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Viredae avatar 11:20 PM on 02.20.2012  (server time)
Endings: The Recursive Ending

In any form of media, there are bad endings, good endings, endings that make you want to chuck the controller into the television, endings that make nod and tell yourself that yup, it was worth it.

As I recall, there is only one ending that made stand up, dropping the controller in the process, and start clapping while mouthing "Bravo! Bra-frikkin-Vo!" from not only the satisfaction of ending the game, but because it contained an original concept that I have not even seen anybody even try to mimic it, to my shock.

What is this incredible game, you ask?

Why it's Shadow Hearts: Covenant, of course!

Now it stands to reason that since we're talking about endings, there should be some spoilers, but this article not only spoils this game, but also spoils the previous game in the series; the original Shadow Hearts, these are somewhat old games, but I believe I'm still obligated to, so here's a spoiler warning for ya:

Warning! This article contains spoilers of both the original Shadow Hearts and Shadow Hearts: Covenant!

Well, now that's over with, let's get on to explaining the ending, let's start by explaining the games a bit, first off, we have here Shadow Hearts, a game that came out in 2001 at the hay-days of the PlayStation 2, it was a traditional style RPG that featured a small twist on the gameplay mechanic that made sure you couldn't just mash the X button to the encounters' victory by employing timed button presses to ensure the success of your attacks, and allow you to hit critical ones if you're good enough.

But that's not really the shining star in the game.

What REALLY shines is the setting and story, set in the early years of the 20th century with a very gothic and pulp horror styled tone, our story begins when our hero, Yuri Hyuga, seeks to save Alice Elliot, an exorcist and love interest who hears voices in her head kidnapped by an occultist named Roger Bacon (Yes, that Roger bacon) and find out what he's planning.

Now, the first title is pretty much an average fair in RPGs when it comes to endings, it has two of them, one good and one bad, and in the bad one Alice (our heroine) dies after saving the world, while she doesn't in the good one, that is the main difference.

The interesting thing is that the supposedly cannon ending is the bad ending, which will be clear as to why when we get to the next game in line.

Now this game is pretty much a continuation of the last as our hero Yuri sets out to save the day once again, this time from Rasputin himself (Again, yes, that Rasputin), alongside the German soldier Karin, seen above.

Well... At least initially, because you there was this recurring character in both games named Masaji Kato, a Japanese soldier and, in the second game an envoy, has lost his love to the war in the first game, and in the end, he swoops in to take the villain mantle from Rasputin, bent on casting a spell to time travel back 100 years into the past, create a new world and destroy the current reality!

Now here's where it gets interesting!

Because even after the bad guy is defeated, the power that would have sent him back into the past is still there, and our heroes are caught up in, and being powered by thought, the party end up having to employ a similar method to the one used in Ghostbusters to stop Gozer from manifesting; in other words, don't think of anything!

It works just as well, though.

You see, while our heroine Karin, whose uncanny resemblance to our hero Yuri's mother (Oedipal complex FTW?) turns out to be an odd sort of time loop where, yes, she IS Yuri's mother because she thought of his father at that particular moment, but that's not the interesting thing (At least, not the part that impressed me)

The interesting part is where (or when) Yuri ends up: he ends up at the starting point of the first game, ready to take another stab at saving his dead beloved, and (literally) get the good ending.

That's right, this game just gave a reason why both the bad and the good ending are cannon, at the same time!!

Cue the standing, the clapping, and the "Bra-frikkin'-Vo!" part, because what good is a time traveling story if you can't play with the story mechanics even a little bit?

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