■ 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.