Shadow Hearts: Covenant

aka: Shadow Hearts II
Moby ID: 13013

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 83% (based on 22 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 23 ratings with 1 reviews)

Slowly, it gets to you

The Good
"This is going to be very boring", I said. From the very start I couldn't find a single entangling thing about this game. I knew why I didn't get any prequel and I was starting to think that this may prove to be just as devious experience and all I did was got myself entrapped. Hours passed and I felt lonely... the game just didn't connect... or so I've thought. But after some 10-15 hours of gameplay the entire concept got a brand new reflection. Sub-quests introduced many new characters of which some were quite funny to interact with.

Battles are somewhat original, and become easy the moment you get ability to slowen the rotation of the judgment ring by 50% (can't get any less than that, afaik). The game's setting is during World War I era, but don't fool yourself into thinking there's much into history facts, it is not, but you'll feel the concept of war on all fronts and battle various wanna-be rulers. That is one of the best thing, though, watching how they lose their commanders and tools to rule supreme, one by one. And boss battles are quite okay if you get used to the same old stale strategy, even the grand finale though that lasts long and seems a bit unfair. But is doable nonetheless, I'm no pro in this genre, yet took me but a single attempt.

Game's graphic is nothing special considering the time it came out, but PS2 mediocre with pre-rendered CG looking only slightly better than in-game cinematics. Soundtrack is okay and has lots of great piano tracks as well as some ambient tracks which depict current setting fine even though it needs to be irritating at times. The front cover features a good looking redhead which might be the reason to attract some of the players skeptical to try the game (ahem, well, err...), and she's a main girl in the game alright, but not the main protagonist around which the story goes. Think of it as the same relation we had seen in Final Fantasy X between Yuna and Tidus.

As I mentioned, the game really started in a sort of repelling way and took hours of gameplay before it removed smirk on my face and forced up a smile... and that is most thankful to the fact it is so childish on so many occasions where direction feels funny because of how silly it is, while on the other side dialogues that start as silly and foolish can turn into hilarious scenes to which you simply cannot remain untouched.

The Bad
This is supposed to be a horror game, and hence at first you'll notice many monsters that try to look horrifying if you lend it any more thought to how they look. But bottomline, they may just seem disgusting and repelling making this game look real crappy on occasions as if there was very little inspiration in the development of bestiary. Think giant tomato with fireballs... now where is that one from, I wonder ;)

In the end you end up with eight characters of which you never need four except for one small portion of the game where you need to split parties (I can't stand that, you just get used to playing with some and then you need to split parties, not to mention that only half of your party is strong and upgraded while the other half is rather mediocre in fighting). Let them for once make you be able to control all your characters in the party and give you the upper edge in combat, now there goes an idea. Yuri is okay, Karin is just the same, Blanca is cool to have, and Joachim is good when he turns into bat (was lucky to have him as bad during last combat). Oh yeah, and Anastasia is cute and very funny when fooling around with Joachim. But some characters like Lucia can be so annoying makes you regret you actually saved her after she tried to kill you, not to mention her voice-acting is so incredibly irritating that it literally feels like not a third-rate production, but that of very very very low budget acting.

Dunno about NTSC version, but PAL has typically bad subtitling as the entire movie selection coming from UK. Dunno what they're thinking, but subtitles in english from english should serve as hearing comparison, not to be entirely different, and this game defines the meaning different as subtitles have very little in common with what is said on, oh so many occasions.

The Bottom Line
There is absolutely nothing that would make me proclaim this title as good, but it has so many fine moments it's hard to call it bad after all this. But it will be quite self-explanatory and does not require any intimate knowledge about its predecessor in order to make it follow.

PlayStation 2 · by MAT (240988) · 2012

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by nyccrg, Alsy, Wizo, Unicorn Lynx, Big John WV, Havoc Crow, Jacob Gens, Jeanne, Vovo 30, Tim Janssen, Alaka.