time to put on a pot of coffee. Put the pop on ice; grab a pizza and
take the phone off the hook because a new role-playing game has
arrived for the computer to take you away from your daily routine.
Summoner is a port from the
Playstation II. The PC version was the first one in development, but
it was temporarily abandoned in favor of the PS2 version in order for
the game to be ready at launch. There was no need to get
worried--there is much fun to be had with a unique fighting system and
in depth story with some added goodness specific to the PC platform.
story begins with farmer Joseph who has a "gift" to summon
various creatures with the help of special rings that initiates his
quest--turns out this "gift" is responsible for the
destruction of a village! Thrust into an adventure to save his land
from the Emperor of Orenia, Joseph will meet A LOT of people. And in
order to complete everything Summoner has to offer, you'll need to
talk to all of them. As with a majority of role playing games, various
characters will join your party. Summoner has taken some of the more
popular aspects of RPGs--like Diablo--to create a unique hybrid that
is extremely engrossing to play. And not unike Diablo, there will be
plenty of items that can be found (and sold) to some merchant on the
way. Also, not every item in universal; there will be some that can
only be used by Joseph. The use of skill points is another RPG
convention used here--whenever a character increases a level you can
choose what points you'd like where, but you cannot put more points
into an attribute than what your current level is. Saving can be done
at anytime in the game and it is recommended to save often!
Considering the multitude of tasks you have to partake in, it would be
a bummer to have to do them all over if you die.
makes this game stand out is it's intuitive battle system. When
approaching an enemy you click the left mouse button to begin your
attack--once an attack is started you will be prompted with a little
chain icon above the character and if performed correctly a chain move
will occur. This can be repeated as many times as you can correctly
click the right mouse button. You can also use ALT, CAPS, SHIFT, and
CTRL to use specific chain moves. There are only four moves allotted
to the chain attacks at one time which can be changed at any time by
going to the character screen. Each character has unique chain moves
and as the character progresses they will learn new chain moves. The
battles are extremely different than some RPGs in the way that you
cannot just hack at a creature. There is a delay in the attacks to
give a more traditional turn-based hybrid that combine with spells
that can be cast.
characters are designed well and there's a wealth of non-playable
characters in the towns and other environments. There are a few
glitches in some of the cut scenes involving characters and the
graphics overall are a bit lower than expected. Textures are sometimes
a bit quirky--by having a plane that is fractured and placing textures
along as the characters progress makes the ground appear as it were
stretching and twisting around you. These problems take away nothing
from the game itself, but they definitely could use some more work.
when I hear the sound of a baby crying I usually cringe in fear,
especially when I am engrossed into a good story. Babies are but one
thing that will make your ears sing. Running water will get louder or
softer depending on the distance between you and the source. Other
little sounds along the way just heighten the experience. The music is
nice and doesn't distract from the mood that is trying to be put
across and remains in the background where it is supposed to be.
of the biggest potential killers of games can be the interface. If the
game is to difficult to maneuver around or even see everything your
character will be dead in the water before you know it. Summoner does
its best to make sure that the interface helps instead of hinders,
beginning with the camera angle which has been a constant source of
grief for gamers since the inclusion of the third person perspective.
The camera in Summoner gives the control back to the gamer. You have
the option to rotate the camera 360 degrees around the character as
well as the option to zoom in or out depending on your preferences. A
nice addition is whenever there is something to do such as search a
barrel for items, it will flash in order to let you know. The layout
of the HUD is clean and compact, not wasting any space with trivial
things that you will not need. There are hotkeys that will bring up
various windows with arrows on them to cycle through the various
screens. The map is typical in that it will not let you know what is
up ahead, just where you have been.
Not wanting to just port over the game
itself, THQ decided to introduce a multiplayer function not in the PS2
version, so there are some extra goodies for the PC owners out there.
Multiplayer allows up to four people to play cooperatively, building
up your characters as you steal the occasional item from another.
While this is a nice addition it's the single player story that makes
this game shine.
With a ton of RPG's out there for the
PC market it is becoming increasingly difficult to find one that is
worthy of the time and effort--Summoner is worth the time and effort.
The characters are well written and there's a vast amount of quests to
complete. The minor problems of Summoner are not ones that affect the
game in any significant way. In Summoner, story is king--long live the