• Publisher: Midway
  • Release Date: Dec 11, 2001
Shadow Hearts Image
Metascore
73

Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
8.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 102 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Time For Judgment Has Come. A hero with a mysterious past. A young girl holding the key to world domination. A villain who will stop at nothing to unlock the path to unlimited power. [Midway]
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Shadow Hearts Movie 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Shadow Hearts is in turn tragic and comic, deeply philosophical and completely fluffy, and overall a great gaming experience that I was sorry to see come to an end.
  2. It's like going through "Silent Hill" as an RPG or playing through a Clive Barker or Ann Rice novel.
  3. The game is nothing if not involving. A story with real depth, actual humor and pathos, and some dramatic and frightening moments is something you don't see everyday - and even more rare in RPG's.
  4. Game Informer
    78
    At times, Shadow Hearts drudges along with some mind-numbingly stupid puzzles, but the story and the unique battle system always kept me coming back for more. [Jan 2002, p.82]
  5. 70
    A predictable plot and linear gameplay are the minuses to this otherwise well-crafted dark RPG.
  6. This game grabbed me from its opening scenes and didn't let go of me DESPITE its average graphics, quirky golf-like control scheme and plain-vanilla soundtrack.
  7. Just not very exciting. The combat can't find a comfortable medium between action and strategy.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Jun 6, 2020
    10
    Incredibly unique JRPG that combines innovative battle mechanics, alternative history, Lovecraftian horror, and fantasy to create somethingIncredibly unique JRPG that combines innovative battle mechanics, alternative history, Lovecraftian horror, and fantasy to create something wholly original, even nineteen years after its initial release. Music is astoundingly eclectic, almost experimental, in its instrumentation, cresting some truly haunting melodies. Graphics are mixed, which is somewhat excusable, given the games seemingly lower budget. Character modeling is decent, even good in places, but textures are sometimes muddy and ill-defined. Animations are janky, but in a way that oddly lends to the games surreal aesthetic. Much of the titles graphical shortcomings are made up for, in part, thanks to its excellent art direction. Story is strange, sometimes obtuse, but also compelling and engaging. Gameplay is fun and unique, thanks to the games use of an action-time prompt called the judgement ring, which permeates every aspect of the gameplay and encourages careful play due to its purposefully fickle nature. Overall, this is a must play for anyone looking for something to break up the mold of JRPG tropes and staleness. Expand
  2. Dec 28, 2016
    10
    By far one of the best games I've ever played. The characters are compelling, the story amazing and it pushes the envelope on so many otherBy far one of the best games I've ever played. The characters are compelling, the story amazing and it pushes the envelope on so many other things. It's fun, interesting, the world intriguing, the monsters downright terrifying and it explores several different ways of telling a story. I loved all the characters and to this day it is the one game I have played over and over and over again. Expand
  3. Feb 4, 2012
    10
    Very impressive game. It's story is one of the best in RPG history, in my opinion. It's battle system is classic turn-based with a littleVery impressive game. It's story is one of the best in RPG history, in my opinion. It's battle system is classic turn-based with a little twist by use of a thing called the "Judgement Ring". You WILL get attached to the characters. The soundtrack is fantastic and fits the game so well. One of the best game soundtracks I've ever heard. The game graphics are a bit lacking but it was made in 2001 on the PS2. For it's time, the graphics were great. Just one of the little quirks that I'd like to mention, you travel to actual places in the countries of China and Europe in game. Has two different endings depending on certain choices you make. One of my favorite games of all time! There will never be another game like this one, in my opinion. I wish there more RPGs like this now. Expand
  4. BlayseO.
    Jul 13, 2002
    9
    This game is truly a keeper! Great characters, wonderful story, and a battle system that actually requires some effort. I only wish there had This game is truly a keeper! Great characters, wonderful story, and a battle system that actually requires some effort. I only wish there had been more CG! Expand
  5. MarbleX.
    Jan 16, 2006
    9
    Excellent, hampered only by a stupid love story between two completely incompatible people that would never happen IRL. Other than the Excellent, hampered only by a stupid love story between two completely incompatible people that would never happen IRL. Other than the childish romantic plot, really an excellent game with original and creative elements. Expand
  6. Apr 3, 2021
    8
    Buon rpg dallo stile unico. Shadow hearts è un rpg a tema horror che richiama molto allo stile di Lovecraft, ha una buona storia e unBuon rpg dallo stile unico. Shadow hearts è un rpg a tema horror che richiama molto allo stile di Lovecraft, ha una buona storia e un interessante cast di personaggi. Il Sistema di battaglia è molto originale, ma in questo primo titolo è abbastanza limitato. Non è il miglior Rpg che abbia mai giocato, ma ne supera molti in originalità e scrittura. Expand
  7. Mar 28, 2021
    5
    This is the 2nd Shadow Hearts that I've played. Since the internet has nothing but praise to this hidden gem on the PS2, I had high hopes forThis is the 2nd Shadow Hearts that I've played. Since the internet has nothing but praise to this hidden gem on the PS2, I had high hopes for it. In the end, what I found was a game with nothing but unique mediocre experiences.

    At first, I was really enjoying Shadow Hearts. It is a traditional JRPG that wears its inspirations on its sleeves and I appreciate it for this. The battle system is quite unique and keeps you on your toes. It's not perfect and it can get old pretty quick, but it kept me interested for the most part. The presentation is quite simple, but somewhat familiar, which kinda made me feel at home. There's also a nice amount of challenging and fair fights which, despite some weird unbalanced difficulty spikes during boss duels, made me constantly strategize my next moves.
    The atmosphere is probably one of the best things in the game. The whole tone and story can get very dark and, at times, even creepy. Whether you're in dungeons, cities or doing sidequests, the music is unsettling and the feeling is moody. There's even a place called Dollhouse that made it feel a lot like I was playing an RPG version of the first Resident Evil. Sidequests felt a litte short (which is not exactly bad), but they were nice, expanding a bit more on characters like Keith and Margarette, while also establishing some world-building.

    It's just sad that this feeling of joy didn't last very long.
    The battle system got dull. The enemy variety is nothing but the same 10 monsters with their color palette swapped, the music became repetitive and not at all memorable, characters just never developed and the writing is bad!
    I know that the battle system is cool and all, but did EVERYTHING in the game have to revolve around the ring mechanic? Puzzles, item usage, getting discounts on shops and even reviving a fallen character. And did it have to be this punishing? That definitely did not help when it comes to variety.
    Some other mechanics in the system felt unnecessary. Did we really need to keep quieting Malice? Did we really need sanity points? Did we need acunpuncture or the graveyard at all? The feeling I got from all of it was that the game's mechanics were there just to **** with you, not to create a decent gameplay experience.
    And what's up with the story? The writing starts off ok, but it get super tiresome, with some rather uninteresting plot points and "turns". I couldn't care less about half of the things that happened after we left Asia and I couldn't care about ANY character in the game.

    I just cannot recommend this game. It's not bad, but it screams mediocrity and boredom.
    It's nice that it brought a different type of element to a traditional genre, and it's also good that it was the beginning of a fine trilogy, but it's certainly not special.
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See all 31 User Reviews

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Awards & Rankings

80
23
#23 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2001
50
#50 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2001