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Overview

Shadow Hearts: From the New World is the third game in the Shadow Hearts franchise, following Shadow Hearts and Shadow Hearts: Covenant. It has a largely new cast, although some characters do make a cameo, and a new setting in America. The game has both a bad ending and a good ending.

Plot Basics

Young detective Johnny Garland gets his first real case for his detective agency, and it leads him deep into intrigue. After witnessing a monster appear through a window, Johnny needs to find his client and investigate what is really going on, as it becomes obvious that he and his missing memories are somehow involved in what's going on.

Detailed Plot Synopsis (Contains Spoilers)

Johnny is a sixteen year old detective. His father died in mysterious circumstances some years earlier, and Johnny has lost his memories of the incident. He gets hired by a man named Professor Gilbert to look for a criminal, Marlow Brown, who seems to have disappeared. Johnny agrees to search, and, after some investigation he hears that a man spotting that description was spotted at the Erick Theatre in Chelsea.

At the theatre, Johnny is startled to find that it seems to be overrun with thugs. He finds Marlow, who appears to recognise Johnny’s name and something about him. Before he can explain anything, however, a window opens behind him and he gets eaten by a monster, and a woman falls through the roof and fights the monster, causing Johnny to faint.

Back at the office, the woman named Shania and her companion Natan decide to accompany Johnny to see Professor Gilbert and explain what happened to Marlow. They head to Arkham University, where Professor Gilbert said he worked, meeting a ninja called Frank along the way. They meet Professor Gilbert and impart their news. It appears that Professor Gilbert is at least partially responsible for the windows opening, although he claims to have nothing to do with Marlow’s death, and that he has been experimenting with the monsters. Johnny’s weapon suddenly starts to glow red, and Professor Gilbert seems to recognise it, before he flees when the opportunity presents itself.

A man claiming he is known as Killer is saved by a woman he names Lady. Meanwhile, unable to pull up a lead on Professor Gilbert on account of it being a fake name, Frank next suggests that his master might be able to track him down, and that he will send people to go and find her. To pass the time, Shania requests they visit the Grand Canyon so that she can obtain the power of another spirit, and the others agree. After she single-handedly defeats it, one of Frank’s ninjas appears to inform him that his master has been found in Chicago.

In Chicago, it becomes apparent that there is some criminal activity going on – Al Capone has been arrested, and the McManus family are trying to gain control of his area. The party gain access to the VIP room of a club, where they meet Frank’s master, Mao, a large talking cat. She agrees to help search for Professor Gilbert, but only if the group will break Capone out of Alcatraz Prison, which they reluctantly agree with. They also meet Al’s sister, Edna, and her boyfriend, a mariachi named Ricardo. On leaving the club, she gets captured by men from the McManus family. After McManus gets angry and shoots her, they are ordered to dispose of her body, but Lady and Killer appear on the scene. Lady revives her, Edna’s eyes change colour, and she attacks the men who had kidnapped her with a strange power, asking where her brother is. In prison, Al Capone himself is quizzed about the location of Killer, although he claims that he would never associate with such a man.  

Back at Alcatraz Prison, Johnny and crew break in and manage to fight their way to Capone’s room, where they interrupt a man planted by the McManus family from killing him. They escape, only to run into Edna at the front of the building, still searching for her brother and still killing by summoning monsters from windows. A huge monster threatens Capone, and the group step in to help him.

After a quick detour to meet a friend, Mao suggests that the group head for Roswell, as Professor Gilbert used to work there. As they go there, they notice a spaceship crashed into a building, and are informed that the creatures that were in it have been confiscated by the research laboratory that they want to infiltrate. As they manage to do so, they stumble across a man and woman ( Hilda and Roger) in research tanks. The woman begs them for help, even though Johnny protests they can’t get her out of there, so she breaks out herself instead and repeats her request, even offering to assist Johnny and his group in their task without enquiring what they are doing. The group gets attacked by a weapon to stop the “aliens” from escaping, and Hilda is furious about being mistaken for an alien. As Johnny stops her from killing a research assistant, he asks the man about Professor Gilbert. The assistant claims that Professor Gilbert suddenly quit his job, claiming to be going investigating a place called Chichen Itza.

The planned boat trip to Chichen Itza turns out to lead them through a Caribbean Pirate Fort, as Johnny’s group discover when they are caught, imprisoned and interrogated. While they’re there, Shania decides to go on another quest for a spirit. After rescuing the captain and her crew from monsters, they finish their business at the pirate fort, and Mao gets contacted by one of Capone’s associates to say that he has suddenly departed from Chicago to Las Vegas for reasons relating to the McManus family and Edna. The group decide to go after him.

Meanwhile, Ricardo shows up in Las Vegas to attack the McManus family in revenge. He rescues a young woman from some of Capone’s goons, and Ricardo interrogates them about what happened to Edna. Killer, Lady and Edna are also in Las Vegas, seeking Ricardo. Johnny’s group meet back up with Al Capone where Johnny offers to go in and search for Edna as it’s a little more subtle. Ricardo gets caught by some of McManus’ men, leading to McManus questioning him over Capone’s movements after him escaping from jail. Mao manages to save Ricardo from being killed by McManus’ men, and Ricardo finds out that Edna is somehow still alive. Capone and his men storm the hotel and chaos ensues as Edna also crashes the party, begging Ricardo to kill her to prevent her from becoming a monster. Edna is affected by the Malice and attacks them, then dies in Ricardo’s arms.

Lady and Killer meet with Professor Gilbert unexpectedly after leaving Edna at the hotel in Las Vegas. Professor Gilbert claims that Lady isn’t human, and that he can restore her humanity. Not realising this, Johnny’s group go back to their quest to pursue Professor Gilbert by attempting to get to Chichen Itza again.

At Chichen Itza, Professor Gilbert, walking with Killer and Lady, suggests that Lady already knows how to restore her humanity – through the power of Malice. Killer suggests that Professor Gilbert has no further use after divulging this information, but Gilbert claims that his worth is in stopping some people trying to interfere with Lady’s objective. Johnny’s crew arrives, and Natan explains that Lady is an enemy of their tribe as Shania fruitlessly tries to attack Lady as Killer intercepts her. Gilbert informs Killer that they are trying to kill Lady, enraging him, so he summons a creature to attack Johnny’s crew, and after they’re injured by it, he dazes Johnny. Shania herself interferes with this by drawing attention to herself, and as Johnny blacks out from pain, he sees Lady leaning toward her.

Following this, the party head to Rio de Janeiro to pursue a lead concerning the whereabouts of Killer. Johnny explains everything that has occurred since Chichen Itza, and they find and verify the authenticity of a lead, and realise that Killer and Lady are in Machu Picchu.

An elderly woman, Okanagan, prays to the spirits, and she discovers that the seal is shrouded in darkness. At Machu Picchu, Gilbert offers to buy Lady and Killer some time to do what they came for by dealing with Johnny’s group. As he meets with them, Gilbert refuses to answer any questions, concerned only with trying to stop their pursuit. He summons lots of monsters as cover to get away, and Shania chases after him. He leads her to Lady and Killer, where she gets severely injured as they escape. Okanagan’s granddaughter, Loloma, arrives to retrieve them, and they agree to go to Moana Village.

Gilbert, Lady and Killer are confronted at Vilcabamba by tribesmen from Moana Village. Back at Moana Village, Okanagan explains about Lady’s actions breaking the seals of the ruins where there are large concentrations of Malice, and that legend states that this will summon the Gate to the world. She gives them the directions to Vilcabamba.

The tribesmen at Vilcabamba are all dead when Johnny’s crew gets there. Upon finding out that they’ve been followed again, Killer decides to stay and lay in wait for them, but he refuses to let Gilbert accompany Lady alone. Killer reveals to Johnny’s crew that he’s the one who slaughtered the tribesmen, and they fight Killer and a summoned creature of Gilbert’s. After being defeated, Killer claims he’ll get serious, but they’re interrupted by the ruins shaking and Gilbert claiming Lady has broken the final seal, so they retreat. As they also escape from the ruins, the team see what Okanagan predicted coming to pass, with the red light signifying the Malice clearly visible from the sky and the Gate emerging from it. Meanwhile, Lady, Killer and Gilbert attempt to open the Gate.

After a visit to Okanagan to deliver the bad news where she suggests that sealing the Gate’s power would be the best course of action, Johnny’s team discover that they have to search for two rings in order to eventually harness the blue light to combat the red light of Malice. One of those rings is located in Aito Cave.

After retrieving the first ring in Aito Cave, Shania obtains the second ring from Zonda and he tells her that Lady wants to destroy the world. An impatient Killer drills Professor Gilbert for information, and he explains about the blue light of Will, leading Killer to head off to destroy the ruins at Uyuni Salt Lake, where Johnny’s team have headed to harness the blue light.

Killer confronts the team as planned and interrupts them before they can utilise the rings. After they defeat him, the group use the rings, but Killer stabs Johnny. Johnny is surrounded by red light and he is transformed, attacking Killer as well as his own allies. The blue light is released, the Gate ceases its attempts at opening, and Johnny transforms back to his regular self, claiming he’d lost control of his own body.

Johnny dreams of his past. The group decide to go and verify this by going to Johnny’s old house, which has been heavily affected by the Malice and is housing a strange creature. Johnny finds a family photograph on the ground. Johnny is shocked that it appears his sister Grace is Lady, and wants to go and see Roger to inquire about its truthfulness. Elsewhere, some red light finds Lady, and Lady summons a collapsed Killer back to her as she re-awakens him. Gilbert claims he’ll explain everything to Killer.

Roger, with the help of Lenny, explains what happened. Three years ago, Marlow and Johnny’s father performed a ritual to resurrect Johnny and his sister. Roger went to stop them when he realised what happened, but was too late and too fascinated at what he saw anyway. Johnny was resurrected by the Malice. Roger offers to show Johnny what happened from the memories within the basement of his house. Roger assures Johnny that Lady is not the same person as his sister due to the Malice. Lady no longer has memories or a soul because she gave it all to Johnny, leading to the existence of Lady.

Gilbert suggests to Killer that the Gate will open provided Lady is present as the Malice will gather around her.

Johnny’s confused about whether or not he can fight Lady. Shania explains that Lady gave her the kiss of Malice at Chichen Itza, and so she’s scared that she can lose her mind at any moment, as Edna did, leading to her rush to kill her. They head to the Gate to end the situation once and for all and are confronted by Killer, whom they kill. Lady seems affected by this, going over to Killer and then using some of her own energy to open the Gate and leave through it with his body and Professor Gilbert. Since they have failed to prevent the Gate from opening, the party realise they have no choice but to kill Lady.
 
After defeating Professor Gilbert, Johnny and crew confront Lady, who is visibly upset at her failed attempts to revive Killer as she did Edna. Appearing enraged, she summons a monster to aid her in attacking Johnny's party, but she ends up losing in the end. Dying, she crawls over to Killer and he seems as awake as her, and they seem content, leading the player to see what ending they have obtained...

Gameplay

Shadow Hearts: From the New World is largely made up of several fundamentals of gameplay, as well as basics like navigating from a world map menu and being able to roam around given locations to get to an objective. It will also occasionally break things up by providing things such as an in-game lottery to participate in which can contain highly rewarding prizes.
 

Judgement Rings

 Shania using a judgement ring
Core aspects of the gameplay of Shadow Hearts: From the New World centres around the use of judgement rings. Whenever an action is taken, a judgement ring will appear on screen that the player needs to successfully hit the hit areas. These actions can be anything from casting a spell, attacking, using items or healing or trying to get discounts in shops. Each character has their own judgement ring, and the areas to hit change depending on the action being undertaken. Some judgement rings require only one area to be hit, whereas others may need three or four. In battle, rings also have strike areas – if all strike areas are hit on that ring, the character will get a perfect hit.

Judgement rings can also be customised for the amount of areas needed to hit during physical attacks, any effects that can be added to physical attack and whether to set the game to automatically hit judgement rings for the player. Players can also adjust the difficulty of judgement rings by changing their type, from the well-balanced default to a training ring without strike areas but with no penalty for missing, and a ring where messing up at all means no attack is carried out at all. 
 
Some enemies can inflict effects that affect a character's use of their judgement ring, such as by making it smaller or it operate with twice the speed. Some accessories can also achieve this effect, often with a risk/reward approach (for instance, the mind's eye makes the hit areas of a ring invisible, but increases the damage from physical attacks if the player can successfully complete the attack).
 

Stock Gauge

This game also utilises the stock gauge. The stock gauge can be filled up to two times for every ally and enemy, and it is used to perform special attacks such as combos (which overrides the normal turn interval) or double attacks (which allow a character to take two turns at once, but they can’t use the same thing twice). The stock gauge can be decreased by either hard-hitting the enemy or using an attack that also has this effect.
 

Sanity Points

Sanity points are the amount of turns that a character can last before they will succumb to a berserk state. In this game’s version of berserk, characters will do whatever they want to, ranging from automatically dying to making a sensible move to healing enemies and killing allies. Most characters do not have very many sanity points, the exceptions to this being Shania and Hilda.
 

Stellar Charts

Stellar charts are very important in Shadow Hearts: From the New World. Everybody but Shania is capable of equipping one, and it is through this that they can equip and use stellar magic by adding stellars found along the journey. The stellar charts can equip several types of magic: healing magic, support magic, or elemental magic (either a specific element or any element). Stellar charts can be upgraded to change the types of node, or to level them up so that more powerful or far-reaching spells of that type can be utilised.  
 
In total, there are twelve stellar charts, each named after a zodiac sign.
 

Battle Teams

The game allows for the formation of three separate battle teams. Only one team can be used at a time, but it allows players to easily switch between teams rather than constantly having to edit a team if a change in members is required.

Score

For people interested, the game keeps score of an impressive amount of statistics, from ring success rates in general and more specifically, such as of individual characters. Among other things, it also keeps track of the amount of times the player has chosen to escape from battle or has fallen unconscious.  
 

Individual Character Abilities

The characters of Shadow Hearts: From the New World all have individual abilities unique to them. Further advancement of the opening skills are learned through partaking in side quests.
 

Johnny

Johnny starts the game with the Handy Tools ability, which starts off with a scan-like move called Snap, which makes him take a photograph. All of Johnny’s Handy Tools involve some sort of device being used in a practical way.

Near the end of the game, Johnny also gains the Release ability, allowing him to transform into the very powerful Awaker.

Shania

Shania’s ability is Fusion. She can turn into a spirit she has obtained, which is her way of being able to use stellar magic, although the player cannot customise what she learns. Her using this ability drains her sanity points quite quickly, however.

Natan

Natan has the GUN-FU ability, where he fights very offensively with his guns. He has few abilities in number but they can be powered up significantly through his sidequests.
 Frank's attack menu

Frank

Frank’s ability is Ninja Arts. All of his spells with Ninja Arts are offensive and non-elemental.

Mao

Mao is a master of the Drunken Fist technique.

Hilda

Hilda is a slightly unusual case in that she has three forms: Slim Hilda, Pink Bat, and Curvy Hilda. Which of these forms she is in is determined by her Calorie Meter, which she can maintain by calorie draining from enemies. Each of her three forms have strengths in different areas and weaknesses in others, and they also all have separate Magic Arts skills.  

Ricardo

Serenata is Ricardo’s special skill, where he plays music that often has a support magic effect (although this does not extend to Ricardo himself) after pondering over a muse item. 

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