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Caya's Shadow Hearts Tv Review

Shadow Hearts tv Review

Story & Characters

Shadow Hearts: Covenant picks up approximately two years after its predecessor, Shadow Hearts, ended: asuming SHs bad ending, Yuri Hyuga now resides in Domremy, a small town, acting as its protector. He still mourns over the death of his beloved Alice - heroine of the first SH game - and has turned quite bitter.
One day, the vatican hears of the existance of a demon in said small village and sends a representative to exercize the evil. Alongside the clergyman travels Karin Koenig, a German army officer. Once they arrive in Domremy and face the demon, the 'vatican's representative' reveals his true intentions and puts Yuri under the curse of the Mistletoe. Thus stripped from his Fusion power and gradually weakening, Yuri and his companions set off on a long journey to find a cure to the curse and stop those that once again seek to bring destruction upon the world.
The Shadow Hearts sequel once again takes up a dark atmosphere. From the very beginning, the player feels the hard fate of 'Godslayer' Yuri Hyuga, and a few hours into the game, the plot develops complications and conspiracies which might be a little hard to understand, especially for those who have not beaten the first game before its sequel.
Yet the story again ties in with many actual historical events, which often lets the player realize connections or understand viewpoints which he/she otherwise might not have been able to grasp.
Overall, the idea of a villain who longs to destroy the world and form it after his own ideals is certainly not original. Yet the characters, their connections and fates make the story as wonderful as it is. There we have the anti-hero and 'Godslayer' Yuri Hyuga, the office Karin Koenig who falls in love with a hero so devoted to another woman, the eccentric Gepetto and his puppet, the proud wolf Blanca and several other intriguing and original characters. It is these people who make the game what it is and what it is loved for.

Rating: 8

Art

The overall graphics are certainly above average and do in no way have to bow before classics such as the Final Fantasy games. It is in many parts less colorful, and much more sinister, but that is not neccessarily a bad thing.
The, unfortunately few, completely pre-rendered movies are just wonderful to watch. Yet even the in-game sequences, usually accompanied by voice acting, show incredible detail that I found lacking in even Final Fantasy X and X-2s, and certainly Star Ocean 3s, game graphics.
Another very positive aspect that should be mentioned is the character design. Even though the hero, Yuri, might not be your typical cute or drop-dead gorgeous guy, his whole design gives him so much character of his own that it is hard not to love him.
The beautiful and detailed backgrounds, though sometimes a bit dark, only support my high art rating of 8. It is just something you should have seen yourself.

Rating: 9

Sound

The Original Soundtrack of this game, though not quite as good as the incredibly first one, still hits top scores for a video game OST. Especially Karin's Theme , and the Ending Song (from which it was derived) sung by Mio Isayama called "Getsurenka" (Love Moon Flower) are incredibly beautiful pieces. Yet the soundtrack not only has romantic, slow pieces like the ending, but features several rock themes and a multitude of dark, sinister tunes.
As to the voice acting of the English version: considering other games of the same age, SH:C features quite nice acting and especially Yuri's and Karin's voice actors caught my attention. Overall, I never felt the need to complain about either music or voice acting and felt more than just content when the ending theme sounded in my ears. It might have flaws and thus not deserve a perfect 10, but it still ranks among the top games of this time.

Rating: 8

Presentation

The originality of the game has already been partly discussed in the quick story review. Players who beat the first game and battled long and hard to achieve the good ending might well be annoyed that SH:C is based upon the bad ending of the first, and thus reliant on Alice's death. Yet the true originality of the game is found in the connections between the various characters, their reappearances in each others' fates and histories. (More detailed descriptions have to be left out in order not to spoil).
The overall difficulty of the game is average, and random fights do not occur as often as the player should expect (which sometimes does make leveling a bit of an annoyance). The battle system, namely handling the judgement ring, is rather interesting and easy to learn. Though probably missing quite often in the first fights, the player will be able to hit perfects after just a few tries (and probably modifications).
All this adds to a high replay-value. The player very unlikely to complete all the side quests and challenges upon the first try (unless using a walkthrough) and will thus be tempted to just start over again to not only reach the highest percentage but to also see the other ending (since there is one bad and one good ending).
All these facts probably don't make Shadow Hearts: Covenant a perfect game, but certainly an RPG to challenge Final Fantasy's reign and to add a little variety to the current PS2 RPG landscape.

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.50 (very good)

Reviewed by Caya, Aug 22, 2005

Comments

  1. V-Slasher Aug 22, 2005

    I totally agree with your review. In my opinion SH:C is the best rpg there is for ps2 now. sh3 came out in japan few days ago. I can't wait for it.

  2. fitarol15 Jan 30, 2015

    love the game! and i love karin & yuri the most!

  3. UberDog Mar 23, 2015

    Outstanding review, great details, there isn't much to the game in character, but there is plenty in action that is hard to explain.

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