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Author Topic: Shadow Hearts: From the New World thread of ALL THREADS  (Read 2865 times)
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depward
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« on: March 07, 2006, 09:23:06 AM »

I've been waiting patiently for Shadow Hearts: From the New World to come ever since hearing about it.  I can remember just how torn I was to purchase the $100 USD or so Japanese premium box set back in July '05 even though I wouldn't have been able to play the game.  I just wanted Shadow Hearts stuff.

From the incredibly . . . colorful . . . character cast to the awesome Judgement Ring, I've really enjoyed the first two games of the Shadow Hearts series more so than any other RPG game.  To me, they have always had the perfect blend of gameplay to story to humor.

Early indications seem as though Shadow Hearts: From the New World only delivers more of the same.

Instead of crafting a whole different game, it seems that Nautilus has generally kept everything intact gameplay-wise and moved it to a 1930's setting.  Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The wacky characters are there, from a white business man Ninja who learned his ninja arts in South America to a cat who aspires to become a movie star to a mariachi singer and even a vampire who fights depending on her varying body weight.  Weird stuff indeed.

And from a review:  "... and when dealing with the two gay bikers that sell items seemingly everywhere you go."  Need to have that in there   :lol:

The graphics by reviewer's standards as well as by my personal opinion seem to be on-par if not better than Covenant's graphics, which is really something.  I thought Covenant was one of the best looking games on the PS2.

So I suppose my excitement has spurred me to start this thread.  I'll be picking up my preorder Wednesday after work and then most likely will proceed to play whenever possible.  I invite everyone else who plays to post impressions of how they like SH: FTNW.  With a $40 price tag and reviewers saying such things as:

Quote
I haven't had this much fun immersing myself in a RPG since Final Fantasy X and that's the honest truth. Dragon Quest VIII was perfect old-school reflection, but Nautilus has crafted something that feels fresh without it getting too insane with useless game mechanics. The storyline is great and peppered with genuine swings of humor and heart, the battle system relentlessly addictive and the overall experience one of such polish that I can't possibly think of a reason why everyone shouldn't at least give it a try.

Cause hey, if nothing else it has girl/girl kissing and lots of boobies.


I can't wait to play Wednesday.

WHO IS WITH ME?!
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EddieA
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2006, 09:44:40 AM »

Can't wait, even though I'm only halfway through Covenant.  I've always liked timing-based battle systems, and I love the real-world settings, especially the Native American ones.  I'll also be getting Tales of Phantasia Wednesday, and I just started MS Saga and Tales of Legendia.  Then, there will be a whole 3 weeks without a major RPG release until Suikoden 5 and Kingdom Hearts 2.
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2006, 09:58:30 AM »

Quote from: "depward"
WHO IS WITH ME?!


I've been waiting for this too.  I'll be getting this along with the new Onimusha.  The PS2 has been getting all the love as of late.  I heart my PS2. smile
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2006, 01:49:28 PM »

Quote from: "depward"
I can't wait to play Wednesday.

WHO IS WITH ME?!


I pimped the first two SH games to the ends of the earth, so of course I'm in.
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2006, 04:24:06 PM »

I'm also getting it. Been a fan of Shadow Hearts since I tracked down its first iteration.
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2006, 04:33:22 PM »

I got it pre-ordered, but since I am only about halfway through the first one (just got through the ruined temple and about to assault the tower in Shanghai) I may transfer my store credit to GRAW.  There's not much sense in having the game sitting around while I finish parts 1 & 2, even if it doesn't follow Yuri.  But yes, I'm in.
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2006, 04:37:51 PM »

Played the OPM demo Sunday night and after getting a Perfect on the ring during the first battle all of the Shadow Hearts mojo came instantly back to me.  

Absolutely In!
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2006, 07:06:09 PM »

Do you need to play these games in order?  I never played the first one and I am halfway through the second one, but I have the new one coming tomorrow.  Would it ruin the 2nd one if I started the 3rd one when I get it?
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2006, 07:19:23 PM »

I am probably going to try the demo and then decide. If youguys tell me there are fewer gay carnival wrestlers and less of the talking dog it might help.
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2006, 07:44:02 PM »

Quote from: "Calvin"
I am probably going to try the demo and then decide. If youguys tell me there are fewer gay carnival wrestlers and less of the talking dog it might help.


Well, the demo has two gay bikers so....

Honestly, if didn't care for Covenant, I can't imagine there is anything in From the New World for you.  

Quote from: "The_Man"
Do you need to play these games in order? I never played the first one and I am halfway through the second one, but I have the new one coming tomorrow. Would it ruin the 2nd one if I started the 3rd one when I get it?


FTNW is more of a side game than a direct sequel, so I don't think you need to have finished the second game, but for all I know it might link more heavily toward the end of the game, as the second game did with the first.
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2006, 07:50:53 PM »

Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
Quote from: "Calvin"
I am probably going to try the demo and then decide. If youguys tell me there are fewer gay carnival wrestlers and less of the talking dog it might help.


Well, the demo has two gay bikers so....

Honestly, if didn't care for Covenant, I can't imagine there is anything in From the New World for you.  

Quote from: "The_Man"
Do you need to play these games in order? I never played the first one and I am halfway through the second one, but I have the new one coming tomorrow. Would it ruin the 2nd one if I started the 3rd one when I get it?


FTNW is more of a side game than a direct sequel, so I don't think you need to have finished the second game, but for all I know it might link more heavily toward the end of the game, as the second game did with the first.

I am thinking Gamefly Kevin...at least to get a feel for it.
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2006, 01:58:07 AM »

Actually there is no risk of seeing talking dogs in this game.  However, there is a talking cat who happens to be a drunken style martial art expert.   :wink:

The first part of the game is good, especially the sequence involving Al Capone, Edna, and Ricardo.  However, there is good amount of padding in the 2nd half with all the dungeon crawl.
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2006, 06:10:42 AM »

IGN reviewed it - gave it a 7.8.  They say it doesn't quite live up Covenant; IGN's RPG of the year for 2004.  But that it does capture some of the magic of its predecessor but just doesn't do everything quite as well as Covenant.

Here are some quotes I thought were nice:

Quote
When told, this story actually works pretty well. Other than a few short cameos by some returning characters, the plot in From the New World stands alone and allows new players to come in without having to worry about past situations. There are even a couple of really surprising plot twists that I didn't see coming (which is rare for a guy that plays just about every RPG out there), and a good portion of the dialogue and character interactions strike a solid balance between humor and seriousness.


And this is nice:

Quote
The sheer number of things that players can do in-between the main plot points definitely deserves a mention, though. In addition to the typical stuff you'd expect to see in any RPG (fetch quests, ultimate weapon hunting, etc), there are also a surprising number of mini-games that enables players to trade items for rare booty, participate in trivia contests, and throw down in pit fights. Multiple endings and a "New Game +" feature have also been included, and if you want to get everything, you'll absolutely have to use it.


Overall, the reviewer states that the battle system is great and that the production values are very high.  However, the reviewer says that the pacing of the story is a bit weird and that FtNW has some poor dungeon designs.

Overall, not too bad of a review.  The short-comings are issues I can deal with.  Looking forward to pick it up tomorrow!
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2006, 01:44:19 PM »

Quote
This uneven storytelling isn't helped at all by the lackluster voice acting either.


This is dissapointing.  I thought the amazing voice work in SH:  C was one of the games huge strong points.  

I'm hoping it actually shows up today.  I didn't get the standard pre-order call from Gamestop, so I wonder if they're not getting it until tomorrow.  frown
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2006, 03:59:17 PM »

Quote from: "Gratch"
Quote
This uneven storytelling isn't helped at all by the lackluster voice acting either.


This is dissapointing.  I thought the amazing voice work in SH:  C was one of the games huge strong points.  

I'm hoping it actually shows up today.  I didn't get the standard pre-order call from Gamestop, so I wonder if they're not getting it until tomorrow.  frown


I got the call last night from Gamestop, so hopefully I should have it in hand tonight.  I was trying to get GRAW too, but from what I understand if you didn't pre-order it your out of luck.
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2006, 06:32:31 PM »

I have a big problem with this series.  I was thinking about how I would go about expressing what's held me back from enjoying Shadow Hearts, but I was sort of struggling to put it into words, so I took the time to read Gamespy's review of the game and there at the bottom was the answer:

Quote
Shadow Hearts: From the New World is a very well rounded, excellently produced role-playing game. It suffers from trying to do too much at once, enticing you with a new character and an interesting new story direction, but then as soon as you're prepared to delve into them, it's time to move on, almost like you'd need to treat the writers for attention deficit disorder.


And I realized, holy crap, that's it.  The series has all these great ideas in both mechanics and storyline, and it all seems very intriguing, but in practice, it's all half-baked.  Like the combat system's inclusion of positioning and 'sanity' -- they're two interesting ideas that are nothing more than frustrating niggles in practice, adding no depth at all.  Or take the main character's morphing power in Covenant -- you've got, what, eight elementals to choose from?  Again, it seems deep at first glance, but then you realize every elemental is basically the same model with a different skin, and they all fight the same, and they all have basically the same abilities which do the same amount of damage and I as a player am left wondering why the hell I should care.

I guess what I don't like about Shadow Hearts is the fact that it feels so amateur, so much less than the sum of its parts.  I'd love to see the studio gobbled up by Square Enix, given a hardass manager, and put to work.  Man we'd get a great game out of that.  As it stands right now, I really don't think these folks have the discipline or experience to make all their great ideas come together -- and it shows.
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2006, 07:02:17 PM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"

And I realized, holy crap, that's it.  The series has all these great ideas in both mechanics and storyline, and it all seems very intriguing, but in practice, it's all half-baked.  Like the combat system's inclusion of positioning and 'sanity' -- they're two interesting ideas that are nothing more than frustrating niggles in practice, adding no depth at all.  Or take the main character's morphing power in Covenant -- you've got, what, eight elementals to choose from?  Again, it seems deep at first glance, but then you realize every elemental is basically the same model with a different skin, and they all fight the same, and they all have basically the same abilities which do the same amount of damage and I as a player am left wondering why the hell I should care.



There's some truth there but I don't consider the relative lack of depth as issues in mainstream RPGs.  Strat RPGs or Tactics RPGs, sure, but in a genre where the defacto standard are two columns of immovable sides lined up against each other exchanging blows in a strictly turn based manner, combat systems become unique just by the variations involved even if the variations never progress beyond interesting in the realm of actual depth.  

In the case of Covenant, position did matter for many of the area attack spells and I was always extremely cognizant of whether enemies were close enough to each other for different sorts of area  or line attacks.  And I was much happier with the sanity system in Covenant than in the original precisely because Covenant downplayed it a bit.  Sanity was a major concern in the original and directly impacted the summons since Yuri usually didn't have the Sanity points to transform more than once per battle.  However, it wasn't a play mechanic I particularly enjoyed and Covenant's system, where it was a much lower concern but still occassionally impacted my battle strategy enough to make it interesting rather than annoying.  

Basically, I see the goal of conventional RPG battle systems to feed the ADD side of the gamer- give me enough options at all times to make the battles interesting but don't make me think about the each action to the point that it slows the game down and makes it more like a SRPG.  

The Shadow Hearts series, so far, has really excelled at giving the player tons of options both in battle and out so as to help conceal the repitition so intrinsic to the genre.  Neither game can be truly classified as difficult but they do reward players who take advantage of the ins and outs of the combat system.
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2006, 07:33:01 PM »

Positioning is important in Covenant, as it affects combos and area of effect spells.  Getting surrounded by an enemy can devastate your party, even with enemies you'd normally have an easy time defeating.  It would be nice to have more control over positioning and be able to see the whole battlefield at once, but it's at least as deep as the majority of console RPG battle systems.  Also, the summons have different abilities depending on their element - some heal, some protect from status, some speed up your party, etc. in addition to dealing damage.

"I'd love to see the studio gobbled up by Square Enix"
At least some of the Nautilus team used to work for Square, where they worked on Final Fantasy 6.  You can see FF6's influence in the SH games in how each character has a different method of attacking.  I'd love to see the next SH game use FF6's different control scheme for each character.
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2006, 08:03:42 PM »

You know, why is the PSM mag with the demo disc 10 freaking bucks? thats 1/4 the cost of this game new just to try out the damn demo. That really pisses me off frown
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2006, 08:36:50 PM »

REVENGE OF THE QUOTE BY QUOTE RESPONSE

Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
There's some truth there but I don't consider the relative lack of depth as issues in mainstream RPGs.  Strat RPGs or Tactics RPGs, sure, but in a genre where the defacto standard are two columns of immovable sides lined up against each other exchanging blows in a strictly turn based manner, combat systems become unique just by the variations involved even if the variations never progress beyond interesting in the realm of actual depth.


You're right when it comes to strictly the act of combat -- the line-vs-line has little room for unique qualities (of course, Grandia and Valkyrie Profile have something to say about that).  I'm talking more about the underlying mechanics of combat -- the framing, so to speak.  FFX has the (awesome) sphere grid, DQ8 has a skill point system, FF6-FF9 all have some materia-esque system, and so on.  Shadow Hearts has something of a materia system, but it wasn't too interesting IIRC -- you basically had the Ice Spirit or whatever who taught you Ice, Ice2, Ice3.  Then you had the Healing Spirit who taught you Heal, Heal2, Group Heal, etc etc etc.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but there weren't any passive bonuses and there weren't any really 'interesting' materia/spirits/whatever that added additional options or combat depth (I'm thinking largely of the yellow command materia from FF7 though there are plenty of other options).

Then all the characters had some kind of special sauce about them, which is a nice gesture, but in Shadow Hearts fashion, it's just kind of pointless.  Hero had the elemental forms which I mentioned above, which could have been cool if it had a few more coats of polish and some variety, but as it was, turned out ho-hum.  Old guy got dolls that... um... what'd they do, amplify the various elemental spells?  Again, could have been cool if the elemental spells weren't so freakin' boring.  Chica got opera pages which taught her new moves, not much to complain about there other than Move 3 being hands-down better than Move 2.  I forgot what Puppy and Butterfly Dude got.

I guess it was just... disappointing.  The game has what seems like a boatload of options, but once you dig in, you realize that your choices really don't matter that much in how effective your characters turn out to be.  Now, this wouldn't matter as much if you had choices in the storyline to compensate for linear character progression (see Chrono Trigger).  But you don't.  The story's rock-hard linear.

Quote
In the case of Covenant, position did matter for many of the area attack spells and I was always extremely cognizant of whether enemies were close enough to each other for different sorts of area  or line attacks.  And I was much happier with the sanity system in Covenant than in the original precisely because Covenant downplayed it a bit.  Sanity was a major concern in the original and directly impacted the summons since Yuri usually didn't have the Sanity points to transform more than once per battle.  However, it wasn't a play mechanic I particularly enjoyed and Covenant's system, where it was a much lower concern but still occassionally impacted my battle strategy enough to make it interesting rather than annoying.


Position in Covenant mattered about as much as position in Chrono Trigger -- it felt tacked on and underutilized.  Instead of ending the combat in one turn with an AOE that killed all the monsters, you got to end it in two turns as you wiped out one chunk then killed off the stragglers.

Position didn't matter much beyond AOEs, unless I've really forgotten the game.  You could knock foes back, which had the effect of... I dunno, actually.  Did it have any effect?  I'm foggy about the game, honestly, so I'd go on but I'd imagine alot of what I'd be commenting on would be wrong, so I'll cut this short.

Quote
Basically, I see the goal of conventional RPG battle systems to feed the ADD side of the gamer- give me enough options at all times to make the battles interesting but don't make me think about the each action to the point that it slows the game down and makes it more like a SRPG.


Choices (options) are what seperate RPGs from Adventure games.  Like I said about, Shadow Hearts seems like it has alot of choices, but in practice, they all run together and blend into a muddy mess of inconsequence.

That's reflected on a story level too.  All we get are these snapshot visits of historic, 'real world' places, and then you're off to the next postcard, even if you're scratching your head as to what the hell is going on between the loading screens.  Lots of choices, lots of locations, little focus, little consequence.

If it were possible, I really think that if you scrapped half of the 'options' in Shadow Hearts, and used the time/resources from the now-dead half to flesh out the remaining half, we'd have a hell of a game.
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« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2006, 09:51:06 PM »

I just picked up the game, but I won't be starting it until tonight, as I'll be playing Tales of Phantasia first.  The manual is short, but appears to cover the basics, and has some nice art interspersed throughout.  I was hoping there would be an ad for XSeed's next game on the back of the manual, but no such luck.  One thing I'm very happy about is that there is a full-screen map for the dungeons now, rather than the little radar map in Covenant.  

"This is dissapointing. I thought the amazing voice work in SH: C was one of the games huge strong points."
Every review other than the IGN one that I've read has said the voice acting is good or great.
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« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2006, 10:53:29 PM »

I used some store credit to get it, if I dont like it I will just trade it-I need a new RPG since Kathode stole my DQ8.
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« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2006, 03:02:00 AM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Choices (options) are what seperate RPGs from Adventure games. Like I said about, Shadow Hearts seems like it has alot of choices, but in practice, they all run together and blend into a muddy mess of inconsequence.


Welcome to console RPGs.  While there are certainly Japanese RPGs that give you either some level of character customization or effect on story (and in rare cases both), the vast majority of the time the story is linear with maybe one good and bad ending which is decided not by explicit choice by the player but some arcane combination of secret bonuses found, which characters you talked to, which characters you healed, time spent beating the game, etc.  Characters are usually predefined with the only thing differentiating between one person's game and another being the level of characters when they beat a game and the magic spells they learned.  

I'm hesitant to go into too many details on Covenant's specific character progressions since my memory retention for such things generally sucks, but aside from Yuri's transformations, each character had Crest magic skills which were used to define which spells the character could use at any given time.  Not as customizable as FFX's system but character customization in Covenant easily met and even exceeded the norm for the genre (the same could not be said about the first SH title), especially when you factor in all of the different Judgement Ring customizations that could be applied as well.
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« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2006, 03:24:44 AM »

I picked it up but haven't opened it yet.  I'm going to wait until I finish the first Shadow Hearts, and if I feel  like I'm getting burned out on the Ring I may exchange it towards Oblivion and pick it up again later.
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« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2006, 03:40:48 AM »

Quote from: "CeeKay"
I picked it up but haven't opened it yet.  I'm going to wait until I finish the first Shadow Hearts, and if I feel  like I'm getting burned out on the Ring I may exchange it towards Oblivion and pick it up again later.


Wait until you at least try Covenant.  Covenant makes some serious upgrades to the Ring system (as well as the rest of combat) so I wouldn't judge it based on how you feel on the Ring system at the end of SH1.
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« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2006, 03:44:35 AM »

Quick impressions after about 2 hours:

Overall, I'm very impressed.  The production values are high, and the off-beat feel of the series is definately still intact.  The voice-over work is surprisingly good, and the character designs are fantastic.  They've made a few tweaks to the battle system, but it's pretty much the same.  The magic system is now based on 'Stellars', which are essentially runes that you place in different slots on a chart (based on the Zodiac symbols).  I haven't messed around with it much, but it seems like there could be a great deal of customization with this system.  You can adjust and power-up the different slots through the two gay bikers (these guys bother some people, but I think they're pretty damn funny), which allow you to equip more runes, equip higher level runes, change the slot type (each slot is designated as an attack, defense, or elemental slot, and you can only equip the corresponding runes), and lower the MP cost for spells.  Pretty cool stuff, and I can't wait to get into it further.

The story moves pretty slow, and after I couple hours, I'm not exactly sure what the point is.  There doesn't seem to be an overarching villain/peril/uber-baddie, so I'm hoping it picks up a bit.  However, it is well told, and the dialog is very funny.   A couple minor gripes:

1.  The music is pretty poor.  Granted, the last two games set an incredibly high standard, but a few of the songs they use are just grating.  on the ears.  I knew this going in (I've got the soundrack), but it's still very dissapointing.

2.  I just can't get into Johnny as the main character.  This has been one of my main concern since the game details were announced.  Again, he's some some awfully tough shoes to fill, since Yuri was one of my favorite game characters of all time.  Johnny just seems like, well, a little wimp.  He's about as un-badass as you can get.   However, Frank the Brazillian Ninja makes up for anything Johnny lacks.  Seriously funny stuff.

3.  Didn't we learned from FFVIII that unskippable summon animations are a bad thing?  Apparently not.  Not that I really mind seeing Shania strip every time she transforms, but it gets a little old.

These are the only gripes I have so far, and they're really pretty minor.  For me, stepping back into a SH game is like putting on a comfy pair of shoes.  Nothing mind-blowing, but you know you'll enjoy them.  OK, that analogy sucked, but maybe you get my meaning.  smile More impressions to come after a few more hours...
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« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2006, 04:49:23 AM »

Played only an hour and a half due to staying at work late -

I'm enjoying it!  It's Shadow Hearts   biggrin   And that makes me happy!

Just like Covenant, the opening movie rocks.  Loved that about Covenant.

Like Gratch, thus far, it's hard to see Johnny as being a main character.  Though, thank god they didn't give him a sqeeky voice!  That would have been terrible!

Maybe it's just because I really enjoyed Covenant's "opening" and such, but it's a bit underwhelming so far in terms of the setting/story.  I'm sure it will pick up.

Combat is as what Gratch said - pretty much the same.  Has a "stock" system now, which when I read about instantly got me thinking of Xenosaga II's stock battle system, but thankfully it isn't like that.  All it does is add another slight element in the battle system.

About the music - the tracks I like are in there, specifically the opening ones.  The 1930's jazzy New York theme does kinda sound like an old porn movie soundtrack, along with a Val Venis sort of saxophone crescendo in the background.  But I get a kick out of it.  I MEAN HERE WE ARE IN THE 1930's!  THE GOLDEN YEARS!  We needs the jazzy music!

Holy cripes those "Just For Guys" biker dudes are flaming.  You thought the trading cards were bad?  I felt uncomfortable when Gerard and what's-his-name were talking to me!  It adds to the humor though   biggrin

So far, in the hour I played, I think I've seen more "T&A" than I've really seen in a game, barring Magna Carta.  Why wasn't Nautilus all into showing off barely clothed chicks when Karin Koenig was around!?  OK I KID I KID!  But seriously.

Seriously.

So far I'm enjoying it.  It seems to be in line with the series in terms of, well, everything.  Will it do "it all" on par with Covenant?  We shall see!  So far so good!  SHADOW HEARTS!
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« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2006, 04:50:37 AM »

Plus Gratch - I haven't tried this myself, but does that option in the Options screen help to skip summon animations?  Wasn't there one?  I think I remember there being one, but no clue if that helps ya.

Played a bit more tonight and it's getting a lot better.  There were several "lol" moments in there too, along with some pretty bad-ass'ery stuff as well.

The very start was a bit dry, but now things are getting goooood!
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« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2006, 05:25:55 PM »

I'm now about 10 hours in, and I honestly doubt I'm going to finish this game.  While there are many good things about it, there are a few things that are keeping me from really enjoying it:

1.  Johny Garland.  I said it earlier, but this kid is the most underwhelming, un-badass, un-threatning main character I've ever seen.  Hello Kitty looks positively evil next to Johnny 'Sunshine & Rainbows' Garland.  Having Johnny as the lead character has ruined most of the game's appeal to me.  He is just simply a forgettable, generic lead character.  Which brings me to the next problem...

2.  Both of the first two games, while very funny, were also very dark and dealt with very mature subject matter.  They seemed to have a change of heart this time around, and aim this game directly at the pre-teen market.  Sure, the goofiness is still there (and I still think Frank is a great character), but there is absolutely nothing sinister or remotely threatening to balance it out.  

3.  The story just flat-out sucks so far.  In previous SH games, you visited a ton of real-world locations, but they were all in context of the story.  There was always a reason why you would be there.  In this game, it seems like they decided on all the locations they wanted to include first ('Oooh, let's have them visit Roswell, and the Grand Canyon, and Chicago.  Gamers would love that!"), then tried to build a story around these locations.  Simply put, it didn't work.  It feels like every new location is just a stupid goose chase with no purpose except moving you on to the next place.  Also, the person I'm assuming is main villain has been seen for a grand total of about 5 minutes in the 10 hours I've played.  I have no idea who she is, why she's evil, what her plot is, or anything else.  Hell, the only reason I think she's the badguy is because her eyes glowed red and she killed some cops at the beginning of the game.  There is absolutely no sense of drama, excitement, or tension, and the story is - quite frankly - incredibly dull.

4.  I still think the Stellar Chart system is a great idea.  Problem is, outside of the odd healing spell and boss fights, there is never a single reason to use any spells!  I literally have gone through entire levels without ever using Stellar Magic until the boss fight.  Every enemy can be defeated by simply using physical combo attacks, so there is really no reason to have the extensive magic system.  Although with how the pacing has gone so far, I'm sure I'll suddenly reach a point where I will have to use magic every turn.  

My gut feeling is that they simply tried to cram too much into this game without taking the time to tie it all together.  Everything about it feels disjointed and half-baked, especially the stories.  I could completely care less about the characters, which is something that has never happened in a Shadow Hearts game before.  I might give it a couple more hours, but unless it gets significantly better, SH:  FtNW will be on the trading block.  frown
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« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2006, 07:23:04 PM »

So far, I'm enjoying it a lot (just made it to Chicago) but, yeah, no question that it isn't up to Covenant's level.  Most of Gratch's comments are spot on but I had already heard all of this from those who played the Japanese version so I was fairly well prepared.

FWIW, I hear that the story turns darker.
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« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2006, 07:55:48 PM »

Yeah I'm right around that same point Gratch and I'm feeling a bit underwhelmed.  It's not up to Covenant's level.  I love the Shadow Hearts gameplay mechanics though, which will most likely make me play through FtNW anyways, but so far the story and just about everything else just isn't . . . Covenant-enough to me.

Maybe it's because I liked the period of time in Covenant and, to a lesser extent, the original compared to the U.S. locales and time period of FtNW.

Also, I've just noticed so far that there have been an absurd amount of "talk to one person, he/she directs you to talk to another, he/she directs you to talk to another" sort of quests.  Maybe they were present in Covenant, but that really breaks up the flow of gamplay for me (Alcatraz being a major example of this).

I'll still be playing it though.
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« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2006, 09:50:13 PM »

I still haven't opened up my copy, but that's because I'm too busy playing through the first one.  I'm up to the orphanage in London, but I'm not sure how much is left.
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« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2006, 10:00:11 PM »

Quote from: "CeeKay"
I still haven't opened up my copy, but that's because I'm too busy playing through the first one.  I'm up to the orphanage in London, but I'm not sure how much is left.


You're pretty far.  Probably 5-10 hours left depending on how much of the optional endgame stuff you do.
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« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2006, 11:50:05 PM »

Quote from: "depward"
Yeah I'm right around that same point Gratch and I'm feeling a bit underwhelmed.


well, if you're underwhelmed, i'm staying home (memories of grandia 3 boredom - ugh!). actually opted for, of all things, dds2 (new copy, too - did they do a rerelease?), over sc3 yesterday...


also, thanks to gratch for the very good bitching smile . one of my biggest problems with covenant was how effortless, bosses'n'all, the whole game was once you mastered the timing...
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« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2006, 11:51:16 PM »

Quote from: "depward"
Also, I've just noticed so far that there have been an absurd amount of "talk to one person, he/she directs you to talk to another, he/she directs you to talk to another" sort of quests.  Maybe they were present in Covenant, but that really breaks up the flow of gamplay for me (Alcatraz being a major example of this).


I came about *this* close to quitting for good during that damn Alcatraz bit.   That whole level was just very poorly done.

Quote
also, thanks to gratch for the very good bitching Smile...


I have to admit that it really pains me to do so.  As many of you know, SH:  Covenant is in my top 3 games of this console generation, so I really wanted to like SH3.   Maybe I just had my expectations set too high (I tried not to.  Honest!), but everything about SH3 just screams major dissapointment.

I just got to Roswell, so I'll at least play through the end of this level.  If it doesn't pick up significantly by then, I think I'll be done.  frown
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2006, 11:28:26 PM »

I'm done with this game.  After 2 brilliant games, this was just a huge, huge dissapointment.  The gameplay is still very solid, but the story and characters are just completely horrible.   There is simply no plot, no character development, and no compelling reason to keep playing.   Random goofiness only gets you so far, and I've hit my limit.

I will say that it would probably be enjoyable to someone who didn't play the first two games.  Holding it up to those, however, it doesn't begin to compare.  What a shame.  frown
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« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2006, 12:55:58 AM »

Well, with my progress on the first game halted (I've been on a Freelancer kick lately) and Oblivion coming out next week my unopened copy went back to the store and has been applied to my Oblivion pre-order.  I'll probably grab it again at a later point, but there's not much sense in me keeping it.
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