I hated the first Summoner. The main character was a wuss, the graphics were bad and the combat was lousy. Still, i had hope for the sequel and prayed that Volition listened to our criticisms while making Summoner 2. They did. Instead of playing as an emaciated dweeb, you're now a rather snobby young queen with a bizarre band of allies. These comrades and their diverse abilities come in handy since the game focuses primarily on combat. Ironically, Summoner 2's strengths (faster action, computer-controlled allies) expose the games many weaknesses (poor camera during combat, enemies that swarm you, sluggish controls). Another problem is that spell-casting leaves you vulnerable the whole time. Nothing is more frustrating than pausing to cast a heal spell and having your ass kicked while your character completes her animation. Usually you walk away even more banged-up than before. Despite these flaws, being able to switch between party members on the fly gives the game an added depth most action-RPGs (Forever Kingdom being the exception) lack. And while the storyline is extremely linear, the games stylish interface (blinking eyes appear next to important items, animated mouths appear by characters you can talk to), visually imaginative world and deep selection of weapons and accessories are enough to satisfy even the most fussy rpg fan.
Admittedly, I was wary. Im still recovering from the deep emotional scars caused by the first Summoner, the RPG equivalent of a bucketful of spew. This time, however, my fears were unfounded this sequel doesnt suck. The story is mildly intriguing, the combats actually fun and the graphics are only tacky, not mind'blowingty bad (see: Summoner). Some might get turned off by the Lil Miss Priss protagonist and her periodically enforced duties as a queen (like doling out money to build statues or deciding the fate of traitors), but at least the developers tried something new. If you were burned by the first game, youll be pleasantly surprised here.
The first Summoner didnt go over too well with a lot of people, so Volitions decision to change things around for the follow-up is a good one. The biggest improvement the more active, twitchy combat works,quite well, making Summoner 2 more immediately engaging than its predecessor. Battles are genuinely fun, although occasionally undermined by spotty teammate A.I. And while $2's visual style is a bit questionable (some character designs are downright nasty), you really cant fault the quality of the script. The great voice acting makes the sometimes-flaky story that much easier to swallow. Overall, a solid, if somewhat unconventional RPG.