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But the fun of Summon Night: Swordcraft Story is feeling that sense of learning alongside the main character. Though we ultimately know he will win the day, he won’t do it without us. Just as the hero must craft his own weapons and then wield them expertly, so must the player both level their character and still expertly maneuver the tournament battles. In the end, that’s what Summon Night is really about; a return to the craftsmanship of gaming.
On the whole, Summon Night isn't the best role-playing experience ever created, but it still manages to be a fun time and one that you'll enjoy long after you're done playing it (literally, as there are two main characters to play as and a total of eight different paths through the game). While the fundamental battle between good versus evil is hardly as pronounced as in other games, you do garner a sense of it that seems to evolve as the game progresses and hopefully resolves in the second installment (which is coming out in October).
After playing this game, I was immediately prepared to go on to its sequel, also released by Atlus. Among short little "gaiden" games out there, Summon Night: Swordcraft Story sets the standard. However, I cannot in my right mind give a fantastically high score to a game that is meant to be a little side-story distraction from a much larger series.
Summon Night is pretty much a dungeon romp, and while the characters are entertaining, the story is a little light. The graphics and presentation are top notch for a GBA game. All together a great package from Atlus, and we'll be looking forward to further installments of this franchise.
Even despite the aged look and simplistic nature of the game, Summon Night: Swordcraft Story is still an awesome addition to any hardcore gamer’s collection. The game allows for a ton of replay value with the amount of weapon forging and magic to learn, and even offers eight initial paths to set out on in the first few minutes of the game. Anyone looking for a classic RPG with a huge focus on entertaining battles should be sure to grab a copy of this one before it leaves shelves, though the concept of random battles and hours of leveling up may be too much for casual gamers. If you’re looking for a great adventure to take on the go with you this summer, and a lack of complex story isn’t an issue, Summon Night: Swordcraft Story is a good choice. Everyone else may want to save their cash for the pending onslaught of DS titles on the way.
Summon Night: Swordcraft Story is not the greatest RPG on the Game Boy Advance by any means. Its story is trite, the characters are generally archetypes, the graphics are dated and the audio is bland. Yet, even with all of those faults, the general charm of the translation, the fast-paced battle system, and the deep weapon creation system both compensate for the faults and help to make the game worthwhile. Summon Night: Swordcraft Story is lighthearted fun, and offers a great deal of enjoyment, making it more than worthy of anyone’s time.
While Summon Night has fairly intricate graphics, for the GBA anyway, the audio could have been better; it's reminiscent of the SNES era but it fails to fully live up to old standard. The storyline is somewhat lacking and a bit shallow but overall, gamers who want to play a simple RPG to pass the time should consider picking up a copy.
Summon Night: Swordcraft Story is an action role-playing game that wisely keeps things simple and has a good time doing so. It isn't as captivating as a good, story-driven role-playing game, and the action isn't especially complex or gratifying, but Summon Night is still an enjoyable game that offers plenty of goofy humor, likable characters, and an easy but fun battle system. And while it offers some unique twists on role-playing conventions, it doesn't get bound up by nonsensical gimmicks. The result is a game that certainly won't knock your socks off but will keep you sufficiently entertained for a good 20 hours or more.
Despite a few annoying problems and a really conventional presentation, Summon Night has a few interesting tricks up its sleeve. Perhaps the best part is that these tricks add up to appeal to a broader audience than a completely traditional RPG - it has some RPG elements and some interesting (if not basic) plot points, and a more action-based approach to the battle system. A nice bonus comes in the form of a bestiary, which in addition to being a monster rolodex, the bestiary allows players to utilize the link mode, which adds the functionality to trade items that have been recovered as well as pit the guardian beasts against each other. It's not exactly a stellar game, but the capable story and unique battle system make it a solid addition to the GBA library.
In the end Summon Night is a very solid Game Boy Advance role-playing game that delivers countless hours of dungeon dwelling, real-time monster bashing, weapon crafting fun. The backstory is light, the characters are sometimes charming (and sometimes goofy) and the world is everything you'd expect to find in a Japanese RPG. Go out and buy it if this sounds like your cup of tea.
When it comes to RPGs, the GBA has more than enough ports and rehashes to fill up its library. Summon Night: Swordcraft Story could have been a refreshingly new experience for those of us that have gotten jaded with Pokemon or the old Final Fantasy games. Instead, we’ve been brought back to the basics of dungeon crawling; the game boasts a labyrinth with over fifty floors of items and random battles, a horribly cliched plot and some under-whelming combat mechanics to boot. Even the presentation pales in comparison to the likes of Golden Sun and the other handheld RPGs we’ve grown to love or hate over the years. Here’s hoping that the next Summon Night title improves upon what this game has established.