Shadow Hearts Series

Yesterday, during my weekly browse through the local pawn shops, I noticed that they had Shadow Hearts: Covenent for a piddly 5 dollars, which I thought was strange, since this particular pawn shop almost exclusively prices its games at 10 dollars (although they sometimes price games at 15, 20 or even 25 dollars… even if those same games can be bought anywhere else in town for 20 dollars new). I’ve never seen any 5 dollar PS2 games there, except for a copy of Silent Hill 2 that looked like it had been through a garbage disposal, and a Japanese copy of Soul Calibur II that they’ve had for years and years. So, anyway, SH:C was in great shape, and only 5 bucks, so I picked it up.

Anyway, is the Shadow Hearts series good and worth playing? I probably won’t play SH:C unless I play Shadow Hearts and Koudelka first (I like to play RPG series in order, even if the order isn’t important). And I actually DO own Koudelka (three factory sealed copies, actually… looking to sell two of them…), so I guess I’d have to go out and buy Shadow Hearts sometime if I decide to play through the series. But should I? I heard that SH:C was good, but SH and Koudelka seemed to have gotten mixed reviews. Also, apparently there’s another Shadow Hearts game coming out next year, which I don’t really know anything about.

I guess I just want to know people’s impressions of the series…

The first one looks pretty bad, but it’s a good story with interesting characters. The battle system is fun, and the soundtrack is awesome.

The story is set in alternate reality of our world, before World War 1. Yuri Hyuga, a boy with the ability to fuse with the souls of monsters is killed, is told by a mysterious voice, to find and protect Alice Eliot. She’s being chased by a warlock named Roger Bacon, and he intends to use her for world destruction.

It sounds pretty corny, but the characters are pretty cool. It’s atmosphere is dark, but at points the game is also funny.

The second one is awesome. It’s basically about how Yuri copes with the events of the first one, and where he goes from there. I really love this game <3

The third one takes place in the 1930s, America. Dunno much about it yet, but it looks awesome.

It’s not necessary to play Shadow Hearts before Covenant, but I would advise that you do. Certain events in the second one will have a much bigger impact if you do.

It’s a vastly underrated, fun, quirky little series. I’ve never played Koudelka (it’s certainly not necessary to, as related events are explained in the first Shadow Hearts anyway when required), but I’ve played SH and SH:C and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

SH doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, but it does have a good plot and is genuinely fun and involving to play nonetheless. SH:C is a lot more advanced in terms of graphics and gameplay, but I didn’t like the characters and story as much. Still, both are heavily enjoyable. And there is this wonderful sense of humour prevalent in both - the games never take themselves too seriously. Expect lots of somewhat perverted, but hilarious, jokes and innuendos. Especially in SH:C.

Definitely a bargain at 5 dollars, if you ask me.

Koudelka and Shadow Hearts are both AWESOME games. I suggest playing both. Koudelka is easier for me to find for some reason, but if it’s the other way around for you, it’s not completely necessary playing Koudelka before Shadow Hearts. I didn’t, and a friend that did told me that I didn’t really missout on anything really really important story-wise.

From what I seen of Shadow Hearts when my sister still owned it, it was pretty good witha nice dark mood. And five dollar is a hack of a deal…beats getting Warcraft 3 : Frozen Throne for five dollars in good shape.

It’s an excellent series, though I still need to finish Covenant and haven’t played Koudelka <_<

The plots tend to be fairly straightforward, but put down solidly, with an interesting cast (the main character, Yuri, is one of the few characters that pulls off the angsty, dark youth act WELL. He’s actually likeable. Despite how he grows assbells in Covenant.), though I share whatshisfaces sentiment that the cast of the second game is less interesting than the first one, though still excellent.

Battle systems are done with the “judgement ring” which is basically a fancy way of saying “timed button presses”. Think the mario RPG games, every attack done has a different timing than the others, keeping battles interesting. Other than that, it’s pretty much run of the mill RPG fare. Gain exp by killing stuff, etc. Covenant overcomplicates it a bit in my opinion (every cast member has their own unique way of gaining abilities, and there’s some weird magic system in place), but it’s still fun, and it fixes some issues that were present in the original Shadow Hearts.

Basically, think of the series as a good, solid classic RPG with some interesting elements thrown in, and excellent characters. Definitely worth a look, though I do suggest playing Shadow Hearts before Covenant if only because of the totally BITCHING intro Yuri makes.

I might be intrested in buying one of your copies of Koudelka.

Bite me.

Wait, what? What’d I do now?

You wanna get this series. I really, really think you’ll appreciate it, Hiryuu.

I don’t know about Koudelka, though. I hear mixed things about that one. Still, PLEASE try Shadow Hearts.

Ha. I may sound biased because Shadow Hearts is my favorite game, but I really do think you’ll enjoy the series.

The first one, although not graphically stunning, has a deep and interesting story and a battle system that actually makes you pay attention during fights. You don’t really need to play Koudelka first to understand Shadow Hearts.

Shadow Hearts also includes a good cast of characters, mainly having different types of people you never thought would come together in a game.

Although the first game isn’t very long, it’s still an enjoyable game and has a decent amount of challenge thrown into it.

Covenant is the same as the first, only has better graphics, new characters, and you’re able to customize your Judgment Ring.

TD, sorry for any misunderstanding. I wasn’t directing my comment at you. In your post, you were talking about how Yuri was a likable and realistic character. I was just using his common catch phrase as an example as to why I liked him.

In retrospect, I should have said “Yuri’s ‘bite me’ phrase was awesome”. I meant no offense, but I apologize if I did.

I am deeply offended good sir, and for your transgression you will take 10 lashes in public square at noon tomorrow.

I was severely unimpressed with Shadow Hearts. I can send you my copy if you like, because I’m not picking it up again. -_- I didn’t play the sequel either, because of my dislike for the original. It’s certainly interesting and more innovative than most RPGs there, but it fails on too many levels for me. Which isn’t to say you won’t like it (many people here do, obviously).
My review:

I have to disagree with you Cid. I loved the first game, but the second one is way better as it ties up the plot holes in the first really well. While the graphics and music are not anything to write home about, I thought the story was awesome, rivalling, and in some cases beating, those in some FFs. The real world twist was very “out of the box”, orginal, and exciting to me. The second is even better in that it takes an actual historical figure, Rasputen, and makes him a main villain.

I do agree though that there should have been more variation in Yuri’s Fusion monsters to make us want to use diffrent ones.

But, I think the funniest part of the game was watching Alice bash enemies with a Bible. The first time I saw that I must have laughed for five minutes straight. As for Margarette, who doesn’t like a hot babe with guns and fishnet stockings?

Oh, grow a pair TD! You’re see threats where none exist and growing paranoid.