|Mild Violence and Blood
| The Good
Pseudo-real time combat system is refreshing
Areas are immense
Tons of NPCs to interact with
| The Bad
Insane loading times
Poor map system
Graphics can be ugly at times
Summoner starts with the tale of Joseph, a young man who
as a boy summoner a monster to save his village from attackers,
only to have the monster run amok, killing friend and foe.
From that point, he swore never to use his power. That is,
until his current village is sieged by soldiers looking for
him and he must flee to find Yago, a man who would help him
learn how to use his summoning power.
While this may sound like a clichéd beginning, it
really lays out the groundwork for a fairly deep and involving
game that can be as long or short as you like. Entering a
city can lead to hours of walking around, talking to people.
Certain people will have tasks that they will ask you to perform.
What's nice about this is that if you succeed at these tasks,
your character will get experience and gold, which allows
the player not to spend all of their time finding battles
to fight. Also, once a new level is attained, skills can be
leveled up at the player's own choosing.
Cities are immense, often involving multiple areas from which
the player can walk around, investigating. Also, people with
important things to say have different speech bubbles from
the rest of the rabble, allowing the player to choose whether
or not to speak to whomever they please.
Summoner's combat system is a refreshing change from the
tried and true turn-based. Not totally real-time, the player
moves around in the environment, attacking enemies with his
team. While the player controls only one person at a time,
the rest of his team acts automatically as instructed, allowing
the player to use strategy in defeating enemies.
With so much going for Summoner, it seems to stumble, failing
to come across at the great RPG it should be. The main sore
spot is the graphics. At times, areas and backgrounds can
look great and even impressive. The graphics for the characters,
though, are another thing altogether. In a blunt word, they're
ugly. Most of the cast looks as though it's suffering from
the plague. Another sore spot is the almost painful pop-in
of the backgrounds. This is not usually something I would
care about if it weren't so painfully obvious. Buildings and
faraway NPCs have a manner of showing up the closer you move
to them. The worst case of this is in the Lenele wharf where
you walk away from the docks only the have the castle instantly
appear out of nowhere. Also, loading times between areas are
insanely long. The last time I waited so long between areas
was for Diablo, and that was a randomly generated dungeon.
Speaking of Diablo... Anyone who's played that game will
probably find this one visually familiar. It's quite obvious
that this game was at least visually and conceptually based
on Diablo and it's counterparts.
All in all, Summoner is not a bad game. It actually has some
good ideas and potentially could have been a great start on
a new system. The problem is that it suffers from what may
seem like a lack of production. When a game pauses and tells
the player that it's having trouble with the DVD information,
you know that something's up. I hope that something similar
to this will come out in the next year will all of the inherent
Note: People who have played Dungeons and Dragons
might want to at least rent this for the hidden footage when
a player exits the credits screen. A handful of characters
from the game are playing an all-too-exact game of D&D, complete
with characters arguing over what spells they cast and other
players asking "Am I in the room?" from the kitchen.