“The promise of a Craftknight is stronger than the toughest steel.”
Hey, everyone! Since I enjoyed the previous entry of this title, I decided to give the second one a go! To be honest, I’ve played it years ago, but I had forgotten so much about it that replaying it was like playing it for the first time! 😀 . This was one of the earliest GBA games for me after Pokémon, so perhaps it is because of that, the series holds a special place in my gaming mind 🙂 . Now then, for the thoughts!
Similar with the first game, Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2 utilizes the classic “no more dad for you” formula. In the game, the protagonist lost his or her dad due to a beast named Goura rampaging in Cliff Village. Being raised by Blaire, a craftknight, our protagonist grows to be his apprentice, living alongside his children, Orin and Tatiana. The protagonist, however, is an Edge Fencer, a bloodline that enables the person within the ancestry to wield the power of Goura, and the only person capable of sealing it off. After a shocking event, Goura’s seal is removed, and our protagonist needs to gather the sword called Daemon Edge, all in order to seal Goura once again.
The premise is pretty basic, but trust me, it develops! Moreover, there are various side stories along the way that are also interesting, albeit a little bit too short. Still, before talking about the story further, let’s talk a bit about the gameplay. At the start of the game, you would have to choose your guardian beast, and the variety is really great! Choose from a hot-blooded oni, a cool mechanoid, a wind spirit, and a devil with an alternate angel imprisoned inside her. The good thing is, you can now determine which one you want instead of having them assigned to you by answering questions 😀 .
It still retains the real time action-based combat, but more challenging, since if your weapon’s durability gets too low, it will break, so you would have to craft a new one; in the first game, your weapon’s durability automatically gets refilled after a battle, but in this one, you’ll have to either go back to the workshop to repair them manually (free of charge, yay!), or use items to restore its durability. This encourages a better weapon management, and you would have to decide whether to engage in a battle or not since you could lose your weapon because of that extra EXP. Also, in crafting, you have to use ‘shapestones’ unique to each type of the weapon you are going to make, so unless you have two sword shapestones, you cannot carry two swords with you.
Also, the protagonist can actually transform into a more powerful form! I won’t spoil anything more than that here, but the point is, it makes us feel more ‘special’, and it can act as a last resort when your health is low, because transforming not only grants you a higher offensive power, but it also refills your health to the max! Some might say this might make the battle less challenging, but believe me, the battles are harder here. Enemies guard more often and more accurately, and there are times where you battle two bosses at once, and the annoying thing is, most of them strike lightning fast! So don’t worry about the challenge, because you will get plenty of them. Well, either that or I am just not that good in the game…
Nevertheless, useful items such as the repellent amulet to decrease the random encounter rate need to be crafted manually at the shop, and the materials are not found until much latter in the game. This makes it really difficult to avoid monsters, and you might have to escape constantly because it was like your ninetieth encounter in the same map. Moreover, that scenario is bound to happen since for some reason, the game often requires you to travel back and forth. You almost achieved your destination in the map? Well then, how about putting a small event at that point where you have to travel halfway back, and then have a battle before requiring you to walk all the way to the end of the map again? I understand that this can heighten the realism and development, but when it occurs really often, with the random encounters, it can get a bit annoying, especially when the monsters in the area are unable to provide you with much EXP anymore. The ‘escape’ magic helps a bit, but you can only use it twice, and then you would need to sleep to refill it again.
Story-wise, however, it’s better than the first one in my opinion. Aside from the similar, yet more complex main story, the side stories, involving a mermaid’s love, a sibling’s struggle, a ghost trying to get her body back, and many more add quite a bit of variety, making you engaged more often rather than focusing on one specific goal; after a while, trying to save the village can be quite boring, you know? Also, the twists are still there as the endgame approaches, but this time, they come in layers! So it will be a twist after a twist, and the unexpectedness is just superb compared to the previous game.
As for the cast of characters, each has his or her own personality; we have the weird but powerful Toumei, the sweet yet often hot-headed Tatiana, the caring brotherly figure Orin, the tsundere devil-angel (if you choose her as your guardian beast), a childhood friend with a personality way deeper than you would have thought, and many more. The weird thing is, I care more for the characters in the first game rather than the ones here, although objectively speaking, they have way more variety here. I wonder why….
In conclusion, Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2 takes the already great formula of the first game, and enhance it nearly in every aspect, resulting in a deeper game with a better storytelling. There are annoyances here and there, but they are nowhere near game-breaking. RPG lovers, give this a try, and there is a 70% chance that you will love it!
Rating from me: 4/5