Shadow Hearts: From the New World
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|Shadow Hearts: From the New World|
PAL cover art
Takamasa Ōsawa |
Shadow Hearts: From the New World (シャドウハーツ・フロム・ザ・ニューワールド Shadōhātsu Furomu za Nyūwārudo) is a role-playing video game developed by Nautilus in 2005 and was published in Japan by Aruze, in North America by Xseed Games, and in Europe by Ghostlight. It is the third game in the Shadow Hearts series.
The game series departs from Europe and centers on the "New World", the Americas. It is not directly related to the previous games in the series but it occurs in the same universe. The main characters' quest is to investigate mysterious "windows" from which vicious monsters pop out.
Gameplay follows that of its predecessors, using the Judgment Ring to decide most battle outcomes, as well as many other actions throughout the game. A new "Stock" system was made for this game which expands the combination attack system between party members from Shadow Hearts - Covenant and enables double attacks.
The "Stock" system works by filling up a character's stock gauge when he/she performs or receives an attack. A maximum of two stock gauge may be stored. Stock can then be utilized in many ways. For example, doing a Double attack (a character performs two action on the same turn) or starting a Combo consumes one Stock. A Double Combo on the other hand consumes two Stock. The Judgment Ring system essentially remains the same from Shadow Hearts: Covenant, with ring customization and added ring effect items being still available.
Magic returns in the form of Stellar Charts, where characters equip Stellars onto the chart. The charts are based on the constellations of the twelve zodiac signs. Finding and fitting all the Stellars onto the charts rewards the player with the Melt Crest Stellar, the strongest non-elemental magic in the game.
Fusion is also back in the game, albeit quite differently. Unlike Yuri, Shania does not possess the power of the Harmonixer where she is able to fuse into different demons. She makes spirit pacts with the different Guardian Spirits and draws on their power to transform. Shania is only able to fuse into four forms but through acquiring fetishes; statues of different animals, she is able to learn different techniques by powering them up.
Snapping photos is more emphasized in this game. Not only can Johnny obtain enemy data through his photographing enemies, he can also trade the snap cards obtained for prizes. Johnny can also draw upon the power of Malice to transform; though this ability comes rather late in the game.
In 1929, North America, New Yorker Johnny Garland runs his own private detective agency with the help of his family butler, Lenny. One day, Johnny accepts a job from a man named Gilbert to find an escaped criminal, Marlow Brown. Johnny manages to locate Brown at an abandoned theater, but Brown suffers a nervous breakdown upon seeing Johnny. A mysterious portal opens up, from which a monster emerges and devours Brown, but Johnny is saved by a winged humanoid.
Johnny comes to in his office, where he is introduced to a Native American woman named Shania, who has powers of Fusion similar to Yuri and Kurando in the previous Shadow Hearts entries, and was the winged humanoid who saved Johnny. Along with her guardian Natan, she is investigating incidents involving Malice, a red light that corrupts people with its negativity. Johnny and Shania team up and locate Gilbert at Arkham University, who reveals his true intentions to unleash Malice upon the world before escaping.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, a wanted criminal codenamed "Killer" escapes police pursuit and is fatally injured. He encounters a mysterious, mute woman who kills off his pursuers and gives him a "Kiss of Malice", healing his wounds. Grateful, he addresses the woman as "Lady" and swears loyalty to her.
As Johnny and Shania continue to chase after Gilbert, they encounter new allies along the way. They include: Frank; a wacky ninja, Ricardo; a lone guitarist, Master Mao; a cat specialized in the Drunken Fist and Hildegard Valentine; self-styled superhero and sister of the vampire brothers Joachim and Keith Valentine in the Shadow Hearts series. At the same time, Gilbert teams up with Lady and a reluctant Killer as Lady is drawn to the ruins of Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu and Vilcabamba, and unlocks the seals of Malice there. This summons a massive structure known as the Gate, from which Malice and monsters would pour out into the world if opened.
To stop the Gate from opening, Johnny's group travels to Salar de Uyuni to locate an artifact imbued with the power of Will, a blue light and counterpart to Malice, but Killer attacks them, forcing a sudden awakening in Johnny that gives him an appearance similar to Lady. His suspicions roused, Johnny travels back to his ruined family estate and discovers a shocking truth: Lady is actually his sister, Grace Garland. Their father had revived them using the forbidden technique in the Emigre Manuscript after losing them in an accident. Although the procedure was successful, their father interrupted the ritual and Grace surrendered the Will in her body to save Johnny, transforming her into a soulless husk driven by Malice and instinct.
Learning that Lady's existence will eventually cause the Gate to open regardless, Johnny resigns himself to the fact that his sister will have to be killed. The group travels to the Gate and into the World of Malice, defeating both Killer and Gilbert (who have been corrupted by Malice) and destroy Lady in a final confrontation, escaping back into their World before the Gate collapses.
Months later, Johnny receives a case from his detective agency and he proceeds to investigate. There are two different endings, the Good Ending and the Bad Ending. In the Good Ending, Shania follows Johnny out of the agency. In the Bad Ending, Shania watches over from a building with red eyes, having become corrupted by the Malice that Lady passed onto her. The Good Ending can be obtained by maxing out all of Shania's fetishes including the ones for the optional fusion.
- Johnny Garland (ジョニー・ガーランド Jonī Gārando): A sixteen-year-old boy who runs a detective agency in New York City, Johnny is on his own after his father and sister died in a car accident. Like in all Shadow Hearts games, nothing is as it appears, and much of the story's main plot involves Johnny discovering the truths about his past. Johnny can use Handy Tools, such as a magic camera to photograph his enemies in order to reveal information about them, a magical vacuum cleaner to suck up his enemies' stock gauge and give it to himself, and a cell phone to call his butler, Lenny, who can attack Johnny's enemies no matter where Johnny is on the planet. Johnny uses knives as his main weapon, and early in the game gains the ability to channel malice through them in battle, creating a weapon visually resembling a lightsaber. Also, much later in the game, he gains the ability to change form, similar to Shania's Fusion power; his malice sword also becomes double-bladed. Johnny's element is None. As pointed out by Roger, he is not in fact sixteen. It is later revealed that Johnny was in fact resurrected using the Émigré Manuscript, and that Lady is actually the failed resurrection of Johnny's sister Grace.
- Shania (シャナイア Shanaia): A Native American woman, with the power of Fusion, which she controls by making contracts with spirits in order to use their powers. She's hunting the mysterious villain known simply as Lady in order to avenge her murdered tribe. Cold and single-minded, she and her companion Natan travel the continent looking for Lady so that she may have her revenge. Shania's element is darkness (unlike Yuri Hyuga from previous games, this does not changes depending on which fusion excluding her fourth fusion), and she uses twin tomahawks to fight. Later on, she is infected with malice by Lady.
- Natan (ナタン): Shania's guardian, Natan was the only other survivor of their tribe's massacre by Lady. He is faithful to the end, even as he questions many of Shania's motives throughout the story. Although he is quiet, he is also warm and affectionate. Natan's side quests involve searches for rare creatures called UMAs to power up his abilities. His element is Wind and his primary weapons are twin guns, allowing him to use the special abilities of a style he created, which he calls Gun Fu.
- Frank Goldfinger (フランク・ゴールドフィンガー Furanku Gōrudofingā): First encountered at Arkham University, Frank joins the party hoping to learn more about Professor Gilbert. He is a skilled ninja, which he became after the airplane he was traveling in crashed near a remote ninja village in the rain forests of Brazil. Highly eccentric, Frank fights to preserve America's freedom. He uses Ninja Arts that are obtained throughout the game by completing special missions from the Jonin. Frank's weapons of choice are giant sabres, which he usually constructs from found-objects, in the manner of Joachim Valentine from Covenant. Frank's element is Light.
- Mao (マオ): Frank's master and good friend of Al Capone, Mao is most notable for being a giant talking cat with a penchant for alcohol. Out of all the main characters, only Johnny expresses finding this at all crazy. She tolerates little foolishness, especially from her former student, but can be compassionate and wise when it is called for. She also harbors a secret desire to be a movie star; her side quest actually revolves around her making a film in which she fights her way through a five-story pagoda against other giant felines who are parodies of famous action stars, such as Sammo Meow and Cat Morita (this is also the second reference to the film Game of Death within the series). Mao's element is Water, and she uses flasks of alcohol to fuel her Drunken Fist-style of fighting.
- Hildegard Valentine (ヒルデガルド・ヴァレンティーナ Hirudegarudo Varentīna): Stranded in America after a crash-landing in an experimental ship with Roger Bacon in Roswell, New Mexico, Hilda decides to travel with the party to sightsee while Roger fixes the ship. A vampire, like her older brothers Keith and Joachim, Hilda fancies herself to be a true super heroine. Hilda can change forms; while she has a bat form like the other Valentines, her main ability to change revolves around Calories; positive calories turn her from Slim form to Pink Bat form to Curvy form, while negative calories have the opposite effect. She uses wands and keys to attack, as well as an elemental set of Magic Arts learned from a brand of magazines called "Daily Arts". Pink Bat form actually has the strongest attacks, but is very vulnerable. Hilda's element is Earth.
- Ricardo Gomez (Ricardo Gomes (リカルド・ゴメス Rikarudo Gomesu) in the Japanese version): Although he is seen early in the game performing at Capone's nightclub, he is the last character to actually join the party. He is the lover of Edna Capone, Al Capone's little sister. A talented flamenco guitarist, his thoughts are turned from music to revenge when he is forced to kill the woman he loves after she becomes tainted by Lady with malice. He uses his guitar in battle, which is modified to include a shotgun, rocket launcher, and flamethrower. He also uses Serenata, which he learns by collecting certain items. His Serenades are musical tunes played on his guitar, which give status boosts to allies (though they don't affect Ricardo himself). His element is Fire.
- Lady (レディ Redi): A mysterious woman of untold strength, she rescues a mortally-wounded suspect (Killer) from the police and restores his life with malice. She does not respond with speech (only saying the word "Killer" twice), nor does she show any emotion, therefore Killer dubs her "Lady". Although mute, she plainly holds regular existence in disdain as she interferes in the lives of the party and earns their wrath, especially from Shania and Ricardo. Her ultimate goal is to gain enough malice to open a sinister porthole known as "The Gate", which will rain terror and hatred down upon the world. According to Professor Gilbert, she may be driven by instinct and only wishes to open the Gate out of a desire to return "home". Whilst the main villain and depicted as pure evil, she shows a different side to Killer. Her true identity is that of Johnny's sister, who during the resurrection process gave up her Will (the blue light) to Johnny, leaving her none, turning her into Lady.
- Killer (キラー Kirā): An American serial killer hunted by the U.S government, he was granted malice powers by Lady when she saves his life; this action gains her his devotion, which is implied to border on romantic. When it is hinted that increasing the powers and opening the Gate will gain her happiness, he decides nothing will stand in her way. Ruthless and malicious, his newfound powers make him far from a pushover. He resembles the look of Yuri but with red hair and also thinner. He is responsible for activating Johnny's Awakener powers, and is quite shocked by them.
- Professor Gilbert (ギルバート Girubāto): At first, he seems to be a simple client of Johnny's; later he shows he knows much more about the affairs surrounding malice and Lady. He wishes to harness the powers of the Gate for himself; to do so, he must ally himself with Lady and Killer. Ultimately, he wishes to betray them and take the powers of malice for himself.
- Lenny Curtis (Rene Curtis (レニ・カーティス Rene Kātisu) in the Japanese version): Johnny's loyal butler. It is revealed that after he was defeated at St. Marguerite Island in the previous game, he ended up stranded in a desert where Johnny rescued him. Lenny does all of Johnny's household chores, helps him practice his math skills, and often encourages him to take over his father's business. Lenny Curtis also appeared in Shadow Hearts: Covenant, where he obtained a soul contract with the demon "Godhand", thus can shoot a mystical ball anywhere on the planet so long as he has Johnny to call him on his cell phone.
- Gerard Magimel (Gerard Mazymell (ジェラール・マジメル Jerāru Majimeru) in the Japanese version): A homosexual shopkeeper returning from Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Gerard once again serves as the primary shopkeeper for the party. With his lover Buigen, he journeys across America in a motorcycle, appearing in the strangest and most remote places as a demonstration of the lengths he will go to in order to make a sale.
- Buigen (Baigen (バイゲン) in the Japanese version): Gerard's leather-clad, motorcycle driving boyfriend. Buigen is primarily responsible for aligning the party's Stellar Charts for a fee.
- Zonda (Zonta (ゾンタ) in the Japanese version): Betrothed to Shania, Zonda is the chief of another tribe who helps Shania gain one of her Fusions. He is saddened by her desire for revenge at any cost, and hopes she will one day overcome it and come to love both him and life itself.
- Alfonso "Al" Capone (アルフォンソ・カポネ Arufonso Kapone, アル Aru): Held in Alcatraz, he must be rescued by the party when an assassin is sent to kill him in prison. He is deeply indebted to them thereafter, assisting them on a number of occasions.
- Edna Capone (エドナ・カポネ Edona Kapone): Sister of Al Capone and infatuated with Ricardo and his masterful guitar playing. But when the MacManus family (which is rival to Capones) kidnaps her, and she is killed, she receives the Kiss of Malice from Lady and is transformed into a monster. Ricardo, her lover, kills her.
- Eliot Ness (エリオット・ネス Eriotto Nesu): The famous adversary of Capone, Ness tracks the party for information on the notorious gangster. However, he never quite seems to be able to get a hold of him. Despite the fact that Ness is trying to put Capone in jail, they both have deep respect for each other.
- Britney: A fellow ninja from Frank's village, she constantly plays helpless in order to trick Frank into doing things for her, but fails, as Frank gets the rewards anyway.
- Roger Bacon (ロジャー・ベーコン Rojā Bēkon): Once again, Roger is mixed up in the affairs of Shadow Hearts when his experimental spacecraft crashes. Mistaken for an alien and taken to a government base, he is soon rescued where he goes about repairing his ship so he and Hilda can return to Europe. There are hints that he may know more about other, more serious affairs than he lets on. He knows the truth behind Johnny and Lady's true identity.
- Anne Lafitte (Anne Lafite (アン・ラフィート An Rafīto) in the Japanese version): A young girl who heads a band of ruthless Caribbean pirates, Anne is actually the guardian of a secret treasure left by her grandfather. She captures the party when they stumble upon her island on their way to find Lady, thinking that they came to steal the treasure that is on the island.
- The Great Q: Another returning character from Covenant. Joachim, the brother of Hilda and Keith, makes an appearance as The Great Q, a boss for Hilda's side-quest where he has another universe where he is having the Man Festival.
- Professor Lovecraft: A character that replaces Gilbert during the game. He appears as a special human who can create pit fights using people's feeling or memories.
While some may argue that From The New World is closer to a spinoff than to a sequel, it is important to notice that the game has several links with the previous games. Besides a few returning characters (Roger Bacon, Lenny Curtis, Joachim, Joachim's younger Sister Hilda, Keith Valentine, and Gerard Magimel) and items (the Émigré Manuscript), reference is made to Nicolai Conrad's release of Malice from the Apoina Tower in the previous installment, and a store in Times Square titled "Gepetto and Cornelia" is named after said people in Covenant.
Shadow Hearts: From The New World was released in Japan on July 28, 2005. Midway announced that they will not translate the game, due to the poor sales of Covenant. XSEED took over the distribution for the North America released the game on March 7, 2006 in the United States while Ghostlight took over for the PAL release on May 25, 2006.
Yoshitaka Hirota returned for the composition of the music for Shadow Hearts: From the New World. Yasunori Mitsuda however was not involved and instead Battle Sound Effects Producer Tomoko Imoto joined Hirota in the composition of the game's music.
The OST (Original Soundtrack) of Shadow Hearts: From the New World was released as two Compact Discs under the name of Shadow Hearts From the New World Original Soundtracks by Team Entertainment in Japan on August 24, 2005.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Oh smania! oh furie! ~ D'Oreste e d'Aiace was used in the game in the Chelsea Erick Theater with Soprano and Arrangement by Akiko Shikata (who also provided chorus for a number of other tracks in the game along with Ikuko).
The ending theme, titled SPREAD MY WINGS ~ Ending sung by Takehara Tomoaki, was composed by Yoshitaka Hirota and the lyrics were written by Takehara Tomoaki.
The game received a somewhat weaker reception than Shadow Hearts: Covenant, though it was still, for the most part, positive. According to review aggregator Metacritic the game averaged 76. Common complaints included the game's shift in tone from the darker nature of the previous two to a more light-hearted atmosphere. Despite these shortfalls, the game tended to receive positive comments about the improved graphics and gameplay. X-Play gave the game a 4 out of 5. Players noted that the combo system from Covenant was expanded upon, but also became more complicated to execute. Enemies are also more apt to use combos than they were in the previous title. Another point taken was that each characters abilities required some sort of sidequest to unlock, rather than being obtained automatically, which led to mixed fan reactions.
- "Characters". Shadow Hearts: From the New World Official Website (in Japanese). Aruze Corp. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
- "Characters". Shadow Hearts: From the New World Official Website (in Japanese). Aruze Corp. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
- "Shadow Hearts: From The New World - PS2 Games". Ghostlight. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
- Metacritic Scores