|Blood, Gore, Violence
| The Good
| The Bad
Sub-Par Graphics in certain areas
Voice acting isn't the best
Shadow Hearts is an RPG published by Midway that few
have heard of but really should have. Its a "dark" RPG that
is fun and surprisingly very well made. In this game you take
the role of Yuri, a man who has the ability to transform into
other creatures. He is what they call a Harmonixer. You join
him on a great quest spanning Asia and Europe. It all starts
on a train where evil is brewing -- which also happens to
be one of the most excellent intro's in a videogame ever --
and here Yuri's quest begins.
The gameplay reminds me alot of Final Fantasy. To some
extent, you could call this a FF copy, but the different things
that are incorporated are what make this game stand out. First
off, there is the judgment ring. It's a ring that is to the
top, right side of the screen that has a dial that spins.
You must make the dial land corresponding to the right spot
to pull off the moves. They do this with regular and special
moves, plus with healing and minigames. It all adds up to
a unique experience and during battle it adds a certain edge
to them. Another unique addition is the ability to change
into other monsters, with different elemental attacks, with
your main character, which gives you different moves. Changing
into these creatures does take Sanity points, which brings
me to my next subject. Sanity Points are points that either
drain when your main character transforms, or as with everyone
else, just drains the longer you're in battle, which adds
something else you need to manage besides the normal health
and magic points. If you fail to keep them with any SP they
go into berserk mode where they become uncontrollable and
could do anything they want. One last thing I'd like to add
is that to get the different creatures you have to fight them
at the graveyard (which can be accessed through save points) to earn them,
but to even be able to fight them you have to have enough
soul energy of that certain element, and you can earn that
through regular battle. There is a malice meter that fills
eventually and you have to empty it at the graveyard as well,
which adds even more to the strategy of the game. If you don't
empty the malice when it reaches full capacity, you are forced
to fight a tough foe. Emptying it, as you can see, is a must.
Immediately you'll notice that the backgrounds are not 3-D
but pre-rendered like most all RPGs on PSone and while some
might not like that its still comes off really well in the
game and after a few minutes you probably wont care anymore.
The only downside is that while some backgrounds look really
great others pale in comparison but most are overall good.
Now the characters are all done really well.
The animations for the characters are all really great from
the body actions to spells they all come off together greatly.
The FMVs that are in the game are few and far between, but
when they're on screen, you're hooked and they look great.
The control in the game is that of the typical rpg - moving
yourself around the screen and selecting your battle commands
when fighting. Nothing to hard or complicated. Nice and smooth.
Everything in the game sounds great from the calm yet battle
pumping music to the sound effects. There is voice acting
for the select scenes and for the most part sound good. The
only thing that must be said is that the voice acting for
one particular character in the game was horrid and terrible
but thankfully not a person you meet more then once.
Overall, Shadow Hearts is a awesome rpg that really
deliverers a good time for something that wasn't hyped up
at all. The story is dark and entertaining to the very end.
So if your looking for something different after Final
Fantasy 10 do yourself a favor and pick up Shadow Hearts,
one of the best and unhyped rpg's for PS2.
- Justin Celani