• Publisher: Midway
  • Release Date: Dec 11, 2001
User Score
8.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 85
  2. Negative: 3 out of 85
Buy On

Review this game

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. DarienA.
    Dec 21, 2001
    7
    A solid title with adult learnings and a twist on your standard turn based battle formula.
  2. 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 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 inVery 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
  3. NickD.
    Mar 20, 2002
    10
    Hours and Hours of Enjoyment, very creative and cool characters.
  4. FeytH.
    May 13, 2004
    10
    This is one really fun game.I rented it and now I went to Olympia yester day and i bought it.
  5. Mar 11, 2013
    7
    While beeing short the story really succeds beeing the best story of the entire SH Franchies having nice twists in it. The dark touch doesnt do the game bad either but the graphics could be better when you think about that this actually is a PS2 game. The SH Franchise has one of the best main protoganists ever.
  6. Aug 19, 2012
    10
    An amazing RPG! The story is compelling and emotional, the combat is creative and fun, and the music is stunning. My only problems is that the graphics look a bit dated, there is little voice acting, and when there is voice acting, it is absolutely terrible. Other than that, this is an RPG you need to check out!
  7. May 23, 2018
    7
    Shadow Hearts is a decent RPG in an era of excellent RPG's.

    The overall story is not very unique but the atmosphere and world-building within that story is what sets Shadow Hearts apart from other games. The main characters are enjoyable and have some decent dialogue but the rest of the characters that make up your team are essentially just there to fill the roles in the party, with the
    Shadow Hearts is a decent RPG in an era of excellent RPG's.

    The overall story is not very unique but the atmosphere and world-building within that story is what sets Shadow Hearts apart from other games. The main characters are enjoyable and have some decent dialogue but the rest of the characters that make up your team are essentially just there to fill the roles in the party, with the exception of one who helps tie the game to it's predecessor, Koudelka.

    The battle system is unique and requires the player to actively press the X button to connect all of their attacks (similar to The Legend of Dragoon) with the Judgement Wheel. There are various pieces of equipment and usable items that affect the wheel in different ways, which adds an interesting layer to the battles that is unique to Shadow Hearts.

    Where the game may turn some people off is the fact that it is 90% linear and you move from point to point on the world map when the game allows you too. There are a few side quests to be had near the end of the game but they don't offer much, if anything, to the story and characters they involve. There are also some missable quests that give you the chance to improve your main character, as well as get the 'good' ending but you have no way of knowing about these quests, or when you've gone too far to complete them, which can be frustrating. Additionally, the game clocks in between 30-40 hours. I was personally fine with this, I felt like the game was ready to end and wasn't outstaying it's welcome but some people may be looking for more length (which is where better side-quests can help).

    Lastly, there is a bit of an imbalance when it comes to improving your gear in the game, specifically the weapons. There is an upgrade system where you can pay to improve your weapons but it quickly becomes very costly to do this and you generally replace the weapon with a better one within a few hours of playing anyway, leading to the player either ignoring the mechanic until the end of the game or constantly being broke trying to keep the weapons upgraded, which costs a fortune and requires a lot of grinding to do.

    Overall, Shadow Hearts is a decent game on the Playstation 2 and worth playing if you're an RPG fan who can appreciate the older generation of games with all of their shortcomings. I recommend it primarily because the battle system is fun and keeps the player involved and the 'real world' setting with fantasy elements to it is unique and makes Shadow Hearts feel different than other RPG's of this generation.
    Expand
  8. AnonymousMC
    Sep 6, 2009
    9
    A very surprising game. I got a lend of this and didn't think it was gonna be much. But i was wrong it is a very unique and highly unappreciated game. Its no FFX but it has its own style and ifur not 2 fussy about graphics then u will like this game.
  9. PaigeL.
    Feb 17, 2002
    10
    What else can I say, it is good!
  10. JustinL.
    Mar 10, 2002
    8
    I thought it was a hella good game, but I thought the ending sucked.
  11. MarkD.
    Apr 10, 2002
    9
    It's different but great.
  12. JulianK.
    Apr 7, 2002
    10
    This Game is F*cking sweet Great storyline, Spooky atmosphere, and vary funny at times. Also has a much more mature aspect talking about sex and other things.
  13. EduardoR.
    Sep 30, 2004
    9
    Great game. Very different to anything I have played before. Great story I love the combination of Dark atmosphere and comedic situations.
  14. MarkA.
    Mar 2, 2002
    10
    10, 10 A fu..ing 10. This game has lots of gore and that's what I like to see!!!
  15. AdamS.
    Apr 27, 2002
    8
    Great atmosphere, unique battle system. Great characters, I only wish it were longer and with more CG.
  16. MarkL.
    Dec 1, 2003
    9
    I enjoyed this game so much that wheni finished i started again within a few hours later.
  17. 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 childish romantic plot, really an excellent game with original and creative elements.
  18. 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 been more CG!
  19. VidM.
    Nov 9, 2004
    7
    Great game. Too short.
  20. Jul 6, 2012
    8
    Few big issues makes this game a very hard choice to take, and one of them is the extremely dated graphics: even when it came out in 2001-2002, it was pretty bad and really outdated, making it more similar to a ps1 title (I'm pretty sure that some ps1 titles had better graphics than this). Add the fact that it has no voice overs, a very old mechanics, since the spells are learned via levelFew big issues makes this game a very hard choice to take, and one of them is the extremely dated graphics: even when it came out in 2001-2002, it was pretty bad and really outdated, making it more similar to a ps1 title (I'm pretty sure that some ps1 titles had better graphics than this). Add the fact that it has no voice overs, a very old mechanics, since the spells are learned via level up, which is nice, but also makes some characters virtually useless, and some extremely needed (Alice is basically the only healer, if you don't count Yuri), you can see this game is extremely dated for a ps2 game. However, this game still is incredibly good and for many good reasons that can easily crash the flaws. One of them, is the setting, which is a lot different than usual, and it will make you play in the period before the first world war, although there isn't much about history here. Also, another good point is the theme: the game is very mature for an RPG because you'll be defeating not just monsters, but DEMONS, and really the only other game that can be compared to this is probably only the Shin Megami Tensei series (which has also demons, and a modern setting too). Also has a very nice story and interesting characters, especially Yuri, which has the ability to fuse himself with demons: unlike many RPG heros, he's extremely different and much more likeable than the average young and inexperienced hero. (also the others can be interesting, like Keith). What really wins here, is the different setting and theme, and not even the technical issues and the dated mechanics can make this game too old, even though this game is extremely short (finished in less than 30 hours, with most of the secrets unlocked). So if you like RPGs with a more realistic setting, a darker scenery, and like to kill demons and REAL monsters, I highly suggest to give it a look: this might be a small gem among the many other RPGs. Expand
  21. Dec 13, 2012
    9
    Truly a fantastic horror RPG. A jaw dropping intro (at least it was at the time,) unique and well design characters, beautiful visuals and truely an interesting idea for a combat system, which is a little frustrating at first, but once you get the hang of it, a sheer pleasure. Overall: One of the best RPGs on the PS2 that should be tried by everyone.
  22. May 16, 2018
    8
    + The game has a very dark mood to it, which works brilliantly.
    + The story is ok, it could of been better, the characters aren't very interesting except for Alice.
    + SP add a lot to the game it gives you something else to think about during battles. + The judgement ring adds a lot to the game, your timing decides the power of you attacks. - You can feel cheated when you get a perfect
    + The game has a very dark mood to it, which works brilliantly.
    + The story is ok, it could of been better, the characters aren't very interesting except for Alice.
    + SP add a lot to the game it gives you something else to think about during battles.
    + The judgement ring adds a lot to the game, your timing decides the power of you attacks.
    - You can feel cheated when you get a perfect hit on the judgement ring and still miss randomly.
    - Malice is annoying. You go to a graveyard, killing an enemy when your malice meter turns red.
    - The game is little short for what you might expect from an JRPG.
    - Voice acting isn't great and there isn't much of it.
    Expand
  23. Mar 30, 2016
    9
    This game is very good, with great writing, cool characters and quite decent fights due to the judgment ring mechanics. The fact that you can take risks when attacking to deal more damage or much less or actually no damage at all is very cool, it gives the turn-based system of its battles something many games lack, it's original. The game is short and its graphics are not the best, butThis game is very good, with great writing, cool characters and quite decent fights due to the judgment ring mechanics. The fact that you can take risks when attacking to deal more damage or much less or actually no damage at all is very cool, it gives the turn-based system of its battles something many games lack, it's original. The game is short and its graphics are not the best, but that's not too important, the most important thing is that it's very enjoyable. Expand
  24. 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 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.
  25. Jul 10, 2019
    10
    Probably the best RPG on the PS2. A horror take on the turn-based RPG genre, with timing thrown in to keep menu based combat engaging. The story is very dark, and will keep you entertained until the end. The game's introductory cutscene draws you in and gears you up for the dark, horror ridden RPG madness that is to come. Not your typical JRPG game, but it's one of the best offerings theProbably the best RPG on the PS2. A horror take on the turn-based RPG genre, with timing thrown in to keep menu based combat engaging. The story is very dark, and will keep you entertained until the end. The game's introductory cutscene draws you in and gears you up for the dark, horror ridden RPG madness that is to come. Not your typical JRPG game, but it's one of the best offerings the genre has even today! Expand
  26. Aug 9, 2019
    10
    Best RPG I have ever played. Story, ambient, characters, combat system, music... all of it are perfect.
    My favorite game of all time, RPG or not RPG. A must play for everybody.

Awards & Rankings

80
27
#27 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2001
50
#50 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2001
Metascore
73

Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Shadow Hearts’ enthralling plot and superb combat system make this one a keeper. Did I mention the micro-skirted heroine?
  2. 55
    This story and this world deserved to be supported by better graphics and game design.
  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.