posted by jfriedlan (GRAND RAPIDS, MI) May 5, 2007
Member since May 2006
gamers (100%) found this review helpful
Currently about 35 hours into this game. My initial impressions of this game were highly positive. The in game tutorial introduced me to spells, melee, stack usage, combos, and the judgement ring.
Continuing on my way, I was introduced to a few new characters with unique abilities and started figuring out the strategies that I'd use for the rest of the game. Sounds great. It started out that way at least.
There's a lot to be said about this game. The traditional stale buy/sell mechanic is enhanced just a little by letting the test of reflexes known as the judgement ring determine both the final price and how many merchant points you get, which can increase the price adjustment and open new items.
This ring gameplay mechanic controls fights, buy/sell, minigames (lottery), and probably more. The problem is that it's pretty much static. By the time you've mastered it or grown bored with it, you've mastered or grown bored with everything the game has. The magic system is dull with uninventive spell names like "bright decide". They attempted to capture Final Fantasy's appeal by combining materia and garment grids to make Stellar charts. Neither novel nor stellar.
The inventive and appropriate battle team lets you select 3 parties of characters to greatly reduce the time required to switch teams in the config screen. But the characters are similar enough that there's really no need. Each character has their own set of special moves, but I don't think any of them have more than 3 or 4 unique abilities which very strongly overlap with the materia system.
It's great fun to find ways to exploit the combo system such as air spells for high combo hits chained to an entrance+combo magic finish which easily breaks 2000 damage on the final blow alone. But unfortunately, standard encounters are dull and repetitive and can be finished very easily without using any of this.
A lot reminds me of FF. But FFX-2, FFXII… were all far superior. Worth a rental only.
gamers (100%) found this review helpful
I have only played one other Shadow hearts game, Covenant, but I really liked it. So when I saw this Shadow Hearts from the New World coming out I was really excited... but all in all I felt the story was really weak and the game play was lacking in originality. I felt none of the characters were compelling or even likable, especially the girl, Shania. The story and character development was slow and familiar. Also, the battle system wasn't creative, the same Judgment ring as before. I think the Shadow Hearts series is an interesting twist on the average RPG, they are funny, and also a little bit strange, but I think if you are wanting that in a game, you are better off with Covenant.
gamers (90%) found this review helpful
Graphics 8/10 Definitely a strong point of this game. Shadow Hearts: From the New World, hosts beautiful cut scenes, and a decent detail to the world.
Game play 7/10 The battles are, like many RPG's, random encounters in dungeon areas. Every action a player makes in a battle could be enhanced by hitting a small red critical area of a wheel, of course there was a normal type hit area...and a missing area. Not being as fast as the wheel demands could mean the outcome of the battle, for me this was very annoying and I found that I needed to equip special items that slowed the wheel down by 50% just to survive some of the harder battles. The world map, somewhat like Final Fantasy X, wasn't exactly great though, and being a fan of exploration, made the game play less fun to me, even though when you entered an area, and usually they had plenty to explore, it would be just like you entered it from the world map you could actually run around in.
Sound 10/10 The music and sound effects were jaw dropping. I loved the boss music, and the normal encounter music never seemed to get old. Even the not so aggressive music on the maps seemed to appeal to me!
UI/Controls 9/10 The user interface was great. The menus gave easy access to many things. The controls were never really nasty to me either, although, like I stated in the battle section, I am no fan of the battle wheel.
Story 8/10 The story, being a huge part of any game, wasn't the worse I've ever seen, but definitely not the best. It got kind of boring at times, and although there were some twists in it, nothing to make you jump up and shout.
Overall 9/10 Definitely a good game, something worth at least checking out, maybe even buying.