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Games

Summoner

The box cover says that it came from a company that developed the award-winning Descent series. So what? That only means that the guys who made this game already have enough experience in 3D game design. They better make this one right, and good thing is, I liked it very much.

First let's hit what's apparent: the Graphics. Well, it's a big leap compared to Diablo 2 when pitted among the roleplaying, hack-and-slash game genre if you ask me. The reason is everything in this game is in full 3D. I already got bored of the usual isometric views that most role-playing games offer. Here, you can control the camera, spin it and zoom it, then take snapshots if you want. That is only if you want. Although in 3D, the characters still look a bit blocky. It's also very funny how they used the backdrops and the fog. On the horizon, you see a beautifully pre-rendered backdrop. Move a bit closer, large buildings emanates from the fog, like magic! In logic, that's impossible but aesthetically, it's fine.

The 3D environments are simply stunning though most of the textures are so monotonous that you'll easily get lost on the towns. Run here and there then stop and think: where the hell is that potion vendor! You see one house, you've seen them all. You'll also get tired of seeing the same faces here and there, not like the Final Fantasy series wherein almost every NPC has his own individual face.

Then comes the gameplay. It's hack-and-slashing, beating, kicking, and dicing everyone that gets in your party's way. The battle system is so fun and addictive that I spend most of my time leveling-up my characters on the random battles on the world map. The combat chaining system is so cool and easy to learn but it as your chain gets longer, you get lesser chance on chaining another attack. Chaining means getting another attack get through after the other. This way, you get to beat the bad-ass into cheese faster than he blinks.

The role-playing adventure is so linear, but the story rocks! You are fixed in a story of a world which is divided between medieval and oriental races, with a lot of prophecies coming true. The main character, Joseph, is pretty much the savior of this little world. The twists of the story are extremely unpredictable, the reason why I never tire of playing this game. One of the "simple" twists of this game is that everyone among your 4-man party (which you'll be stuck without a choice) starts out disliking one another. It's a miracle that this party without chemistry could beat up an entire army.

The sidequests are boring and tiresome on the other hand. They're simply errands from people who can't use their perfectly healthy legs to walk and leave their spot. Come to think of it, most of the NPC's here are so lazy and helpless that you'll wonder how they get to live to their age. Still, they are worth doing for the rewards and experience points you get.

The game is fun, addictive and I'll be playing it again and again. Even though it is not as stunning, complex and technologically advanced as the award winning games, this one is worth a try.

by: MASAKARI
June 2001

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