Intro: Are you looking for an awesome roleplaying game to accompany your new Playstation 2 this fall? If so, Summoner (developed by Volition, and published by THQ) appears to have all the makings of a great third-person fantasy RPG that will be one of the first to use PS2's new DVD technology and high-resolution graphics.
Storyline: The main character, Joseph, has the ability to summon demons, golems, supernatural servants, and elemental creatures. He must learn to harness his powers to obtain the five sacred rings in order to defeat the evil creatures that are trying to destroy Medeva (Joseph's homeland). By gathering the rings, and using them separately or together, Joseph can summon different creatures (Imps, Minotaurs, Golems, etc.). However, you need to be careful since some creatures that appear are unexpected, and some can actually be dangerous. Not only do you control Joseph and his minions, but you also have three other PCs under your command: Jekhar (a fighter), Flece (a thief), and Rosalind (a magic user/caster).
Equipping: All four characters can be equipped with armor, weapons, and unique items such as rings and necklaces/amulets.
Combat: Fighting is in real-time, but you can pause whenever you want to issue orders to your characters (casting/summoning, fighting, or using a skill). If you don't issue orders, then your characters act on predetermined AIs.
Multiplayer: Up to four players are allowed. The multiplayer feature is described by the creators as a party-based hack-and-slash type mode of play. Players can travel from level to level and perform short quests, but there is no encompassing story line.
Gameplay Hours: If you like to go straight through a game, then you can look forward to 30-35 hours of gameplay. However, if you like doing the side quests and other extras, then you can expect 40-45 hours.
Release and Pricing: The game is planning to make its debut at the same time that the PS2 is scheduled to be released in the U.S. (October). Price has not been specified. Keep checking this site for updates on the release date and pricing.
My Initial Impression: Looking at the screenshots, and obtaining the description, this looks to be a very respectable game. The graphics alone would convince me to purchase the game. The characters look extremely realistic, and the creators of Summoner are promising more realistic cutscenes that are incorporated into the game more effectively, along with Dolby Surround Sound. Save some of that hard-earned money to buy this one, because it looks to be well worth it. Also, keep your browser locked on this site for updates and a review of the game as soon as we get our hands on it.
7/19/2000 Kevin Darrah