Vandal Hearts First Look

The M-rated strategy role-playing game series returns with a prequel, and we get our first look.

The original Vandal Hearts came out on the PlayStation more than 10 years ago and its sequel followed just a few years later. It's been a while since we've heard anything about the world of Vandal Hearts, but now Konami is revisiting the series with a prequel, set to be released on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network. At the Konami event last week, we were able to get a quick look at the game, but unfortunately we weren't able to see much more beyond a battle demo.

An early look at the Vandal Hearts prequel. Typical SRPG stuff.

The events of Vandal Hearts will take place before the original game, and newcomers will find that this is an excellent starting point if you're new to the series. For those who are familiar with the previous two games, there will be story elements that will provide more insight into the original storyline, given that this was made with the fans in mind. The fighting mechanics should feel familiar to anyone who's played a strategy RPG before; between the story-driven sequences, violent battles are fought and won. Movement is grid-based, so characters are limited to the highlighted squares for each turn. Each character can carry two weapons, so you can shoot a long-ranged bow or make a melee attack with an axe, depending on the situation. Your party (up to six in the game) takes individual turns as they move around the field like chess pieces, trying to find ways to swarm and conquer.

Characters will have affinities to certain job types, but it's up to you to determine which path you want them to specialize in. Some of the features have been streamlined so that you don't have to deal with a ton of menus regarding leveling and statistics. We were told that your characters will develop based on how you use them. For example, if you make a specific character move around the battlefield a lot, eventually his or her movement will increase. If you use a bow and arrow frequently, the character's long-range attacks become stronger. All of this is happening behind the scenes as you play, so you don't have to deal with the micromanaging.

From watching the short battle, it flows like a standard tactical RPG would, but every game varies. Your characters can counter attacks if they've been hit with the same weapon type that they are wielding. If you're standing next to an ally that's low on health, you can use a turn to swap places to try to save him or her from an impending death. Keeping up with the spirit of Vandal Hearts, blood flows liberally--like a fountain--whenever possible.

Dark, gritty and not so pretty.

The art style has a different look and feel than what you're normally used to when it comes to Japanese RPGs. The portraits are like ink cartoons and the environment gives off a more sinister vibe. This is fitting due to the gory nature of the series, but considering that we didn't get to see much, we're waiting to get a more detailed look at the game. No release date has been set yet, but it's supposed to come out later this year on XBLA and the PSN.

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Discussion

40 comments
tknewzealand
tknewzealand

@REQUIEMAURA AHHH! Zombie video game developers!

ti_marc1102
ti_marc1102

I just finished it today and...well...THAT was short. Here I was working on building up my little guys when suddenly the story ended! Well Konami won this one, they made me pay $16.91 to make me blow the dust off Vandal Hearts 1 &2 and start a new game over.

REQUIEMAURA
REQUIEMAURA

We are all thinking it im just saying it...this game is absolute crap.My love for the original Vandal Hearts is immense and leaves me sad,depressed,and repeating the eternal question "How did it come to this?" Put the dam title back in the hands of the original makers i dont care if they are dead or disbanded to other companys throw some god dam money into it and get them back!

bvjens31
bvjens31

never played the originals but love FFT. i'll probably have to check this one out...and keep hoping that FFT2 will someday be a reality

maximo
maximo

I dont care about the graphics one bit. I played the original Vandal Hearts and it was brilliant in my opinion. Brings back great memories. Even if this game is half as good as the original... it will be great

X-Magick
X-Magick

I for one am not so concerned about the graphics. As long as the gameplay is as in depth as the 1st one and the story is deep and interesting it will be worth the few bucks that they will want.

Odnomiar
Odnomiar

can't wait for this... the original is still a superb game. they should put all of them on live! :D

ryanorgeorge
ryanorgeorge

i REALLY liked vandal hearts 1. I hope this is not another sorry excuse for a game, made just to get money from nostalgic gameplayers (like tmnt re-shelled was). These grid based strategy games seem quite simple to make... but need story, good characters, some depth to the gameplay, and they need to be considerable in length.... something XBLA doesn't usually produce......... FINGERS CROSSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

djr1118
djr1118

dam it sux i missed the first one wayyy back when :( but at least i can check this one out.. it could be interesting the way u dont have to micromanage ur team off screen but in battle while u play...

KaoaAlakane
KaoaAlakane

I loved the original. Never played the second one though. Sounds like I didnt miss anything. Ill at least check out the trial version.

Jack_240
Jack_240

we should have a demo to decide weather we buy or not

_AbBaNdOn
_AbBaNdOn

When I saw the name Vandal Hearts my pulse quickened. But after seeing the screenshots I feel like crying. I don't know if the fountains of blood will be enough to pull me back in.....

Ein001
Ein001

Ugh those portraits look terrible, hope they make it less cartoony. If this fails horribly FFT2 will never get made.

UnsaidWarning
UnsaidWarning

Loved the first two games in the series, but from the looks of this one the art style is not appealing. Hopefully the game play is as good as before. Nice to see a great series getting some recognition.

ParagonVision
ParagonVision

I was a fan of the first one just because the PSX was so RPG starved stateside when Vandal Hearts hit. The second one was an absolute mess of game. This manages to look even worse.

indio870
indio870

I beat 1 and 2.I cant believe its coming back!

DoM-Yusuf
DoM-Yusuf

finally another vandal hearts series... the only game that i finished twenty times... just hope the system adapt from the first series...

backatcha
backatcha

Sounds cool, I think I will get it.

Akaneiro
Akaneiro

This is a slap in the face to anybody who played the original or the sequel to it. The original game was gritty, dark, and gory for its time; it was also a very mature style... and now I get what looks like a some twisted spin off of monster madness in SRPG form (UGH). I own the originals, I'll stick to those.

SWORD0424
SWORD0424

naaaa, looks kiddish and im not that into RPG's or MMO'S

Ares360
Ares360

I'm a big fan of the first one but this looks like they're kids and honestly looks too cartooney rather than serious like the series franchise.

itchyflop
itchyflop

If anything its different i ll give it that, but man even if it is a downloadable, look at it, guys and girls if you want visuals like this buy a gameboy advance and save yourself 300 quid (or if its an xbox 360 alot more when it constantly breaks down!!). When are developers going to stop living in the 80s and 90s!!

CoreMaths
CoreMaths

hmm i read the title in the link and was enthused, not so much anymore after reading the article

Chizaqui
Chizaqui

meh, vandal hearts was the first rpg I ever completed, and the only thing off-putting (to me anyway) are the silly portraits... must be gearing to try and get the series alive again....

guynamedyeah
guynamedyeah

doesnt look very good...i like the idea of adding a little more gore and grit to the genre...being that swords equal gore and look good in grit. but why the terrible style??

swordaxe
swordaxe

Oh my god what crud. I absolutely loved the first two games. In fact I STILL play them. This is a joke. This is like Monster Madness meets VH. How disappointing. Someone please make a new and GREAT Vandal Hearts game. Not this crap.

thelostcause
thelostcause

Looking at this disgusts me, I am probably one of few to enjoy the two games in their time, but even those graphics 10 years ago was better than this, way to ruin such an amazing series.....not even going to bother with this piece of crap

NuKkU
NuKkU

looks like a kiddie cartoon but i cant wait i own both the original VH

majere613
majere613

I must admit to being a bit confused by the style of the art, too, it really does seem to have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Disgaea 3 might be a bit pixely and still 2.5D, but it looks a lot better than this, imho. Anyway, here's hoping it plays more like VH than VH2, which had a bizarre turn sequence that meant you could reliably kill just about anything with one character.

Barighm
Barighm

Looks nice. Never played the original games but wanted to, and I like to see old-school'ish RPG's and SRPG's being released on Live. Would love to see more games like this on Live (I'm tired of all the greats being released on portables). And boy too many people put far too much value in looks. Great games play great, not look great!

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

I thought the original Vandal Hearts was sick, so this could be awesome. I don't personally care if they change the art style (even though it does look like a Nick Toon :)). I just hope the gameplay is still great. Btw, why is GS really playing up the gore factor?? Yes, blood shot up like a fountain when you killed someone, but that's it; it's not that bad. Not like you sever limbs or rip people's heads off or something; there are countless other games that are more violent these days so not sure why they're making a big deal about this.

bgranli
bgranli

I have to agree with you guys, the character portraits are f'd up.

badmrfrosty7
badmrfrosty7

Yeah it seems as though they just needed a name for this game because this is a sad excuse of a prequel. I mean really? Gore is their selling point for this? The original Vandal hearts is what got me into strategy games in the first place. Put that thing on the psp or something instead of making crap re-hash with the "innocent character art with bloody results" cliche.

Dunan
Dunan

Yikes, what happened to the art indeed. It looks like something from Nickolodeon crashed into it.

Jersalaw
Jersalaw

This is one of those games I picked up when I first had a Playstation and absolutely loved. The character avatars definitely have a different style, but as long as the gameplay and the story looks good, this will be a definite pick up for me.

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

I might pass on this game it really doesn't look like a game for me.

xBLACK-MAGEx
xBLACK-MAGEx

eww the style looks like a cheap cartoon. fix plz