A ring with different zones for hits, misses, and criticals appears on the screen, and you need to press the button as a bar moves over the proper section.

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Yuri meets Alice, a young woman being hunted by a mysterious alchemist who calls himself Roger Bacon.

Together they chase and are chased by Bacon and his allies as they try to thwart, well, the most cliched anime villain plan ever: Summon god to destroy the corrupt world and rebuild it. Shadow Hearts takes place in 1913, and there’s a very subtle, unspoken tension cast over the game because of it, especially as you stomp around places like London and Prague in the second half.

The first thing you can do as you can see, choosing to stay in this country as it would.

As it so happens, the attack on Yuri was part of a scheme by a secret society called Sapientes Gladio, which, like any respectable secret society, is up to no good.

That demon is Yuri in one of his fused forms, living in seclusion after the events of Shadow Hearts. And on the creepy side of things, Gepetto’s weapons are different costumes for his doll, which get increasingly uncomfortable.

Yuri and Karin fight through Europe investigating a secret society that seems to be plotting something involving dark magical forces. And which you get by giving cheesecake art cards of beefy men to a flamboyant pair of tailor brothers. After you defeat Rasputin and save Russia (well, at least from that specific threat and not the bleak future history has in store for it), you’re only halfway through the game.

It makes the turn-based combat very active and engaging.

Lost Odyssey on the 360 had a similar system, but Shadow Hearts did it better.

The most likely and canon ending is bittersweet, and leads into Shadow Hearts: Covenant.

Which takes everything that’s great about Shadow Hearts and makes it much, much better while fixing several annoying problems.

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