Perhaps… no, *definitely* one of the most underrated RPGs in existence is Shadow Hearts. The original was a skillful blend of horror, inherited from its prequel Koudelka, and turn-based role-play. Both Shadow Hearts and its sequel Shadow Hearts: Covenant showcased genuinely fascinating plots and a host of memorable characters. It’s a series that had a commendable uniqueness in its atmosphere; one minute it had you bewildered by its goofiness and the next reaching for the Kleenex as it delved into themes of love, loss and sacrifice that cut right to the bone.
Another aspect that set Shadow Hearts apart from the flock was its battle system. Dubbed The Judgement Ring, in order for a character to attack they had to hit specific areas of the ring, miss and the character didn’t get to take their turn. This engaging method tested player’s reflexes and made battles in Shadow Hearts harsh yet satisfying.
2006’s Shadow Hearts: From the New World was more of a spin-off than a sequel, keeping the combat mechanics established in previous games, but foregoing the dark atmosphere of its predecessors. The game was met with a less favorable reception and poor sales of the series lead to developer Nautilus closing its doors in 2007. This is a series that deserves a revival or in the very least an HD collection, if only to garner it some degree of the recognition and success it so justly deserves.