The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 2: Episode II: The Great War

Episode II: The Great War

...That's as much as I can remember.
<paces> The following day, Lt. Koenig, you were found by the Metz highway. Along with Sgt. Robert and eight survivors.
<nods> Yes, sir.

You may notice Shadow Hearts 2 looks a wee bit better than its predecessor. Everything is fully 3D now that the game was actually developed on the PS2 from the get-go and not a PS1 game that shifted consoles half-way through development. Granted, there was a certain charm to pre-rendered backgrounds but... boy did they not scale well.

Graphics aside, the sequel also got a budget to actually have regular voice acting again and it's fairly decent for the most part. The localization was done by Jeremy Blaustein, who did the localization for Metal Gear Solid 1 and Silent Hill 2-4 among other things. That said, there are subtitles in cutscenes with vocals that are often just... kind of off. Not in the sense the translation is coming apart at the seams like the iffier parts Shadow Hearts had going in spots. More like its cutscene subtitles are going off a script draft written before the English voice acting was recorded and nobody went back to change lines that came out differently. So there's frequently different phrased subtitles, words missing from sentences and parts that plain just don't get subbed.

For the LP, I'll probably just omit any cinematic cutscene subtitles and transcribe everything for clarity's sake. I felt that was worth mentioning. You can watch the video at the end to see from yourself. Almost every single voiced cutscene has at least one line where the subtitles are off.

... It's quite a story, but it seems we'll have to believe you.
The only other reports we can gain from the remaining survivors is either a blank series of ellipses or stuttering out something about a demon.

Lt. Koenig leaps up from her seat.

General! Just give me another—

The Lieutenant has the look of someone who just got yelled at by the teacher in class.

Karin, I've already decided to do that. I'm sending you back to that village.
Just like with the trenches, I say give that hill another charge and maybe it'll work out this time.
<leans forward> But this time you'll be a guide.

Me, a guide...?
I was an unarmed scout last time, so...
Excellent, then you're already half-way there.

Our forces invaded France from the north and have managed to push back the western front beyond the Meuse River. But that village alone has stubbornly refused to surrender to us and continues to remain outside the Empire's grasp.
And as I always said, if people spite you, then you spite them right back. It has rarely worked in my favor, but you know why I keep it up, Karin?
That's right.

<leans back> Domremy may be beautiful, but it has absolutely no strategic value to us.

But for the honor of the Empire, we must not allow anyone or anything to stand against us. Even if we have to face a demon itself.
Which seems to literally be the case in this instance. But by God, I want the entire map filled out in our color and we're going to do it.
Is that clear?
<nods> Yes, sir.

A fancy boy decked out in the most JRPG Church Affiliated Character outfit I've seen in quite a while readies himself outside the office where Karin is getting her mission briefing.

A subordinate walks up to the General and motions to the door.

<nods to subordinate> Hmm...

The subordinate opens the door and John Churchman enters the room.

This is Cardinal Nicholas Conrad. He's come all the way from the Vatican.
Uhh... <stands up>

<extends hand and chuckles>

There are only one of two outcomes someone looking like this can have: Dying horribly within the next hour or turning out to be evil. I'll let you decide which banner Cardinal Nicholas Conrad falls under.

NEW Music: Old Smudged Map ~ Europe
(I think I liked the first game's map music a little better. But this ain't bad.)

1915, early spring. The world is in the middle of a huge upheaval.

It started with a single shot and the fire of war spread within a single instant.

All of Europe was engulfed and the struggle soon grew into the first world-wide war the human race had ever known.

From a corner of this battlefield, our story begins once again...

NEW Music: Suffocation ~ Grim Atmosphere
(What it says on the box)

Somehow, we cannot escape Wales. We find ourselves yet again back in its barren wastes. It has been a year since the events of Shadow Hearts has concluded and it seems the scholar warlock Roger Bacon has renovated his weird future tech home outside the ruins of Nemeton Monastery just a wee bit since the last time we saw it. Hopefully, he hasn't scavenged wreckage from Neameto Float and unleashed ancient machinations upon the land as a result. I mean it's Wales, so nobody will really notice. But still, that'd be irresponsible nevertheless.

Speaking of irresponsible, the bloody state of the claw gloves on these goon jobbers. Who signed off on that!? What's going to happen when they need to open a door or frankly do literally anything that doesn't involve stabbing? Are you going to use the bathroom wearing those things? How will you flush the toilet when you're done? How are you going to wipe your ass!? HOW!?

Questionable weapon outfitting aside, it is probably concerning that Roger Bacon is getting kidnapped by an extra from Mad Max. You generally don't want to see kindly super science dabblers getting abducted by people who file their taxes with "Villain" as their occupation listed on their W-2.

<smiles and nods> Hmm... Yup.

And that concludes the prologue. So in summary, it's 1915 and World War I is in full swing. Our new protagonists are Karin Koenig, a Lieutenant in the German army and Nicholas Conrad, a Vatican Cardinal. Yuri Hyuga may be hanging out as a Devilman in a spooky church in rural France kicking anyone's ass who comes near for unclear reasons. And Roger Bacon has seemingly been kidnapped by one of Lord Humungus's lesser-known lackeys. It is maybe not quite as exciting a beginning as fighting a dapper British wizard on top of the Trans-Siberian Express to rescue a magical girl. But trust me, this is gonna go places as Shadow Hearts II: Covenant begins its bizarre tale.

The Library makes its return from the original Shadow Hearts -- a codex that gives us a little info blurb about assorted NPCs and monsters we encounter during our adventures. I'll be dumping these at the end of chapters of the game (i.e. whenever we make it back to the World Map.) But we gain one single entry by finishing the Prologue, so let's take a quick look before concluding the update.


General Heinmann in this entry gets both a proper name and a character portrait in the Library. Good to know we were in Luxembourg for Karin's briefing. Unless I'm mistaken, we never see this dude again outside that one scene.

Video: Episode II Cutscenes
(You should probably watch this.)