Earlier this year, Atlus released Summon Night, showing GBA fans that there’s still some fight left in the handheld system. Though it was a solid title, it had some frustrating points that kept it from becoming a classic. It seemed that if these issues were resolved, Summon Night would have been a must-have title. Atlus is now bringing over the sequel, which has made many fixes and refinements that improve the overall gameplay. It’s certainly a solid title, but it’s still missing that little something that would push it towards greatness.
This time around, players are called to arms in order to prevent their home village from becoming a gateway to Hades. Taking up the role of a young craftknight apprentice (male or female), players must find a way to reseal a prison that houses an ancient demon, lest they face unholy reckoning. Why is all this up to an adolescent craftknight-to-be? Well, the father of our protagonist perished while sealing this demon away, but not before endowing our champion-in-training with a few family secrets.
The gameplay has been refined over the original, making for a more streamlined product that’s easier to approach. Gone is the need to upgrade every weapon to further the story, exchanged with the ability to focus on improving a single weapon. The long-winded exposition of the original title has been replaced with a sink-or-swim mentality, immediately tossing players into the fray. The weapon crafting system has been revamped, allowing players to tune combat to their own style, with a surprise or two along the way.
Just about every individual element of the game is up to snuff, with a few elements that really stand out. One of the biggest failings of the first title was that it was far too easy to lose track of what you’re supposed to do — if you came back to the game after a while, there really wasn’t anything to remind you of what you should be doing. In SN2, a reminder is only as far away as the push of a button. When you press the select button on the GBA, a brief text scroll tells you what area to go to or what item you need to retrieve, making things much easier to handle.
Objectives themselves are rather mundane, consisting of the aforementioned “go to area X” or “claim item Y.” It tends to be rather simple and requires some backtracking, with puzzles strewn throughout to keep things from becoming too dull. The puzzles in the game revolve around the weapons that you can create, requiring players to have at least the most basic version of each weapon class. For example, gloves are needed to move boulders, an axe is used to chop down shrubbery, and a drill gets you through a demolished doorway.