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.
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!
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