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Mature (17+)

Shadow Hearts – Second Opinion

Shadow Hearts is the game Koudelka should have been—an earnest and intriguing RPG that mixes a historical setting with an occult influence in much the same way the Persona/Megami Tensei games have been doing for years. The end result is one of the darkest and most interesting console RPGs to come along in recent memory (the only other games that really compare are Atlus Persona titles). Sacnoth clearly learned from their errors with Koudelka, and its because of this that Shadow Hearts is so good,

Shadow Hearts – Consumer Guide

According to the ESRB, this game contains: Blood and Gore, Violence

Shadow Hearts – Review

As a gamer, do you ever notice that some development studios tend to turn out the same substandard kind of product without ever stepping back to evaluate their handiwork before churning out a sequel? Im not talking about the debugging process or other technical things like that, but rather, game design and philosophy in general.

Max Payne

Game Description: Max Payne is a stylish, urban, revenge-driven action game based in New York City's grimy underground. A groundbreaking rendering engine allows for heart-stopping, photorealistic visuals and breathtaking movie-quality effects as Max Payne fights his way to uncover the truth. The game combines elements from Hollywood action thrillers with the latest in video game technology to deliver a highly original gameplay experience.

Max Payne – Review

Max Payne is certainly not a first-person shooter, but there are several things that make it a rather "distanced" third person shooter.

Max Payne – Consumer Guide

According to the ESRB, this game contains: Blood, Violence

Vandal Hearts – Consumer Guide

According to ESRB, this game contains: Animated Blood & Gore, Animated Violence

Vandal Hearts – Second Opinion

I can't say for sure since I'm not privy to the full scope of games released in Japan, but it has seemed to me for a long time that Konami promotes a particular aesthetic in their RPGs. Their two most prominent RPG series in the U.S., Vandal Hearts and Suikoden, have always been similar in theme and tone. Both series focus on stories of war, and although they do glorify battle and military conflict to some extent, they are striking in that they invariably emphasizewith no ambiguitythe absurdity, contradiction, and pain of war in a moral and social sense. While I enjoy plenty of other RPGs for their elements of fantasy and escapism, I always know that when I come back to Konami I will not be let off so easily. There is a palpable sadness in these games, a sense of hurt and moral outrage that visibly sets them apart from other RPGs that have come to the U.S.

Vandal Hearts

Game Description: A fantasy battlefield in which you must raise your sword or summon your magic to conquer an empire torn with vengeance. The 3D battlefields with their many views will place you in life or death situations. Prepare your wit and strength to battle foes from unknown forces. Gallant victories lead to the magnificent Vandal-Heart.

Vandal Hearts – Second Opinion

I can't say for sure since Im not privy to the full scope of games released in Japan, but it has seemed to me for a long time that Konami promotes a particular aesthetic in their RPGs. Their two most prominent RPG series in the U.S., Vandal Hearts and Suikoden, have always been similar in theme and tone.

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