\'A steam train blazes under the clear, starry sky. The train from Changchun is headed for Darien. Inside the Japanese army\'s luxury car, sits the daughter of a murdered priest. She sits bored, her blue, sorrowful eyes scanning the landscape out the window. An English Gentleman approaches the girl, and a scream rips through the train. One of the guards is torn like a piece of paper and falls to the floor. The gentleman smiles and locks his gaze on the girl...\'


This game is seen as the sequel to Koudelka by most fans of both games (in fact Koudelka makes an appearance in Shadow Hearts)


(Time: Pre-WWI.) Taking place during the early 20th century, the story starts with a young girl named Alice Eliot - the daughter of an expert exorcist - being transported by the Japanese Imperial army to China on a train. Powerful magican Roger Bacon is on the same train, with the intention of kidnapping her because he believes she is the key to his master plan to unlock ancient secrets that\'\'ll destroy the earth. (quoted from GameStop)


The graphics are visually impressive, and dark (as per the type of game it is). The enemies (demons, ghosts, etc.) are nicely rendered and very creepy, as are the locales.


The voice acting (what little there is) is decent, but not truly spectacular by any means. The environmental sounds are simply excellent and they truly encapsulate the locales you visit (Rouen, Prague, Shanghai).


This game has a unique battle system called the \'Judgement Ring\' where you time button presses to determine how many attacks (and how much damage) you cause per round. The judgement ring also determines the strength of magical attacks and the efficacy of items (both healing and otherwise). It takes a little getting used to, but once you do it\'s rather easy to use.


There are multiple references to exorcism, demons, cults, Vatican conspiracies, eastern religion, Vampirism, curses, hexes, espionage, death, souls, and some (somewhat comical) sexual overtones. These are throughout the game and are part of it\'s mystique (not the sexual overtones, those are sparse and far apart). Some Christians who find this sort of content inappropriate shouldn\'t play this game, however the author feels that a game is just a game and should not affect one\'s deeply held beliefs.


The game is truly imaginative and interesting. The Judgment Ring system adds a bit of spice to the tried-and-true turn-based RPG combat system. And the various other elements in this game make it a true experience. Personal Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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