superxash's Shadow Hearts II (PlayStation 2) review

Better than the First

As you may have read from my review of the first game, I really enjoyed it. Well the second game in the series surpasses it considerably.

Set in the same world, (barely a year after the events of the first) with a new threat, some new characters, improved graphics and a significantly improved battle system.

After having saved the world from Cosmic Eldritch Abominations, poor Yuri finds himself once again drawn into world events as a War threatens to tear Europe apart. And to make matters worse, he's been cursed by this new enemy, taking him back down to normal levels, and it may soon eventually kill him if he can't stop it.

A strength of this series (to me) so far has been it's colorful cast of characters that really sets it apart from most RPGs. From the returning Yuri, (and the pervy immortal genius Roger Bacon) to guys like Joachim the Wrestling Vampire Superhero, there's plenty of fun to be had with just the characters alone.

And as stated, the battle system from the previous game has been thankfully overhauled. While it was unique and easy once you got the hang of it, there really wasn't much to it beyond that. SH2 has remedied that. Now you are able to change, customize and tweak the "Judgement Ring" for each character, to your heart's delight. You can now expand the hit areas on the ring to better conform to your preferred speed comfort. On top of that, you can also buy items that slow it down so it's not nearly as tense (and occasionally frustrating) as it was before. You can now also join the various characters in the current party into large combo attacks that lay some serious smackdowns on opponents.

So overall a much more fun and epic experience than it's enjoyable predecessor. I hope to have similar fun with the next game in the series.

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