• Publisher: Midway
  • Release Date: Sep 27, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 49 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 49
  2. Negative: 0 out of 49
Buy On
  1. 91
    I had just experienced one of the best role-playing games this year...The battle system is great, the characters are awesome, the storyline is among the best of the year, and the presentation is top-notch.
  2. Even if you don't explore all the nooks and crannies, Shadow Hearts: Covenant is a great game that any fan of the role-playing genre would likely enjoy; its style, its humor, and its well-crafted battle system set it apart in a world of "Final Fantasy" clones.
  3. Covenant is such an interesting mix of old-world immersion, nice plot twists, layered (and super-quirky) characters, and rewarding combat. [Oct 2004, p.132]
  4. An exceedingly enjoyable RPG that’s both captivating and addictive enough to keep fans of the genre more than satisfied.
  5. Cheat Code Central
    Only the best elements have been preserved and put to good use to continue the series. Covenant gives us great characters, a unique and fun to use combat system and a storyline that takes on a life of its own.
  6. It's really a no-brainer for RPG fans even with the genre being so crowded this season. Personally, I put Shadow Hearts Covenant in my top three RPGs this generation.
  7. It just works; it combines a challenging combat system with likeable characters and a unique setting to create a truly excellent game. Covenant is easily a contender for the title of best RPG on the PS2.
  8. 80
    It's a nifty twist on the traditional RPG in both its battle engine and the offbeat nuances of its plot. The pacing could have been a touch faster, but it's a small gripe in the grand scheme of things.
  9. The voice acting in the game is downright awful - especially painful after hearing the excellent voice acting in "Tales of Symphonia."
  10. It’s funny, bizarre and, at times, downright filthy, precisely the kinds of things I look for in my Japanese games. Unfortunately, it’s got other things I'm not so crazy about, like few sub-quests, constant random battles and excessive loading. But if you like your games sexy, this might be the perfect match.
  11. 90
    With splendid visuals, new fighting innovations, and a snappy sense of humor that anyone can comprehend, Shadow Hearts: Covenant dazzles you every step of the way. [Nov 2004, p.156]
  12. 70
    A game whose lack of originality is matched only by its abundance of... well, pretty much everything else.
  13. games(TM)
    You’ll see and hear a lot of things your senses weren’t prepared for and revisiting a more traditional RPG afterwards is like walking out after an all-night party and going straight to the local library... A wonderfully pleasant and refreshing surprise. [March 2005, p.112]
  14. I haven’t played an RPG this good since "Dark Cloud 2." It’s so polished and ingenious that it’s a wonder that Midway hasn’t put more marketing muscle behind it. Make no mistake, this is the best RPG to come out this year and may very well be the best RPG to come out for quite some time.
  15. Shadow Hearts is not a short game by any means, as it will take normal gamers anywhere from thirty to forty hours to complete.
  16. 80
    It's balanced to near-perfection, and manages to pack very few slow moments into a few dozen hours of gameplay. Sure, it's not a Square-Enix title, but you'll be surprised at just how good this game is.
  17. AceGamez
    Quite honestly, it doesn't have anything on the pioneering Dark Chronicle or the flawless Final Fantasy VII, but then you'd have to do something pretty special to outdo those two.
  18. Both innovative and at times odd, Shadow Hearts: Covenant is a treat for RPG fans looking for something a little different than all of the RPG clones out there.
  19. Play Magazine
    An eclectic, distinctly Japanese RPG mix that takes us to a place just beyond the fringes of our reality. [Oct 2004, p.72]
  20. Pelit (Finland)
    The judgement ring fighting system and the semi-realistic surroundings are the major high points. [Apr. 05]
  21. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    It has a great sense of humor - but it handles the serious stuff with equal panache. [Nov 2004, p.144]
  22. 80
    The judgment ring makes even buying herbs at the shop entertaining, and the linear story jazzed up with a number of side-quests will keep your interest throughout.
  23. As far as sequels go, Shadow Hearts: Covenant gets everything right by improving upon nearly everything. As far as RPGs go, the quality of the game is obvious.
  24. 90
    It features everything that makes a great RPG great, and offers a lot more that many don't. Shadow Hearts: Covenant is one of the unexpected surprises of the year.
  25. Easily one of the most refreshingly original adventures to grace the PS2 to date. Elements conspire to create a well-rounded and enjoyable gaming experience that will keep you entertained for all of its 40-odd hours and aside from the odd annoying section (being forced to use underpowered characters early in the second disc, for instance), there really isn't anything stopping this being one of the best RPGs due out this year.
  26. Yet again the Shadow Hearts series delivers, and really you’d be a fool not to try out this original and captivating series. As for now this is the finest RPG on the Playstation 2.
  27. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    Saves itself from mediocrity through sheer force of its oddity. I honestly don't know what to expect next from Nautilus. [Nov 2004, p.138]
  28. PSM Magazine
    Ridiculously good. With a stacked roster of fun personalities, a wicked sense of humor that never lets up, and a vast, captivating quest, the words "epic" and "engaging" don't really do this one justice. [Nov 2004, p.78]
  29. The game features spectacular presentation, including some of the most memorable music to come along in an RPG in ages.
  30. Offers a nice twist on the role-playing genre, blending a fascinating and darkly brooding plot with the occasional and very bizarre dark humor while throwing in an interesting twist to the genre’s weakest point –fighting.
  31. 93
    It's been a long time since I've played an RPG this engrossing in terms of story and yet was still fun to play after 35+ hours. Shadow Hearts: Covenant is one of those rare games that you simply don't want to end.
  32. All I can say is WOW! This game is amazing! Shadow Hearts: Covenant is in my opinion one of the best RPG to hit the scene this year.
  33. Not only is it the best RPG I’ve played this year; it is a serious contender for Game of the Year in my opinion.
  34. Along with "Star Ocean," "Kingdom Hearts" and "Dark Chronicle," this is one of the few RPGs that dares to throw away the Final Fantasy blueprint, with great results. [PSM2]
  35. A rock-solid Role-Playing Game with a moving story, believable characters, and loads of great humor that keep it from dragging you down...Hands-down the definitive role-playing experience for the PlayStation 2.
  36. netjak
    It's a LONG role-playing game, but that's not necessarily a good quality when it becomes more of a chore than a hobby.
  37. Covenant’s quirky charm, nifty battle system and likeable characters comprise a noteworthy RPG and its strange yet satisfying story sets it apart from other, similar RPG titles.
  38. GMR Magazine
    The gameplay is what will make or break Covenant for you; to be honest, it's nothing new. But the game is so chock-full of clever little intertwined ideas that you won't mind. [Nov 2004, p.126]
  39. It’s old-school and traditional, but has gameplay depth unique to it, and a wicked sense of humor that will keep you going without fear of falling into the melodrama trap.
  40. Had the comedy not fallen so flat and completely undermined what is otherwise a great story to follow, I seriously would have considered this as a personal RPG of the Year contender for last year seeing that the gameplay is just as fun as any RPG that came out in 2004.
  41. 80
    If you think you might be an RPG fan, this is definitely one to grab.
  42. There's not much that's revolutionary, but the compelling story, nutty characters and lack of pretentiousness and convoluted game-play elements make this a worthwhile addition.
  43. Luckily, the adventure and the Judgment Ring aspect of combat lend themselves to a quality title that's sure to be a nice change of pace for those who love Final Fantasy.
  44. 90
    Its style is like no other, and the mechanics behind battles are rock solid.
  45. A lengthy, two-disc tale with all the sidequesting most people could ever want, Shadow Hearts: Covenant took me nearly 40 hours start to finish. And yet, after all that I still wanted to keep playing, yet another sign of greatness.
  46. Weekly Famitsu
    8 / 8 / 9 / 7 - 32 gold [Vol 793; 27 Feb 2004]
  47. 90
    It is unique, addictive, funny, well-written, and above all, memorable.
  48. Pelaaja (Finland)
    The game’s unique style, off-beat humour and memorable characters give it enough strength to rise above the bland Final Fantasy –clones and stand on its own merits. [May 2005, p.73]
  49. Even if disk two is useful only as a coaster for your role-playing coffee mug, Shadow Hearts: Covenant will still give you thirty hours of fantastic gameplay. That, in my opinion, is worth paying for.

Awards & Rankings

#37 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
#27 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 73 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 73
  2. Negative: 3 out of 73
  1. WalterN.
    Jan 3, 2007
    Simply the best RPG I've played. The FMVs and the story is near unmatched by most of today's new animes on all consoles. The Simply the best RPG I've played. The FMVs and the story is near unmatched by most of today's new animes on all consoles. The gameplay is also very unique. Xenogears still remains the best ever. Full Review »
  2. Dec 13, 2012
    It took everything that made the first game great and made it better. While in principle it play very similarly to the first game not reallyIt took everything that made the first game great and made it better. While in principle it play very similarly to the first game not really adding too much new, that isn't a bad thing. The first game was fantastic so why change the formula. But the real star here is the narrative. The story is utterly gripping. Yuri's journey is really touching and dark (to be honest I nearly wanted to cry by the end.) The rest of the companion characters are unique with fully flushed out characters (Joachim is just a laugh a minute.) The story and atmosphere aren't as dark as the first game but do have more depth and drama. If I had to mention one critique, it is that the relationship between Yuri & Karin plays out in a VERY similar way as Cloud & Tifa's from Final Fantasy 7. Again this isn't really bad, just noticeable. Overall: A terrific RPG that is just as good as the first one, if not better. Full Review »
  3. KatyG.
    Feb 14, 2006
    Awsome!I love it! I am trying to fight the jellyfish thing so I can get the book thing. But this game is just cool!