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Shadow Hearts: Covenant

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GF Rating
8.4

1231 ratings

Critic & User Reviews

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GF Rating
10

Perfect

The best RPG still lurking in the shadows.

posted by dominoscr (ORLANDO, FL) Apr 27, 2006

Member since Oct 2005

27 out of 28 gamers (96%) found this review helpful

Shadow Hearts Covenant is one of the best RPG's ever made period. Let's just go through the criteria checklist.
1. Crazy great episodic story that keeps you guessing till the end. Check.
2. Battle system that is flexible enough for beginners and deep enough for the hard core. Check.
3. An upgrade system that makes all that fighting seem worthwhile. Check.
4. Memorable characters that make you care what happens in the crazy great story. Check.
5. A world that draws you in and graphics that keep you there. Check.
6. Awesome animated cut scenes. Big Check.
7. More than a few hours of game play, with a lot of extras that are cool, but aren't required to beat the game. Check.
8. The most important thing of all, is it fun. CHECK!

All the criteria fits! In addition to all of the above this game is made for gamers. It references all kinds of other games and keeps it real while doing so. It has something for everyone, puzzles, action, stealth, even math!

Some people will be intimidated by the battle system at first, but those people should refer to the detailed step by step explanation in the menu section. Most won't even need to. The random battles are a standard of the genre, but can be brought to a minimum if you like by using items that eliminate them all together. Don't be swayed by the nay sayers. Missing out on a game this good would be a crime.

Whether you are new to gaming or a old school pro, check this game out. You won't be disappointed.

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GF Rating
10

Perfect

Amazing

posted by ksaw14 (STATEN ISLAND, NY) Jan 27, 2008

Member since Jan 2008

2 out of 2 gamers (100%) found this review helpful

It has an amazing story line, great graphics and great characters. This is the darkest RPG I've ever played and quite possibly the funniest. The battle system is extremely fun and challenging and very well done. Most people will find this game to be entertaining, just don't take the historical aspects of the storyline too seriously.

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GF Rating
9

Excellent

A long, strange trip across WWI Europe and Japan

posted by StormyEyes (Harrisburg, PA) Apr 19, 2006

Member since Dec 2005

10 out of 11 gamers (91%) found this review helpful

"Shadow Hearts: Covenant" picks up where the first "Shadow Hearts" left off, while managing to come full-circle with the beginning of the first game (if you earn the good ending). Along the way, the player will encounter, fight beside, and fight against several memorable characters, from swashbuckling German Army officer Karin, to Joachim the flamboyant vampire wrestler, to Princess Anastasia of Russia. Of course, if you've played the first "Shadow Hearts", be patient. You'll meet Yuri again after a couple of hours of play.

Battles are turn-based, but with a twist. Merely clicking "attack" is not enough in "Shadow Hearts", you must negotiate the Judgment Ring, which is different for each of your party members and can be upgraded. The Judgment Ring is a two-edged sword; it can easily become an annoyance if your hand/eye coordination is poor, but it also makes the ramdom battles more than an exercise in holding down the trigger and staying awake.

Unlike many RPGs released after 2000, the voice acting in "Shadow Hearts: Covenant" outshines the solid, but somewhat unmemorable soundtrack. Each character has his or her own personality (even the wolf, Blanca) and the crew gets very chatty once the story gets rolling. While the over-arching story is quite dark, with occult overtones throughout, the dialogue is often hilarious. If you ever wanted to know how to respond to a monologuing demon, this is the game to play.

The sidequests provide an amusing break from the main story, and many of them can be started early in the game if you pay attention and poke around every town and dungeon. All of them are worth completing, either for the upgrades or for the extra subplots.

While "Shadow Hearts: Covenant" is not for children (because of the occult overtones, historical references, and sexual innuendo), it is worth playing if you want a Japanese RPG that avoids the saccharine and cliches that riddle "Final Fantasy" and its imitators.

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GF Rating
10

Perfect

Excellent Series... hugely under-advertised

posted by Omrikon (NEW HYDE PARK, NY) May 6, 2006

Member since Jul 2005

7 out of 8 gamers (88%) found this review helpful

Graphics: 8
Gameplay: 10
Plot: 9
Replay Value: Low

As can be seen, this is almost entirely based off of gameplay. However, I feel that is what truly makes the game. Graphically, the series could have been a little better (then again, I've been playing Elder Scrolls IV lately, so I don't know). Either way, the CG's are respectable, and in-game graphics aren't bad. The plot, although at some points hits lows, counteracts any problems with a generous dollop of humor, which is infrequent at best in most RPG's. The gameplay, however, is very well made in my opinion. The combo system is very useful in fights, spell and ability areas of effect work well to figure out the best strategy to a fight, and in general, the story and quests don't require you to go around the world to collect the littlest nonsensical items. And even when it does, at least 99% of the areas can be returned to, thus lowering the stress. Admittedly, even with a replay feature, I never find RPG's to be very good the second time through, aside from how easy the fights are. But still, this series is a shining example of a relaxing, enjoyable RPG... a interesting, emotion focused story, with just enough humor and just enough extras to make you want to keep playing for longer, without making you want to destroy the game for making you waste so much time doing pointless tasks. Really... it's one of those games where you'll end up being sad that you beat it, since you now have no reason to keep playing it anymore. Highly recommendable to the average gamer, especially fans of the RPG genre.

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GF Rating
8

Very Good

A nice sleeper-hit for the PS2 RPG fan.

posted by Demolish (CHANTILLY, VA) Nov 16, 2006

Member since Nov 2004

4 out of 5 gamers (80%) found this review helpful

Shadow Hearts II has a great feel to it. It is very much a traditional RPG, which is a rarity in this day in age of next generation gaming. The battle engine is a little flakey--it's based on a ring system where you have to time your button presses in order to land a really good attack. (See Super Mario RPG.)

The characters are very likable, except for maybe Gepetto and the wolf, who I felt were really out of place in the game, and did not contribute much after the first 1/5 of the game was over. Yurii is a terrific main character, although looks like your stereotypical protagonist, I liked the backstory.

You do not need to play Shadow Hearts 1 to enjoy this game. Actually, I was kind of intrigued every time the story mentoined an event/person from the past game, it really made me want to learn more about it and try to understand what happened. In the end, I did not feel confused at all about the storyline.

The music is so-so. Surprisingly, one of my favorite musical tracks is Anastacia's Theme. It's a delightful upbeat track that is very pleasing to the ears. Sound effects are good. Gameplay/battle engine feels gimmicky with the ring system; I would have preferred a tried-and-true standard turn based system or an action RPG type of battle engine.

The game unfortunately really drags on and on toward the latter half. I felt the game really should have ended about 10 hours before I managed to finish it...now, normally you don't knock a game for being too long, but you get to a point where you feel like it's being dragged on purpose, in which you are already feeling sick of the game.

Overall, I feel the game has nice graphics, some very cool (but short) CG movies throughout, and an interesting storyline. It has a dark feel to it, and there are a lot of plot twists throughout. You will be very surprised at the end, so make sure you play through to the end!

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GF Rating
9

Excellent

great rpg

posted by eternal (RED BLUFF, CA) May 20, 2006

Member since Apr 2006

1 out of 2 gamers (50%) found this review helpful

this game was one of the single greatest rpg games i have ever played the characters were very adverse and the story was simply well put together. there were times in the game that made me laugh very hard like that idiot wrestler it has many characters with a diversity of moves combos and attitudes this game is a must rent if you like rpg's

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GF Rating
5

Fair

Could be much better

posted by microtonal (AUSTIN, TX) Apr 21, 2006

Member since Dec 2004

4 out of 16 gamers (25%) found this review helpful

Interesting plot and fairly good graphics, but it's completely ruined by the frustrating and unnecessarily complicated battle system, which is in turn made even worse by the unusually high frequency of random monster encounters. The battle system has minimal narrative justification, it just feels like it was tacked on because they couldn't think of anything else to do.

A good RPG is first and foremost about the story and the characters, followed by the problem-solving. Gratuitous tests of one's button-mashing reflexes have very little place in the genre.

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GF Rating
10

Perfect

Amazing Game

posted by Mefathiel (COLUMBUS, MS) Apr 20, 2014

Member since Apr 2014

This is my favorite game. Not favorite RPG or PS2, I mean that when compared to the amazing graphics of FF13 or Dead Space, this is the game I prefer. I've been playing games for a long time and assure you, the only reason why this game has any negative reviews are because of gamers who aren't dumb but have a preference of RPG that leans toward a fantasy setting with a traditional FF combat system.

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GF Rating
8

Very Good

game stopped working

posted by kobin77 (CHICOPEE, MA) May 31, 2012

Member since Mar 2012

I am about 28 hours into the game and it has now frozen and I cannot proceed further. I would still like to finish this game but I cannot due to the freeze. I'm sending it back to you today but rather than sending whats next on my Q could you send me a better working version of shadowhearts covenant?

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GF Rating
9

Excellent

great unknown RPG

posted by protoman71 (EUGENE, OR) Nov 24, 2010

Member since Oct 2010

STORY/7:can't say much without spoiling it but it's a good story nothing
really new.

GAMEPLAY/10:the battle system works fantastically you use the judgement ring for attacking,magic,using items,the lottery and even for getting shop discounts.basically the ring has a small pointer that spins around the ring and you have to hit certain points i.e. magic has steps and attacks have normal and critical hit areas.also you can customize the ring for each character with more attacks or a bigger hit or critical area with items you get from the "ring soul".on top of that every character has some type of special ability like:turning into monsters,muscle arts,sword arts etc. and every special ability levels in it's own way like: collecting soul energy from monsters,defeating wolfs around the world in the "wolf bout" and collecting musical scores from people.

GRAPHICS and VOICE ACTING/8 and 3: the graphics are great for it's time but the voice acting can get very cheesy at times

REPLAY/5:theres not anything that comes to mind that i would go back for except special ability evolving.

TOTAL/9 the game plays great and there are few flaws like easy bosses at many areas lame voices and a very occasional ring glitch here and there all in all a fantastic game.

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GF Rating
8

Very Good

Worth Renting

posted by LuvLee (Four Oaks, NC) Jul 28, 2008

Member since Apr 2008

Enjoyed playing the game, worth the rental. Only things I had a slight problem with.. the voice over was a little off and the ring system for the battles. It was all about timing, that can be a little frustrating. Great story and game.

All in all, game worth renting, worth playing.

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GF Rating
9

Excellent

Surprisingly Perfect

posted by Joenzy (DENVER, CO) Dec 5, 2007

Member since Aug 2007

I really did not start this game with super high expectations, I had played the first game in the series for the PS2 and found that while the game play was innovative the setting and characters were lacking in interest. Once I began the play this game I was taken aback by the odd characters who I would assume I could not like, but found myself growing more involved in their quirky personalities and struggles. I must say that this is definitely one of those games you should try at least once, it's just that good.

The story and dialog is extremely well written and original in its own context. The main female on the cover has a paper thin personality and I felt we were just dragging her around until about twenty hours into the game then all of a sudden she had an interesting moment or two, however all of the secondary characters’ exuberant personalities more than make up for the oddly boring female they decided to paste on the box. I did not finish the game yet, 40 hours into it and not even reaching the second disk I decided I should just buy it, so maybe she might get interesting later. While it may not have the production values of a Final Fantasy the art is gorgeous and world is so well developed you'll easily find yourself spending hours just walking around and checking out the sights. This is definitely a game that deserves more hype and was well worth dusting off the old PS2 for.

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GF Rating
8

Very Good

a great game BUT not perfect....

posted by ghost790 (MANCOS, CO) Oct 30, 2006

Member since Jan 2006

i will will now state the pros. and cons,

pros. good combat system. funny conversations.
memorable characters. lot's of play time,
(it's a long game).

cons. i disliked the story, (it's a very weird ww2
story) didn't fit quiet right graphics aren't too good. enemy design was pretty
bad, compared to ff (final fantasy) it was kind of
plane.

bottom line if you're a fan of the genre you will
almost definitely like a lot if not you may want
to give a try well that's all i have to say

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GF Rating
10

Perfect

1 of the best RPG's EVER!

posted by jumppack (DAVISVILLE, WV) Oct 13, 2006

Member since Oct 2004

I have played almost every RPG known to man, I own every system from atari to 360 and this game is in the top 5 for RPG's.Awsome spells, awsome story,awsome graphics, awsome weapons and armor.TOP OF THE LINE RPG>If you like RPG u cant miss this one .AWSOME,,,,cant wait until i get the next one.

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GF Rating
10

Perfect

M-azing

posted by drewbe (LYNDON CENTER, VT) Sep 10, 2006

Member since Jun 2006

This game is awsome....if you like are rpg's, this is one of the best, second to only the final fantasy series, its so nasty, a MUST play!

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