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Shadow Hearts Series

The series begins with Koudelka, for the Playstation, which is set in 1898. Our three protagonists, Koudelka Iasant, Edward Plunkett/Brankett (differs between UK and US versions) and James O'Flaherty are all drawn the mysterious Neameton Monastery. The game takes place over three days - Halloween, All Saints day, and the morning of November 2nd. The game takes place entirely within the monastery, and centres around events involving the mysterious Émigré manuscript; a mysterious document stolen from the Vatican, which is said to have the power to raise the dead. Koudelka features a unique tactical combat and weapon system, which is not featured in the other games of the series. Koudelka has a gothic horror element, which is not replicated in the other games, except in a bonus dungeon named the Doll’s House, a form of which appears in every other game.

Shadow Hearts is the first game in the series for the Playstation 2. In 1913, Yuri Hyuga is ordered, by the mysterious voice, which guides his life, to rescue a girl from a train on the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Manchuria. This girl is Alice Elliot, the daughter of a murdered priest. She is under the care of the Japanese Imperial Army, although neither she nor Yuri know why she is so important, or why the mysterious Roger Bacon is so keen to get his hands on her. This begins a quest over Asia and Europe, as Yuri and Alice (joined by the mage Zhuzhen, American spy Margarete G. Zelle, vampire Keith Valentine, and street-rat Halley Brankett) seek to discover Alice's importance, Bacon's intent, the identity of the mysterious voice, and Yuri's own relevance. The game takes place over approximately two years, and shares several connections to Koudelka; among other things, Alice's father was a friend of James O'Flaherty, the group visits the site of Neameton Monastery (which even now, still holds it's secrets), and that pesky Émigré manuscript shows up once more.

Shadow Hearts: Covenant is the third game in the series, and the second one to bear the Shadow Hearts name. It's 1915, and Officer Karin Koenig of the German army is ordered to mount an attack on the small French village of Domremy. What should be an easy victory is hindered by the appearance of a strange demon protecting the town, and a priest from the Vatican, Nicolai, is sent to help Karin destroy it. The game, once more, takes place over Europe and Asia, visiting different locations than it's predecessor, although Neameton Monastery makes yet another appearance, along with the Émigré. Characters once more relate to the previous games, Keith’s brother, Joachim Valentine, and Alice’s uncle, Gepetto being the prime examples. Shadow Hearts: Covenant is the second game (after Shadow Hearts) to feature the unique Judgment Ring system, and the first to include the use of combos.

Shadow Hearts: From the New World is more removed from the previous games. It’s 1929, and sixteen-year-old Johnny Garland is a wannabe detective in New York City. When he’s approached by a strange man to find a mysterious professor, he takes on more than he bargained for, in an adventure that takes him across north and south America. Characters are less related to the previous games, although the third Valentine sibling, Hilda, is a playable team member. Roger Bacon also makes an appearance, as he does in every game in the series. From the New World features the Judgment Ring, and an improved version of the combo system, with a unique Stock Gauge. Although this is the one game in which you are unable to visit Wales and Neameton, the Émigré manuscript shows up yet again, in perhaps it’s most dramatic invasion yet.

The series is renowned for it’s quirky and unique sense of humour. The romance between Yuri and Alice is one of the most endearing relationships in video game history, and has incited numerous online arguments. Although Koudelka does not carry the same name, it takes place in the same universe, and the events of it lead directly to the first Shadow Hearts, in a connection stronger than that between Shadow Hearts: From the New World and the rest of the series.

Every game except Koudelka features the Judgment Ring system, which is used to perform actions both in and out of battle. The Judgment Ring is, essentially, a circle, with different coloured segments and a rotating needle, which is stopped by the players input. The area in which the player stops the needle governs the outcome; whether the action is successful or not, and the strength of it. As well as being used for attacks in battle, the ring is used in mini-games, and in order to gain discounts when shopping.

Shadow Hearts: Covenant is generally considered to be the best game of the series, although many people prefer the gothic horror of Koudelka, the romance of Shadow Hearts, or the well-developed combat system of From the New World.

Profiles that belong to Shadow Hearts

TitleRelease YearNew ReviewsUser ReviewsFAQsCheatsForum
Shadow Hearts 2001 p/reviews user reviews FAQs cheats forum
Shadow Hearts: Covenant 2004 p/reviews user reviews FAQs cheats forum
Shadow Hearts: From The New World 2006 p/reviews user reviews FAQs cheats forum
Koudelka 2000 p/reviews user reviews FAQs cheats forum

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