I agree that it goes too far with From the New World. I know Covenant can be ridiculous, but FtNW is truly ridiculous. And the main protagonist is bleh.
(Not that I have anything against ridiculous at times, though; on paper, a practitioner of Gun-Fu, a giant drunken cat who worked with Al Capone, a vampire who gets skinny or fat depending on her caloric intake, a Brazilian ninja named Frank who wears an angler fish suit, a shape-shifting scantily-clad Native American lady, and a guitarist whose instrument hides all manner of weaponry should make for fun times. In practice, it never really grabbed me.)
but I think I'll consider the Koudelka saga finished when I beat Covenant.
I can't speak for From the New World yet, but Covenant is worth your time. I feel like I've come off as more negative towards Covenant than I've meant to. It's just that I've often seen Covenant highly praised on forums over the years, so I've felt compelled to point out some of its less than stellar aspects. But by and large, Covenant is a very solid JRPG, and is a strong sequel to Shadow Hearts. I'm just not sure if I would call it a superior sequel at this point.
"This point" being 22 hours in. I only managed to put two hours into the game in the past three days. Mainly because I've been busy with other hobbies. I do enjoy Covenant while I'm playing it, but thus far it lacks that "can't wait to play this" feeling I get when I'm really into a game. You know the feeling, when you're pining for a game whilst you're doing your normal daily responsibilities. Covenant doesn't give me that magical lust, but it's consistently rewarding when I do actually play it. I'll just be glad when I'm finally out of Russia. The last part of the game takes place in Japan, I think I'll dig that environs a lot more.
Edit: Also I'm wondering if nullPointer is still playing Koudelka?
Also I'm wondering if nullPointer is still playing Koudelka?
Definitely! It's been quite the busy week though; family in town over the weekend, crunch time at work, and my wife is in surgery today (nothing terribly serious or invasive). So progress has been slow for a few days now. I'm actually at this moment in the waiting room at the hospital, and I brought my PSP with the intent of sneaking in some game time during the wait ... but I forgot to bring a set of headphones. I don't want to miss out on any cutscenes or story development! #FML 😁 I may see if I can pick up a pair in the gift shop, or I may just devote some time to grinding in silence.
At any rate I think I'm about halfway through disc 3. Koudelka is still proving to be an enjoyable experience, though I don't think I have a whole lot to add beyond what I've discussed previously. The environments start to feel a bit same-y at this point in the game, but it's hard to hold it against it due to the fact that they're also quite well done.
The final(?) encounter with the caretakers was a real highlight for me, partly due to the scene successfully evoking the reaction it was shooting for. "Are they really going there!? ... Yep they sure did". Brutal stuff. Brutally enjoyable.
The environments can be a bit samey, but to be fair, the entire game takes place in one location (the monastery) so it's understandable at least. I would definitely seek out those earbuds, the voice acting is too good to miss. Plus the creepy noises the monsters make. The story is brutal, absolutely. Very dark, very controversial stuff for being a PS1 JRPG. That aspect really impressed me.
I'm glad you are still playing the game. I plan to put some more hours into Covenant tonight myself.
Post by nullPointer on Oct 1, 2018 13:46:40 GMT -5
Just a quick post-September update to say that I beat Koudelka over the weekend. I really enjoyed my time with this one, and I'm thankful that our theme this (last) month pushed me to play it sooner rather than later. I'm always deeply appreciative of games that have a mastery of tone and setting, and Koudelka is particularly well done in this regard. Creature design was another nice element in this game, but I have to say that they outdid themselves in terms of body horror with the final boss and associated cut scenes. Well done Sacnoth! As everyone and their dogs have pointed out the combat is the Achilles heel of this title, and if they'd really fine tuned it a bit, I suspect we'd be talkign about Koudelka in terms of a full fledged classic rather than a cult classic. Still, with the exception of two boss battles, I never had any encounter last more than a few rounds and nothing that I'd consider difficult in the slightest. (It's at this point I should point out that I didn't even attempt to take on the Gargoyle) It was fairly rare that I even had to heal during battle (not to mention the fact that you level up so frequently, it almost takes the place of healing).
I've not played any of the Shadow Hearts games, but I'll echo the sentiment of others to say that it would have been nice to have had other adventures with Koudelka. I think starting next year I'm going to attempt to assign a numeric score to the games I beat, but if I were to start now I'd likely put Koudelka at a solid 7. Great tone and setting (+2). Solid voice work and characterization (+1). Nice story development (+1). Middling combat (-2).
I've not played any of the Shadow Hearts games, but I'll echo the sentiment of others to say that it would have been nice to have had other adventures with Koudelka.
For what it's worth, Koudelka Iasant's legacy lives on in Shadow Hearts, in a literal sense. I don't want to ruin it for those who've not played Shadow Hearts, but there are concrete ties plot-wise between the two games. But yes, having Koudelka herself as a playable character in another Sacnoth RPG would have been appreciated.
I'd likely put Koudelka at a solid 7
Seems like a fair score. I'd give it a 7.5/10 personally. I'd give its sequel a 9/10. As for Covenant... maybe an 8/10 at this point.
I'm going to double down hard on finishing Covenant now for real. Sadly it just hasn't grabbed me the same way that Koudelka and Shadow Hearts did. My main issues are a lack of proper creepy atmosphere, a much weaker plot than the first two games, an often misplaced sense of humor, stupidly long cutscenes, too many party characters I don't care about, Yuri's character got nerfed, and zero difficulty at 30 hours in thusly. Despite all of those complaints, Covenant does have enough quality aspects that it's worth finishing. So I will.