[Post Mortem] Summon Night 5

I have a friend who describes disappointing or mediocre films as ‘cute’. Probably the only time I’ve heard the word used in a derogatory sense.  Still, it caught on with me. Whenever I play something that I enjoyed, but fell short of being really memorable or gripping, I define it as ‘cute’.

Summon Night 5 is a quintessential cute RPG.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the game. Working Designs’ Victor Ireland handled the localization, so of course the writing is on point. All the characters have great, clearly defined personalities, and witty, enjoyable dialogue.

The problem is they’re in kind of a boring, empty world.

Sure, it’s a well realized world, but there’s not much happening there. A gang is running around kidnapping spirits, and eventually evil nasty critters show up. They die, you go back to your happy life.

What I WILL say in the game’s favor is that it is not easy. Don’t think you can just rush in and steamroll enemies. They have that trademark ‘move too far and everyone blitzes you’ AI. It’s hardly innovative, but it means you won’t be plowing through the game.
The late game in particular, with nigh endless respawning enemies and bosses with massive HP, was incredibly frustrating. If it wasn’t for careful strategy, lots of grinding, and a dash of sheer dumb luck(the weakest character in my team punching the final boss in the face for the killing blow), I’d probably still be playing it.

Let me be clear: Summon Night 5’s a fun world to play around in. It’s just after you visit, you can’t really think of a reason to go back, apart from seeing the other protagonist’s story. The male and female leads are each well fleshed out and have clearly defined personalities as well(always a plus), but again, there isn’t much for them to do besides be the generic anime hero.

There’s nothing wrong with the standard shounen anime, mind you, but wouldn’t you rather be watching something like Fate/Zero instead?

Oh, and by the way:

Best. Fishing game. Ever.

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2 responses to “[Post Mortem] Summon Night 5

  1. Hm, interesting. I’m not quite clear on how you think the game world is boring though. By “empty”, do you mean that the plot is too formulaic to a standard fantasy? Are there any examples that can be compared with the previous games, which presumably were different?

    • It was pretty much how formulaic it was. I’ve never played the previous games, just putting it up against examples of gripping SRPG drama like Growlanser and Devil Survivor. Maybe I just have unrealistic standards.

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