These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Crazy Awesome: Joachim. Vampire? Check! Superhero? Check! Professional Wrestler? And check!
Crowning Music of Awesome: Soundtracks by Yoshitaka Hirota, with Yasunori Mitsuda guest-composing a few tracks on the first two games for extra added flavor. Since Hirota is almost unquestionably a disciple of Akira Yamaoka and Mitsuda needsnointroduction, Shadow Hearts' soundtrack manages to be both epic and skin-crawlingly creepy at the same time.
Foe Yay: Veronica and anyone she interacts with. Perhaps save for Joachim.
Fridge Brilliance: Halley has ESP abilities in Shadow Hearts - they're nice, but suck a lot of his MP out. This actually makes sense when you consider he's not had that much time to train his abilities and that they sometimes pop up when he is having a tantrum. (He even shouts, "Gah! I hate you! I hate you!" when using his psychic powers.)
The Sanity Points. Vampires always have high SP because they're used to seeing supernatural creatures on a day-to-day basis. People like Alice, Halley, Karin, and Anastasia who have low SP aren't so they're getting used to seeing these monsters. They also grow as they level up; as the character of course gets more and more desensitized to the existence of monsters, so it quite literally takes more to drive them insane. The Harmonixers always have high SP because, well, that power threatens to drive them insane so they have to get used to it.
Anastasia's Summon Magic operates through a camera and pictures; and she can't use the Summon Magic until she attains the proper picture. This is actually Fridge Brilliance because some people used to believe that cameras would steal your soul.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Margarete. This is Mata Hari we're talking about. Covenant is set in 1915. Anyone else remember what happened to the real one near the end of WWI? For those who don't know, the French executed her for spying.
Game Breaker: If used properly, Lucia's Aromatherapy ability can make the game *much* easier with the only drawback being it will effect everybody but her. her successor, Ricardo, is also pretty good, too.
Combos can become this way. They're optional but still powerful if utilized properly in Covenant but in From the new world? You can see several videos of people literally racking up the bonus damage from using the huge-flashy-and-practical-abilities-that-inflict-lots-of-hits and taking out a sizable chunk of the boss's HP.
Growing the Beard: The first Shadow Hearts game is widely considered a solid horror-tinted RPG, with an interesting combat system in the Judgement Ring and a refreshing protagonist in Yuri. The second game, though cutting back (a little) in the horror department, is considered by many fans to be the apex of the series and one of the best RPGs in history, improving upon almost every facet of what was already praised as good.
Hell Is That Noise: Quite a few, both in exploration and combat. In the first game, you walk on blood and corpses quite often, producing a disgusting wet noise with every step. And the music for some areas would include screams, hysterical laughter and strange pants. Then the monsters come along and assault your ears with their weird moaning, nauseating squishy noises or gut-wrenching screams.
Furthermore, if through whatever means your characters happen to go insane by having their Sanity Points depleted, the music changes to the 'Berserk Track'. There is a unique Berserk Track for each battle theme in the game, and is usually... Well, different. Compare standard with berserk.
Ho Yay: Joachim with pretty much any other male character.
Jerkass Woobie: While every game has Woobies who wind up becoming villains, From the New World takes this trope Up to Eleven - it's pretty clear that we're not supposed to sympathize with Lady or Killer at all... but all you know about Lady is what Shania told you, and Killer is his backstory. The more you learn about Lady, by the end, you will either feel like a complete ass for having killed her, or you will see it as Putting Lady out of her misery, earning both her and Killer a Redemption Equals Death.
Memetic Badass: Yuri. A lot of Shadow Hearts fans hold him up as one of the toughest protagonists in the RPG genre.
Narm: Shadow Hearts had the backstory from the ghost girl that was supposed to be creepy. However, the horrible English voice acting makes it hilarious with the old woman repeatedly telling the cast the exact screams the girl made.
Nightmare Fuel: The Doll House sidequests, particularly the one in the first SH. Also, the Boss Room in the optional dungeon Kowloon Fortress is just...*shudder*
More to the point: you know how most RPG series use kind of goofy-looking cutesy monsters as enemies? This one uses skinned corpses. For Mooks. And they're the least disturbing thing about it!
The enemy bios in the Library are quite unnvering. There's a particular enemy in Covenant that's described as devouring a pregnant woman and absorbing her into itself and the person trapped inside is screaming constantly.
Near all the monsters in Koudelka and the original Shadow Hearts are just...fucked up. Case in point: One of the first monsters you encounter in Shadow Hearts is a giant spider that- according to its bio- injects corrosive venom into the anus of its prey, and then devours its melting insides. One of the first monsters.
More examples include the Armdog, an upside-down dog standing on a human arm..."The ghost of a postman who ate all the dogs in town". Or Sin, a scrawny naked woman standing on her arms, holding a pike with her toes which goes through a brain - "a mistake of God which seeks revenge against its creator". Or Guinea Pig, again a naked woman - with no head, that attacks you by splitting its whole body between her legs to bite you. Or the snail-girls in Zhaoyang village, with an absolutely horrible scream - "the ghost of a girl who was burned alive. She is very lonely, but don't get to friendly with her". For Covenant, we get male Fan Disservice in the form of a masculine lower body, gliding on its abdomen and legs in the air, which hits you with a huge phallic lump of flesh hanging from its crotch and bites you with mouths in the crook of its knees. And that's not even going into the bosses...
Replacement Scrappy: Johnny from From the New World. As far as some fans are concerned, he's not Yuri.
Scrappy Mechanic: To do anything, you need to press the action button at the right time at least three times. Anything. This includes attacking, spell casting, using an item, searching a place for an item that's right in sight. And would you believe this very same mechanic somehow wasn't horrible in the sequels?
Hildegarde's Calorie Meter in From the New World is an utter bitch to work without expending rare, irreplaceable items.
Squick: Kato creating Ouka as a Replacement Goldfish for his dead love interest. It gets even more disturbing when Raiden and Hien discuss, in a cutscene, about Kato and Ouka wanting to have a baby together.
Her attraction to him isn't especially squicky until it's revealed that she is stalking him through time itself to be with him as a child. Assuming she retains her memories after the time travel (debatable), that's one messed-up family.
That One Boss: Shadow Hearts 1, Fox Face. Or any of the four killer bosses that pop up after you beat him.
They Just Didn't Care: The first game's voice acting is already pretty bad, but they didn't even redo the battle vocals... except with Margarete and Halley, and even then, it's only when she pulls out her phone to call in for help, or when he's casting a spell.. They're right back to speaking Japanese immediately afterwards.
Uncanny Valley: Averted because of the stylized characters (Rasputin looks like a cartoon villain), but in Covenant, there's the "Miracle" scene in which, for once, the Uncanny Valley turns out to be more funny than creepy, because Yuri tries to make a sad face...but it looks so ridiculous some people who would have cried at that scene suddenly found themselves stifling back laughter. This has become a very minor meme in itself.
Played straight with most enemies. Such as the boss from Covenant that is a giant spider with human fingers for legs and mandibles, a human nose placed in the middle of it's head, and a realistic human mouth with teeth and lips.