made the game. They describe it as a challenging experience in which the player will take control of a blade-wielding, magic-powered war-machine from the heavens and take on the Dark Mechanism and his minions in this Challenge-driven Sword Combat Game.

You may be wondering what ever happened to the prequels of this game. Well the two crazy Bulgarians who made it will never do sequels to any of their games. So instead they’ll finish up their trilogies straight away. If people want more then it could be in the form of DLC. It’s a novel way of doing things in an industry so obsessed with pumping out a follow up in the franchise as often as possible.

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Gameplay:
The game begins with an extremely brief introduction in which some evil creatures are wreaking havoc and your character ‘The War Golem’ sets off to eradicate them. After that you’re straight into the action fighting a single Goblin Scout, which according to some text that appears on the screen, is tougher than you think! They weren’t kidding, I got my ass kicked. I’ve become so used to the hand holding in recent games, making the first few enemies you encounter nothing more than punching bags, I didn’t expect it to fight back.

You are guided through the moves list as the battles happen, slowly opening up more and more things as you defeat each enemy. It is imperative that you pay attention and learn everything. This isn’t a mindless button mashing action game. You can’t just pick one or two moves and monotonously hack at your adversaries until they die. They’ll change their tactics and given half a chance, decimate your health bar.

Once the game allows you enough variety in your move set, the game becomes more manageable and as long as you keep mixing up your attacks, most enemies can be dealt with quickly. I hurriedly realised my shield would only take a certain amount of hits or in some situations, be totally avoided.  Now here is the kicker, You need to charge up your Mana to be able to execute most moves, the only way of doing that is by standing still and holding up your shield and pushing up. Timing becomes essential in this game.

Each section of the game is essentially an arena, you fight varying amounts of opponents before moving onto the next. You’ll automatically lock-on to an enemy and can switch by a simple button press. The controls are simple and easy to remember.

At the end of each section you see some indication of how well you’ve done and the points you amassed. It does have an online leaderboard system which gives you a rank but strangely you can only see that by returning to the main menu and then into the online-rankings section. If that was a more prominent  fixture in the game, I think people could get very obsessed chasing those scores.

Once you’ve mastered the main game, there is the Challenge Pit. I dare any gamer who thinks they can beat anything to attempt the insane difficulty. Those clever little Goblins will kick your ass.

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Visuals:
The graphical style fools you into believing it’s a simple but charming game. It wouldn’t look out of place as a teenage version of Darksiders.

Character animations are smooth and fluid, especially when the action slows down in an almost bullet-time effect. The game has the letterbox format of two black bars, it felt slightly peculiar considering the last time I saw them in a game was on the PS One, then when I launched my character into a finishing move and the bars quickly moved to highlight my attack, it all became clear. It was a stylish graphical effect which works very well.

On a few occasions I encountered some graphical glitches and one grammatical error on the retry screen. All of which were forgivable and I’ve seen a lot worse in some big budget games. The camera has had a funny moment here and there, one time it insanely spun round an enemy for a few seconds; when the screen calmed down my health bar had vanished for the rest of the game as if it never caught up.

Audio:
A small enjoyable soundtrack which complements the game very well. No voice acting or narration, but with a story so simple you don’t feel it’s needed.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
One meaning of the word challenge is ‘a task or situation that tests someone’s abilities ‘ Which perfectly & simply describes this game. If you’re looking for a jaw dropping story, a graphical marvel, or just a laid back little adventure then this isn’t for you. This little game is about the challenge pure and simple.

Ivent Studios succeeded in making one hell of a challenging experience, I’m just afraid some people may end up breaking a few controllers before they master this little game.

Score:
8.0

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

If you send a friend request please add ‘PS Nation’ in the subject area.

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  • Xoiea De Asis

    cool game… wait what.. only EU booooo

    • ChazzH69

      It is coming out in the US, soon.