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Summoner Review

GAME INFO
publisher: THQ
developer: Volition, Inc.
genre: Action Adventure

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PII-400, 64MB RAM, 800MB HDD, 8MB 3D accelerator
ESRB rating: T
homepage:
www.summoner.com/

release date: Mar 19, 01
» All About Summoner on ActionTrip


Joseph, the Summoner, is here and we must say he looks pretty cool, considering that he's coming from developers which never tried out their talents in making an RPG before. After the amazing success of Free Space, Volition has decided to endeavour a completely different game genre. So, I stress again, they've done quite a good job of it as it happens. Anyway, let's get down to business.

For those of you who haven't been introduced to the main character, Joseph, and his life story here's a few brief words: Joseph is a simple farmer, who was banished from his village a long time ago, since everybody blamed him for summoning a demon he couldn't control. He summoned up this demon with the use of a powerful ring. The demon destroyed the village and killed all of his friends. Resentful and without any other alternative left, Joseph hurls the ring into a well. But, as the ring had a strange power of its own it found a way to re-unite with its master (sound familiar enough?). In any case, your task is to find the rest of the missing four rings and merge their power once again.

The ring motive can easily be compared to Lord of The Rings story concept, regarding the One Ring and Nine Riders pursuing its bearer. A slight difference in this tale is that there are only four riders chasing the owner of the ring. Anyway, I guess thus may annoy Tolkien fans; on the other hand, the notion that someone is constantly on your tail might let you enjoy the whole game even more.

To put it as simple as possible, your ultimate goal is to obtain all of the summoning rings and make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands. Without revealing the story any further I have to say that you'll find the whole plot completely satisfactory (ok, maybe you'll get a bit bored when some of the NPC's start endlessly blabbering about the story, but who cares, if you don't want to listen you can always cover your ears and walk away).

As the story unfolds, you can either carry out your ultimate goal, or you can involve your company in a quest that's unrelated to the game plot. It may take a long time to complete some of them, but, normally, this is the best way to collect experience points. At certain moments you'll find that there are too many quests, which is a godsend because you'll never be bored during the game. The key individuals to the story, besides Joseph are, Flece (a skilled thief who grew up in the streets of the city of Lenele), Jekhar the warrior, and Rosalind a student of the Order of Iona (who desires to become a powerful mage-priest).

On the whole, the most important person of your company is Joseph. His ring will allow him to cast some pretty dangerous spells, and it will also give him the ability to summon-up demons and monsters so that he can defeat the enemy. However, don't get overwhelmed yet, because the ring won't be available to you from the very beginning. Which means that you'll first have to pass through a few quests and fight your way through a horde of deadly creatures, using such weapons as a simple short sword. After a while you will receive the ring and as you progress through the game, you'll soon be gaining more experience points thus enhancing your combat and defence skills. Why is that important? Well, like in any RPG improving your character's skills is the essence of gameplay. One of the original features in Summoner is the ability of your character to perform chain-attacks. This way you can centre on an individual and enhance his/her fighting abilities, while other team members kick-but with chain-attacks.

Next to experience gaining and similar aspects, more standard RPG elements are included in Summoner. To begin with, each individual has a set of characteristics and aptitudes, which will influence your journeys. Joseph's summoning abilities are there to strengthen your crew with another team member, Rosalind is there to perform some more magic, whereas the use of Flece's thieving skills is more than obvious. Since I've mentioned Flece, I'd also like to state that she's my favourite character - for example, you should see how cool she looks like when she slips on her hooded cloak and then gently sneaks towards the enemy, backstabbing him with accuracy and effectiveness. Normally, these skills will improve, and in time she will become a professional. Other characters, of course, evolve the same way.

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ACTIONTRIP SCORE
8.0   Very Good


HIGHS
Exciting all the way, great story, characters all in a nice lush atmosphere;

LOWS
The camera angle can sometimes annoy you, the AI.

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