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Video Game / Heavenly Sword

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A Hack and Slash game set in an ambiguously Asian empire where everyone speaks with British or Australian accents. It was developed by Ninja Theory and released exclusively on the PlayStation 3 in September 2007.

The plot concerns Nariko, the unwanted daughter of a clan whose duty is to protect the titular sword, which the ambitious King Bohan believes will grant him godlike power. Nariko and her clan sister, Kai, flee with the sword and spend the remainder of the game attempting to rescue Nariko's father and end Bohan's reign of terror. Though the plot is hardly new, it's solidly executed, with excellent voice acting and motion capture (due to the involvement of Andy Serkis and Weta Workshop) and a surprising amount of humor.

Nariko is also a playable fighter in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Tier-wise, she's not so bad. The game was adapted into a CG-animated movie, released in 2014.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Action Girl: Nariko. Notably, she's a skilled fighter even without the Heavenly Sword.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The game has players controlling Kai for a few brief portions rather than Nariko.
  • Anime Hair: Nariko's ponytail moves like it has a mind of its own.
  • Anti-Villain: Roach. It's made clear that he's only doing what he does to try and please his father, and is a great deal more sympathetic than the other villains.
  • Arrows on Fire, a specialty of Kai's.
    Kai: I love fireworks!
  • Automatic Crossbows: Kai uses one, for starters.
  • Ax-Crazy: Flying Fox. He's got no problem killing children.
  • Badass Normal: Despite lacking any magical powers, Kai proves capable of fighting her way past a minor army of guards. For that matter, Nariko is plenty dangerous even without the Heavenly Sword.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Nariko has just carved a bloody swathe through hundreds of soldiers, personally defeated Bohan, and finally collapsed in the dust to die...and through all this she looks like a model for skin cream. This is especially noticeable in the penultimate cutscene, where a long shot of Nariko's face shows off how clean it is.
  • Berserk Button:
    • When Nariko starts taunting Whiptail back whilst blatantly saying that her master doesn't care about her and that he was the one who made her so insane, she repeats the taunt Whiptail had previously used to great effect: "Ohhhhh, it's so much better when you're angry!" Whiptail then proceeds to go even more insane.
    • Just being reminded that Roach is his son seems to instantly turn Bohan from relatively calm to the point of blowing like a volcano.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
  • BFG: In several levels, Nariko wields cannons like overgrown shotguns.
  • Big Bad: The Raven Lord, the spirit of a warlord who corrupted Bohan into villainy to get ahold of the Sword.
  • Big "NO!": Nariko lets out a grief-stricken "NOOOOOOOOO!" after Kai's apparent death (and, shortly after, a variation which just has her screaming Kai's name).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nariko gets ample opportunity for revenge in the end but succumbs to the titular Sword as it takes her life.
  • Black Comedy: Whiptail's death.
    Whiptail: I can't feel my legs...!
    Bohan: That's alright. I'll feel them for you.
  • Break the Cutie: Kai is already broken. Then Flying Fox breaks her more.
  • Blade on a Rope: The range stance involves launching the sword at the end of two chains for ranged combat. This is most useful for dealing with weaker enemies and defending from projectile attacks.
  • The Caligula: King Bohan is an insane tyrant who screams at his men, abuses his son, and will kill an underling for failing him (which Whiptail found out the hard way).
  • Chainmail Bikini: Whiptail's outfit is basically this.
  • The Chosen One: The ending leaves it ambiguous is Nariko is this, or The Unchosen One. Shen tells her as she lies dying that she was the hero of prophesy all along, but Nariko claims that the prophesy was a lie, and that her actions were all her own.
  • Chekhov's Gun: King Bohan's raven.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Kai. She eats worms and speaks like a child.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Nariko trades in her longsword for the Heavenly Sword after being cornered by Bohan and his army. It ends the way you'd expect given the trope and the Sword's well-documented history of eventually causing its wielder to die in excruciating pain.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Nariko makes such a bargain with the Heavenly Sword.
    • Bohan sells his soul to gain the power needed to face Nariko, and it isn't enough to defeat her.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: It turns out that Bohan's bird is in fact The Raven Lord, the ancient warlord that started this whole mess in the first place. A pity he wasn't mentioned in the game proper before that point.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Heavenly Sword.
  • The Empire: Bohan leads one, and it's soliders they make up the Mooks Nariko cuts her way through during the game.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Bohan and his generals breathe this trope, but Bohan is the one who manages to be scary because he is so hammy.
  • Eyeball-Plucking Birds: King Bohan suffers this towards the end of the game when the Raven pecks out his eyes for failing him.
  • Fat Idiot: Roach is massively obese and more than a little dim.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Bohan is easly the most entertaining character to watch, even as he tortures and kills to get what he wants.
  • Fiery Redhead: Nariko has long red hair in a ponytail, and kicks a whole lot of ass.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Nariko's death by the sword's curse is shown at the beginning of the game. Still, she manages to wipe out Bohan and his army one last time before she's gone for good.
  • Friendly Sniper: Kai. Goofy, has the mind of a child, and weilds an automatic crossbow that never needs reloading.
  • Groin Attack: This game is particularly fond of them, both implied and executed. It affects all other surrounding mooks as well.
    Kai: Maybe I should attack your weak point, for MASSIVE DAMAGE.
  • The Hero Dies: The Sword takes most of Nariko's life-force, and she gives up the last of it to heal Kai.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: By the end of the game, Bohan has had his army and lieutenants all destroyed, lost his mystic powers and for good measure, his master pecks his eyes out for failing him; given he was already old and crippled, he's even more of an invalid than before, and it's implied he'll now be utterly dependent on his mentally-challenged son Roach to take care of him.
  • How We Got Here: The very first level is Nariko cutting her way through Bohan's army before seemly dying from the curse. The rest of the game is a flashback describing how she got to that point.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Bohan's behavior around Nariko shortly after he captures her.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Whiptail. She wanted the Heavenly Sword, and she got it — right in the abdomen.
  • Implausible Hair Color: Nariko. Red hair is very uncommon in Asian cultures, and she has a good amount of it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Due to the implementations of the sixaxis controller, Kai is a damn good shot, depending on the player.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Nariko, though the Heavenly Sword is alive, so its improbability may be justified. Far stranger is her ability to steer corpses and other improvised weapons in midair after throwing them or shooting them. Kai can do much the same thing with her arrows.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain:
    • Subverted with Bohan, who seems incompetent and acts like a complete goofball more often than not, but routinely performs monstrous acts in order to further his own ambitions.
    • Played a bit straighter with his son Roach.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Bohan looks exactly like an older, more scarred-up Andy Serkis. All of the other main characters resemble their voice/motion actors in some way, too.
  • Ironic Name: Nariko is a Japanese name that means "Gentle Child". She's anything but.
  • Kick the Dog: Bohan does most of the kicking, and the dog is usually named Roach.
  • Kill the Cutie: Averted. Kai turns out to still be alive after her presumed death.
  • Klingon Promotion: In one of the animated shorts which describes Bohan's Start of Darkness, he ascended his throne through poisoning the former king.
  • Large Ham: Bohan and Flying Fox practically define this trope. Whiptail also definitely counts.
  • Laughably Evil: Bohan and Flying Fox manage to be funny even when being complete bastards.
  • Mama Bear: Harm Kai while Nariko's around and you will be sorry.
  • Minion Shipping: Whiptail is Bohan's mistress, as well as one of his generals. While she seems to genuinely care about him, his feelings aren't exactly mutual, as is evident in her death scene.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Nariko has a very toned and athletic body, and doesn't cover it with very much.
  • Nariko Is About to Stab You: The cover.
  • Neck Snap: Bohan does this to Whiptail.
  • No Indoor Voice: Most of Flying Fox's lines are yelled at the top of his voice. In fact, one of the few times he doesn't yell is when he's dying.
  • No One Could Survive That!:
    • Kai is hung by her neck after being dropped from a great height, and presumably dies instantly. As it turns out, she's still very much alive, though weakened. Overlaps with No One Should Survive That!, since that type of injury should cause instant death, or at least asphyxiation, and no explanation is given as to why it doesn't.
    • In the film, Kai was able to get one hand inside the noose, preventing asphyxiation.
  • No Flow in CGI: Averted. Nariko's hair flows like it's alive.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Lampshaded with Flying Fox during a cutscene.
    King Bohan: How does he do that?
  • One Woman Army: Nariko. She was a strong fighter before she got the sword. With it, she's practically invincible.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Deconstructed, as the belief that only a single mortal man could be born to wield the Heavenly Sword is all but confirmed to be a superstition, that lead to Nariko being ostracized when her birth contradicted the prophecy.
  • The Ophelia: Kai isn't all there...
  • Overlord Jr.: Roach, the son of Bohan, who the evil king seems to despise with a passion.
  • Parental Issues: Nariko and Shen, Roach and Bohan.
  • Le Parkour: The player can make Kai vault over several types of obstacles, which comes in handy when she has to evade enemies in a maze of random junk.
  • Pet the Dog: As Bohan is lying on the battlefield - defeated, broken, weakened and blinded - Roach, still ever-loyal, comes to his aid. Up until this point, Bohan's interactions with Roach have consisted of little but verbal, physical and psychological abuse towards him, but, this time, it seems that, deep down, he does care for Roach in his own way: "Roach... is that you? My son..."
  • Playing Tennis with the Boss: This is one of the keys to defeating the Raven-possessed Bohan.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Roach, Bohan's mentally-challenged illegitimate son. Who appears to be playing with the corpses of Flying Fox and Whiptail like a dolly at the start of chapter 5.
  • Psycho for Hire: Flying Fox, a deranged killer under Bohan's command.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: While the heroes are usually deadly serious, the villains are often prone to silliness - even King Bohan.
  • Recurring Boss: Flying Fox is fought several times before you finally get to kill him for good.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: If she weren't already dead, Nariko could probably stop wars just by showing up and glaring a little bit. She's that scary given that she literally tore through an army to get at the last person who pissed her off.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Most of the game alternates between drama and comedy. Kai being wounded to the point of incapacitation marks the point where everything becomes completely serious.
  • Snake Talk: Whiptail. It's even in the subtitles.
  • The Sociopath: Flying Fox, a gleeful sadist who spends his entire screen time brutally murdering people for his own amusement and uses a woman's corpse to lure out her child. In the animated film, he even plots to kill Bohan and overthrow him.
  • Start of Darkness: One of the animated shorts details how Bohan got to be King (unsurprisingly, it involved poisoning the guy before him).
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Nariko's clan despises her for being born female, as their prophecy specifies that only a male child is destined to protect the Heavenly Sword. Her father even went so far as to attempt to kill her while she slept for this unpardonable offense, but was unable to bring himself to do it. Her clan continues to treat her like crap even after she's saved their lives numerous times at great personal risk.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Flying Fox tends not to stay in one place during any conversation, but we never see him move.
  • Stripperiffic: Whiptail's outfit, though Nariko isn't much better, wearing the right half of a skirt and a top that leaves her midriff and right shoulder/arm uncovered.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Kai doesn't remember the death of her mother, until Flying Fox forces her to remember.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Kai. See No One Could Survive That! above.
  • Volleying Insults: Whiptail and Flying Fox seem to be particularly fond of hurling rather inventive insults at each other, much to Bohan's immense annoyance.
  • The War Sequence: Nariko at the start and near the end.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Bohan rather cruelly does this to Whiptail after she's been defeated by Nariko - she lies on the floor, impaled by the Heavenly Sword, whimpering to him that she's scared, he leans in to kiss her... and then casually snaps her neck, before brutally yanking the sword out of her body and tossing her body aside.
    • The Raven Lord gives Bohan the same treatment after he loses to Nariko in the Final Battle. The Raven pecks out Bohan's eyes while he's pleading for mercy and another chance before flying away.

Tropes regarding the Movie are:

  • Adaptational Villainy: In the film, Shen is turned into a neglectful father and serial rapist due to his desire for a son and disappointment in not procuring one.
  • Bastard Bastard: In the movie, after Nariko was born, Shen produced bastard offspring in an attempt to remedy the prophecy. Kai and Loki are his bastard children.
  • The Chosen One: After Nariko finds out that Loki is Shen's son and her half-brother, she believes that he is the warrior the prophecy spoke of. After freeing him and giving Loki the sword, he is beheaded seconds afterwards by Flying Fox.
  • Disney Death: Kai.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Whiptail's death scene differs from the game. In the game, after being impaled by the sword, she whimpers to Bohan that she is scared of dying and begs him to help her (before he snaps her neck). Here, she instead accepts her fate with a smile and taunts Nariko before her body sinks to the watery depths.
  • Karma Houdini: Zigzagged with Shen. Despite being a terrible father and serial rapist Nariko brings him back to life when he is dying despite the fact he was going to Hell for his crimes. By the end, he still hasn't learned to respect his daughters, but lost his son and proven that he should have treated them better. And the fact he is already old and was going to Hell implies that if he doesn't straighten up soon he will be going there eventually.
  • Large Ham: Alfred Molina's Bohan is still pretty hammy, but is more tamed than Andy Serkis'.
  • Long-Lost Relative: In the film, Kai and Nariko are half-sisters born from their father's attempts to produce a son.
  • Mordor: Bohan's fortress in the game had a normal, garden-like design. But in the movie, his fortress is surrounded by Lava.
  • Off with His Head!: Loki, courtesy of Flying Fox.
  • Parental Neglect: Shen ignores both his daughters (and possibly others as well) for not being born sons and makes it clear he wants nothing to do with them. He ignored his one son by not knowing he was born. He never truly connects with any of his daughters by the end of the film and acts like he is ashamed of them.
  • Rape as Drama: In the film, Shen is turned into a rapist who forced himself on women in an attempt to produce a son. Both his daughters and one of his victims are disgusted by it. Though it is implied he will go to Hell for his crimes after he dies.
  • The Starscream: After Flying Fox takes the sword from Loki's cold dead hands, he states that he intends to betray Bohan by taking the swords power for himself. This is compared to his game counter-part, who, whilst expressed by Bohan to be somewhat untrustworthy, never showed any signs of treachery.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Loki is set up to be a major character, but is only given a few minutes of screen time, and is then anti-climatically decapitated by Flying Fox.


General Flying Fox

Not even Bohan has any clue how he does it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / OffscreenTeleportation

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