"Strong, basic mechanics are at the core of Summon Night 6 and the additional flashy attacks and clever systems... help it stand out from the bunch."
Gaijinworks — a company helmed by former Working Designs top dog, Victor Ireland, and the people responsible for releasing Summon Night 5 on the PSP in 2015, are back again with the latest game in the series, Summon Night 6: Lost Borders for PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4. Tucked away in a small hotel room separated from the E3 showfloor, I was able to play through an entire battle (I totally won) and check out an animated cutscene. This first HD Summon Night is a solid strategy RPG with a wonderfully tasteful anime aesthetic.
The story wasn't the focus of the demo but a few points were mentioned. In this world, named Fillujah, heroes and villains are literally falling out of the sky and they join up with three natives, Raj, Amu and Ist. The strange visitors are characters from previous Summon Night games but you don't need to play the other games to understand what is going on in Lost Borders. Everyone then embarks on some sort of journey to find out why people are falling from the sky and probably to stop some sort of ultimate evil; like I said, the story wasn't the focus of the demo. However, in typical Victor Ireland fashion, the bits of dialogue that I did read seemed very well localized.
The real star of the demo was the combat. Summon Night 6 is, at heart, a traditional strategy RPG more akin to Fire Emblem than to Valkyria Chronicles. You control your troupe one at a time by moving them freely across a grid and the turn order for your party and the enemies is displayed on the top of the screen. Taking advantage of the chain-attack system is essential to victory. If you have multiple characters within striking distance, attacking with any one of them will force the others to attack as well. If you try to solo it, you are in danger of deadly counter-attacks from enemies if you aren't paying attention.
I was dropped into the fifth battle of the main story and my objective was to defeat a particularly powerful demon. Part way through the fight, another friendly character arrived and to help her, I had to use a spell to place a block which let this new character drop down from a ledge and join up with everyone else. Altering the terrain seemed to be a unique feature of this game. The demo came to a close when I landed a successful "Summon Burst" attack on the evil demon. Summon Bursts are super effective moves that pair up two of your party members to perform devastating moves and different combinations will net you different moves. Unbeknownst to me, I received a special bonus for killing the enemy with a particular party member and each battle will have multiple small bonus win conditions that will unlock better rewards when they are fulfilled.
Strong, basic mechanics are at the core of Summon Night 6 and the additional flashy attacks and clever systems, like the chain and counter-attacks, help it stand out from the bunch. You don't need to have played any of the previous games to understand what is going on in this chapter of the series. Being the first HD entry, Summon Night 6 looks clean and crisp. This game would fit nicely into any SRPG fan's library.