Shadow Hearts

Shadow Hearts

■  Platform: PlayStation 2                               ■  Category: Role-Playing

■  Publisher: Midway                                       ■  Developer: Midway

 

Shadow Hearts is a singularly unique and innovative game.  The first thing you’ll notice about the game is the typical menu-driven turn-based combat system.  The second thing you’ll notice is a fancy white circle that pops up the second you try to do anything called the Judgment Ring.  The judgment ring has a hand that goes around the face just once, whenever the hand passes over a highlighted area you need to hit x to actually do anything, making you work for everything you do, from attacking to using an item.   This is not a game you want to play without checking out the manual first.  I should know, because that’s exactly what I did.  Unfortunately for you battle isn’t the only place where the judgement ring will show up.  It also follows you onto the field, and while you might think “big deal” the truth is Shadow Hearts did it years before Batman.  Though unlike Batman’s “press x 3 times to leave the vent” Shadow Hearts kindly tosses you a “You’ll never look cool in front of your girl friend ever” level of difficulty; where If you get it right you can continue the game, get it wrong enough times and the girl you just saved pushes you out of the way and does it for you.

Loser.

Continue to Review →

Disgaea

■  Platform: PlayStation 2                               ■  Category: Role-Playing/Strategy

■  Publisher: Atlus                                          ■  Developer: Nippon Ichi

 

Disgaea first come out in 2003 and at first blush looks like a typical strategy game; there’s a number of classes you can create extra characters in, items to use in battle, and grid-based game play.   After that things get interesting.  The level cap for Disgaea is 9999, and at any point between level 1 and level 9999 you can have a character “reincarnate” and go through the whole leveling process again, but with a huge boost in stats (depending on the level).  If that doesn’t offer enough in game play, there’s also the option of leveling up any item in the game to level 100.  But just in case that wasn’t enough you could also petition for the Dark Assembly for any number of things; from better items in the item shop, to stronger enemies, or if need be, permission to take over the human world.

Oh right….and did I mention the game takes place in the Netherworld?

Continue to Review →