Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2 is a lighthearted role-playing game that satisfies the need to explore dungeons, collect items, fight evil monsters, and save the world. But the game's simplicity works against it at times, making it feel somewhat limited compared to other role-playing games, which are typically much more far-reaching and complex. The generic story and tiny world of Swordcraft Story 2 are disappointing, but once you get past that, you'll find yourself having a lot of fun with the endearing characters, rewarding weapon-crafting system, and frequent boss battles.
With more than 200 different weapons at your disposal, these little yellow blobs don't stand a chance.
Even though Swordcraft Story 2 takes place in the same world as the first game in the series, the two games are completely unrelated, so you don't have to have played the first game in order to know what's going on in this one. As the story begins, Swordcraft Story 2 jumps right in with the clichÃ©s. You play as an orphan that's descendant from a long line of noble warriors who have always protected the Seal of Goura in the small village of Cliff. The Seal is a magical barrier that keeps the evil beast known as Goura safely confined where it can't hurt the peaceful residents of the town. One day the seal is broken by some mischievous meddlers, threatening the very existence of the town of Cliff and the world beyond. It's up to you to search for the legendary Daemon Edge, the only sword capable of defeating Goura. To do that, you have to become a craftknight, which is sort of a fancy blacksmith who can create powerful weapons with the help of a special helper known as a guardian beast. The story is about as derivative and generic as it comes, but it takes a backseat to the basic dungeon-crawling that makes up the bulk of the gameplay in Swordcraft Story 2.
When you begin the game, you're given a choice of playing a male or female lead character. The differences between the two are entirely cosmetic, though, and the story doesn't change at all whether you're male or female. The story does get a bit more varied depending on which of the four guardian beasts you choose as your partner. The main character and the guardian beast interact frequently and at length, and since each of the four beasts has a distinct personality, the beast you choose has a substantial effect on the story. The dialogue between you and your guardian beast can be quite funny at times, so there's some incentive to playing the game multiple times to get to know each of the different beasts.
In addition to comic relief, the guardian beasts also provide support in battle. You can equip your beast with magic spells as well as items that can be used to heal your hero or damage enemies. The magic system isn't implemented very well in the game, though, because you can only cast each spell a limited number of times and your beast only gets a handful of actions per battle. The magic is also devalued by the fact that the battles are real time, which means that it's much more effective to just mash the attack button and slash away at enemies than it is to scroll through a list of spells in the midst of battle. In the longer boss battles, you'll often need to use some healing items or spells, but beyond that you'll rarely need to summon your guardian beast during battle.
Swordcraft Story 2 uses a random encounter system like many role-playing games, but instead of initiative-based battles, the battles are in real time. The fights take place from a side perspective, and you can block, jump, attack, and move around freely. Most of the enemies simply require you to walk up and slash them a few times, but there are particularly tough enemies that might require you to mix things up with the occasional block. You can take three different weapons into battle, and each weapon has a durability rating. Your weapon takes damage with each strike or block, and it will eventually break. If all your weapons break, you're left with your smithing hammer, which isn't enough to keep you alive for long. It's an interesting consideration to keep in mind during battle, but for the most part you can just ignore it. Most of your weapons can take a lot of damage, and you can also get items to repair them before they break. Even then, you'll very rarely ever find yourself lacking a weapon, because most of the dungeons are very short and you can always warp back to town for repairs.