Summoner First Impressions

Summoner is a 3D role-playing game from the makers of the acclaimed space combat simulation FreeSpace 2. The game will feature impressive 3D graphics and a unique magic system.

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In Summoner, you play as Joseph, a young magic user who once devastated his own village through the accidental misuse of his powers. He's been reluctant to use his summoning skills ever since. But as an invading army spreads ever closer to his home, Joseph's mysterious benefactor implores him to master his powers rather than to merely live in fear of them. Thus begins Joseph's journey in search of the ancient rings that will unlock the true power of his summoning skills. Along the way, Joseph's spellcasting ability will begin to flourish.

The story and setting of Summoner bears likeness to other fantasy role-playing games, especially Japanese role-playing games such as Final Fantasy VII and VIII, both of which also made summoned monsters central to the gameplay. But the game has an unusual enough focus and an impressive enough 3D engine that it seems much more likely to be a significant addition to a highly competitive genre, rather than just a quickly forgotten rehash of a popular trend.

As the summoner Joseph, you'll call upon the magics of your ancestors in order to unleash various monsters upon your foes - sometimes with unpredictable results. You'll have to use the ancient rings in order to summon creatures, and using the rings in particular combinations will have different consequences. Summoner's combat will be in real-time, but you can pause and redefine orders at any point.

Although Summoner takes place in a fantasy world, the game's setting in the continents of Medeva and Orenia are reminiscent of medieval Europe and Asia, respectively. As he makes his way across the land, Joseph will encounter its many different inhabitants, as well as three companions who'll join his quest willingly or otherwise grudgingly.

The game's engine will evoke impressive special effects and will also be used for the game's cinematic sequences. Summoner will also feature an easy-to-use mouse-driven interface. The game is currently scheduled to ship for the PC early next year, though it'll be available first on the PlayStation2 console.

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