• While Summon Night hasn’t had much of a presence in the US and Europe, Gaijinworks has the heart of the lion to committing to the now dead PSP platform, bless their heart. Previous western release involved Action RPG and RTS like spin-offs for the GBA and DS, but the West finally has a proper Strategy release with Summon Night 5. And it’s a game that the PSP could have used back in it’s standard life-cycle.

    The game doesn’t need any previous knowledge of the series to enjoy it, but it might help a bit, if you were faithfully importing and playing them from day one. The game lets you pick between either a male or female protagonist just like the others, and you are a Summoner Knight in service of the Kingdom. But you are basically a police officer that settles disputes and crimes committed by people from the Spirit Worlds. Over the course of the game, you’ll get caught up in a plot to save the world, as a good JRPG often does. The female protagonist Arca in particular is adorable as are the various summons she can employ. You get to pick your initial partner, but later on you can defeat other spirits in battle to have them join as a sub familiar that anyone can use in exchange for MP. Speaking of MP, the game has a new twist on skill use. MP starts at 50, but through the use of taking player actions or defeating an enemy from behind, you can raise it. It’s best to save MP until you really need it, but the protagonist and their partner both gain a little depending on which of them acts first.

    In addition to MP, there is a Brave Point system. Brave Points are needed to use non-magic skills, and can raise with accomplishing certain battle conditions like defeating an enemy from behind. There’s also a Brave Medal reward system for achieving battle tasks like defeating 2 enemies at once. These medals can be used to make use of Party Skills, which provide useful support effects like switching party members out. Experience and money earned in battle is independent of who defeats what in battle, as it’s split between the entire party after battle. The only odd thing is that you have to go into the menu and pick a character then select ‘level up’ to level them up at your leisure. But you can also use their experience to level up their skills instead. A good idea as the game discourages grinding levels out by diminishing exp returns for higher level characters. So instead you can use their extra EXP to power your skills instead.

    The game is pretty easy to grasp after awhile, even with the additions of a fishing, cooking, and smithing systems thrown into the mix. You can also swap between weapon types in combat without wasting a turn, as well as deciding to change into a defensive or counter-attack stance. It’s mostly an easy game, with reasonable difficulty options. The graphics look pretty good for a PSP game, and the music is pretty well done as well. The only real downer on the whole package is that there was only a limited physical print run when the game first released, and only to those who pre-ordered through Gaijinworks. The other thing that is unfortunate is that due to the localization budget not being where it needed, making voice acting being Japanese only, and limited to battle clips. It’s a shame as the localization is quite good, and it deserves to be voiced. Otherwise it ‘s a very solid SRPG, and at $30.99 USD, it’s well worth the price.

    Summon Night 5 - Review
    A Solid PSP SRPG that has a small learning curve that worth getting over for a fun experience.
    Our Score8.5
    Positives
    • The gameplay is unusual for an SRPG, but it's fun.
    • The localization is well done.
    Negatives
    • Lack of voice acting makes me sad.
    8.5Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
    10.0

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