Summon Night: Twin Age


Cole Jones

Next, the bright light exploded into moneybags!
Avast, Holy Light!
Gearing up for my trip down to meet up with the RPGamer crew for Atlus and NIS, I couldn't help but feel excited about all the great titles we were getting ready to see. Operation Darkness, Spectral Force 3 and Etrian Odyssey II, the list of awesome goes on. Even though I expected to enjoy everything I played, I didn't think my time with Summon Night DS would be anything special. After spending a week on a preview that my hard drive took down with it in a blaze of glory (don't fret! Neko's preview is spectacular), I thought I knew all I needed to know about Atlus' latest action RPG.

Boy was I wrong.

Watching Summon Night DS in motion was far better than anything I expected from the in-game screenshots you can see here. The action looked great and progressed smoothly from story to battle, an transitioning between the game's two main characters was as easy as tapping once (or twice) on the character you wish to control. When in battle, the unselected character went on AI autopilot and did a pretty god job attacking and keeping up with the game's slightly hectic action.

Wind Spirits? I hardly knew her!
Oh no! Not Ingell!

Fighting and movement was simple enough with Summon Night DS's stylus-driven control. Aldo, the sword-wielding companion of enchantress Reiha, easily sliced through foes with horizontal slashes with the stylus. Reiha's magic needed more specific designs (like circles and checks) to activate her arcane powers, but we had little problem getting her to scorch her opposition. As we progressed, more powerful abilities and spells were able to be unlocked via the games multi-branching skill chart. When used, some of these skills were accompanied by an (skippable) anime cut-scene, which looked pretty good for being on the DS. Even though we were only able to play with the two main characters, Summon Night DS allowed for us to take a party of up to five characters into battle.

Fans of the Summon Night series will be happy to know that item crafting still plays a central role in the game. New weapons, armor, potions, and more can be crafted from materials found on the battlefield and in shops, making things a little easier for lazy players who happen to be rolling in money. We saw a large amount of item constituents ranging from frog mucus to dinosaur fossils, allowing for myriad items and even AI controlled beasts to be conjured up from the Summon world.

Next, the bright light exploded into moneybags!

While the game isn't entirely voice acted, many phrases and shouts can be heard throughout the game and sound surprisingly clear considering the DS's sound capabilities. Whether the vocal lines will stay precocious and charming throughout the entire adventure remains to be seen, but we were very pleased with what we both heard and saw. The written character dialogue was fun and lighthearted, with almost every line of dialogue sporting a new facial expression for the character speaking. It's a nice little touch that makes the usual chore of chatting with every townsperson a little more interesting.

Summon Night: Twin Age will be hitting stores here in a few weeks, so keep an eye out for our upcoming impressions and reviews of Atlus' newest DS title. We thought our time spent with it was surprisingly fun and refreshing, so here's to hoping that the 15-40+ hour adventure (which fluxuates depending on your desire to grind and conjure) keeps its momentum going.

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· Nintendo DS

· 06.03.2008

· Atlus

· Banpresto

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