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departs from

Shadow Hearts: From the New World

is a console role-playing game developed by Nautilus and published by XSEED Games in 2005. It is the third official game in the Shadow Hearts series.

The game series departs from Europe and centers around 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

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".

Plot

It begins in North America in the year 1929 and features two new main characters: a 16 year old New Yorker named Johnny Garland, and a 21 year old Native American woman named Shania, who has powers of fusion similar to Yuri and Kurando in the previous Shadow Hearts entries, however, Shania is not a harmonixer. She makes pacts with spirits while Yuri and Kurando turned into demons. The story begins with Johnny, a private detective, being hired by a man named Gilbert to find one Marlow Brown. When Johnny finds the man, however, a mysterious 'window' opens, and from it emerges a monster. The rest of the game follows Johnny, Shania, and company as they attempt to uncover the truth about Gilbert and his plans.

Meanwhile in Brooklyn, a wanted criminal who was severely injured was being pursued by the police. He met a mysterious woman who rescued him by finishing off his pursuers with ease. Then, she healed his wounds with the 'Kiss of Malice.' Nobody knows what her intentions or motives are, nor did she speak a single word. The man who identified himself as 'Killer', called her 'Lady' and thereafter followed her where ever she would go.

Development

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. Beside a few returning characters (Roger Bacon, Lenny Curtis, Joachim, Joachims little Sister Hilda (pink bat from Covenant) and Keith Valentine, and Gerard Magimel) and items (Émigré Manuscript), as well as a reference to Nicolai Conrad's release of Malice from the Apoina Tower from the last game, and a store in Times Square named "Gepetto and Cornelia", named after said people in Covenant.

Shadow Hearts: From The New World was released in Japan on July 28, 2005, when Midway decided not to translate the game, due to the weak sales of Covenant. XSEED then picked up the license, and released the game on March 7 2006 in the United States. A PAL version was released May 25 2007 by Ghostlight .

Characters

Playable characters

  • 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 die 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 (much like Darth Maul's lightsaber). He has feelings for Shania, as evidenced throughout the game. Johnny's element is None. As pointed out by Roger, he is not in fact sixteen.
  • 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 exluding 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 crated, 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 form the Jonin. Frank's element is light and his 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. 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". It is notable that Slim Hilda is the more magical based version, while Curvy Hilda is physical based. Pink Bat form actually has the strongest attacks, but is very vulnerable. Hilda's element is Earth.
  • Ricardo Gomez (リカルド・ゴメス Rikarudo Gomezu): 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.

Villains

  • Lady: 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" once), 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. It is also noted that as Killer resembles Yuri, Lady also resembles Alice, Yuri's lover.
  • Killer: An American serial killer hunted by a majority of the U.S, 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: 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.

Other characters

  • Lenny Curtis: Johnny's loyal butler. 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 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: A homosexual shopkeeper returning from 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: Gerard's leather-clad, motorcycle driving boyfriend. Buigen is primarily responsible for aligning the party's Stellar Charts for a fee.
  • Zonda: 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 over come it and come to love both him and life itself.
  • Al Capone: 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: Sister of Al Capone and infatuated with Ricardo and his masterful guitar playing. But when the MacManus family, which is rival to Capone, kidnaps her, and is almost killed, she gets entangled in Lady's affairs.
  • Eliot Ness: 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 anyways.
  • Roger Bacon: 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.
  • Anne Lafitte: 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 has another universe where he is having the Man Festival.
  • Professor Lovecraft: A character that replaces Gilbert during the game. He is also another truly existed character, and he appears as a special human who can create pit fights using people's feeling or memories.

Audio

Voice acting

The English voice actors are as follows:

Soundtrack

Yoshitaka Hirota returned for the composition of the music for Shadow Hearts: From the New World. Yasunori Mitsuda however did not 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.

Reception

The game received a somewhat weaker reception than Shadow Hearts: Covenant, though it was still, for the most part, positive. Most scores fell in the 7-8/10 range. 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.

References

External links

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