Shadow Hearts: From the New World

Shadow Hearts: Covenant was my favorite game of 2004 thanks mostly in part to the awesome storyline of the game that kept you sucked in to carry on to see what happens next. So how does the third game in the series compare to the second? Pretty damn well, that’s how!
From the New World takes place in more western locales compared to the Asian and European setting of Covenant. You start out as Johnny Garland, a 16yr old detective looking for that one case that will help him make a name for himself and his agency. HE gets more than he expects when he finally gets a serious case that involves finding a missing person, and he gets pulled into one heck on an adventure where he meets up with a colorful bunch of characters as well as discovering the truth about his past.
It might be your common “boy meets girl, boy goes on big adventure” RPG story, but it’s in the telling of the story that gets you hooked. I really liked the way they meshed and twisted around history to make for a great and often funny story, like Brazilian ninjas and a big talking cat who’s also master of drunken fist martial arts! You’ll also run into pirates, red Indians, and even legendary mobster Al Capone! Sometimes you even forget your main objective of tracking down the main villains, Lady and Killer.
Gameplay wise, things really haven’t changed much from Covenant, which is good or bad depending on how you look at it. Battles are still fought out with the Judgment Ring system, and you can change stellar charts of your characters to give them more abilities and range of their attack types. You can now also upgrade your stellar char abilities so you can use more powerful magic attacks. And each character also has their own unique special attacks that can be powered up as you play through the game.
There’s also a bit of challenge to the game as it’s possible to find yourself losing battles to common enemies, not just the bosses! But like all RPGs, sooner or later you’ll find yourself in a situation where your characters a powered up to a degree where common enemies stand little chance against your characters though.
I think the only flaw I could find with the game is that it was rather short, even if I did play through the side-quests for all the characters. Some of the puzzles can be a little tough, but it’s nothing a little trial-and-error won’t get you through. You could finish the game in about 50 hours of total playing time.
If you liked the previous Shadow Hearts games, you easily love this one as well with it’s fun storyline and easy to get into gameplay. The big RPG everyone is talking about this year is Final Fantasy XII, but I seriously recommend giving this one a look as well.

Graphics – 10
Sound – 10
Gameplay – 8
Lifespan – 8
Overall – 8


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