Summon Night: Swordcraft Story «

As Nintendo’s GBA enters its twilight, the games released for it are few and far between. On top of that, the amount of good games that are released are that much less. It’s a joy to see that there’s still some life left in the portable console, as Atlus is handing over a little something before the GBA is put out to pasture. Though Summon Night: Swordcraft Story has all of those clichés and basic plot devices that any RPG’er is used to, there’s plenty of unique gameplay to make the title worthwhile.

Summon Night follows a young craftknight apprentice as he/she (the gender can be chosen at the start of the game) endures trials to become a craftlord worthy of filling the shoes of his/her father, who happens to be a legendary hero. In order to do so, the first step to rising in the ranks of the craftknights is to participate in a local tournament that pits the various youngsters against each other, with the prize of craftlord training for the victor. The game starts out well enough, with a quick tutorial introducing players to how the game works, easing folks into the battle system. You even get a magical critter to help you!

The problem is that it seems to take forever for the game to get going. The first five or so hours consisted of going into a single dungeon, leveling-up, and gathering materials to build new weapons powerful enough to battle in the tournament everybody in town is talking about, go back into the same crypt, delving into deeper areas so players can level and gather more materials. It’s a circular situation that quickly becomes a bit dull due to the lack of variety in the environments and quest. Just when things are looking like the game is going to be a tedious experience with no relief in sight, a mysterious young man is found drifting at the local docks.

From here, things pick up significantly as players are sent to distant locales to battle for justice and honor. Of course, the adventure brings players back to the starting town for some more spelunking, but seeing some new sights and slaying some new foes does wonders to alleviate the monotony. The story is incredibly standard, but it manages to be compelling nonetheless, offering humor, adventure, romance and of course, temperamental women.


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