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Archaon

Shadow Hearts

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Tell me of these games.

Are they worth picking up? Legitimately?

Is it one of those series where you need to have played the games in order to know what's going on? If so, do I need to include Koudelka? If not, where should I start? Assuming I have a limited attention span or cannot get all three games, would it be worth skipping to the second one for a better gameplay experience, or would I be missing out on too much? Or is the gameplay not any better to begin with?

Should I ignore it entirely and just get God of War instead?

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I don't think Koudelka is recommended to play the Shadow Hearts games. The first Shadow Hearts looks way dated by modern day PS 2 standards, but it might be worthwhile to check it out if you want to play the second game, which you should. It's probably one of my favorite RPG's on the PS 2. Now that I think about it, the second game does have flashbacks as reference from the first game to fill in any plot gaps.

So yea, just play 2 and get both God Of War games.

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I tried to play shadow hearts and as far as I can remember it was terribly put together. Really bad direction/cutscenes, laughable voice-over. I didn't enjoy it at all. I found the opening cut scene here:

All the fanboys/girls saying how great it is in the comments so but maybe its just me.

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Koudelka: Haven't played it, can't comment.

Shadow Hearts 1: A mediocre start to the series. You can tell it was originally intended to be a PS1 game. Muddy prerendered backdrops, high random encounter rate, and the battle system is a little lame duck at this point. On the plus side of things, it's probably the most difficult of the proper trilogy.

Shadow Hearts 2: Awesomest game in the series. Improved graphics, characters, story, and battles. A little less horror-soaked than 1. Battle system is now awesome, includes range in spells and unique movesets are fleshed out and creative. On the easy side of things, but still a worthwhile RPG to play. Too bad the "international" version never saw release here (had like 4 new dungeons, one where you even play as the villains!).

Shadow Hearts 3: Only tenuously related to the previous games. There's some recurring characters and a reference or two to the games of before, but other than that it's an all-new story. More or less abandons the horror and demons of the games, foregoing them in favour of more bizarre and kooky (which could be seen in the previous game, but they go full force here). Battle system is further improved and balanced, characters are zany-awesome (Brazilian ninja, trained by a giant talking cat, anyone?), and the music is as enchanting as the previous game's. Sidequest hell, though. You need to do EVERYTHING to get to the bonus dungeon.

I recommend 2 and 3, but unless you really, really want to emerge yourself in Yuri and Alice's stilted, awkward, poorly-translated relationship, stay away from 1.

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