THQ stopped by our offices to show off an alpha build of Summoner, Volition's upcoming role-playing game. The story follows the journey of a young man named Joseph, who as a child used his special abilities to summon a demon to protect his village. But Joseph was unable to control the demon, and it destroyed his town and killed nearly everyone within its walls. Fearing persecution for his actions, Joseph and his mentor flee to another town. Though the PlayStation 2 version hit store shelves a little less than three months ago, Volition listened to the complaints that arose about that version and has attempted to remedy them in the PC release. For example, a few visual upgrades have been made, such as less fogging and draw-in on the horizons, and a few minor details have been added in different areas of the game. Perhaps the biggest improvement is the addition of a multiplayer mode where four players can play cooperatively through 10 to 15 levels and every player can select the same character--though only one monster can be summoned at a time.
The control scheme for the PC version of Summoner is much more accommodating than its console counterpart. Basic movement, character selection, and attacks are all controlled through simple mouse clicks, and other options--such as the inventory or spell select screen--are accessed through the keyboard. Summoner adds a few new twists to the basic mouse-clicking combat system, such as the chain-combination feature that lets you chain together a series of attacks whenever a small chain icon appears over a character's head. Summoner's AI looks impressive, as computer-controlled party members perform different actions during battle depending on the circumstances. One character may stand back and continually cast healing spells if the enemy appears to have too much strength. Conversely, if an enemy is about to meet its death, all party members rush up and begin attacking.
For more information on Summoner, take a look at our detailed preview. Summoner's release date is currently set for mid-March.