I borrowed this from the fine neighbour folks who said that it was one of their favorites. It's a pretty solid and enjoyable RPG.
As far as I can tell - I'm only about 8 hours into it - the story is good. It's a pretty standard prophecy tale with mumbo-jumbo and the Tree of and the Storm of Evil and the whatever whatever. I find with RPGs I often lose interest in the story even if I love the game. This may be for several reasons:
a) The game has large amounts of "crazy talk/gamer martian". Any readers who are familiar with RPGs are familiar with the, "But we need the Seedling of Light in order to grow the Tree of Remembering in order to gain access to the Temple of Shotput the Mighty and Fearsome in order to restore balance and order to the kingdom of Betamax!" Yeah, write out the plot of a standard RPG on a cardboard sign and stand outside the Greyhound station and you may find people who understand.
b) The main storyline/quest in no way shape or form can compare with the secret missions, hidden monsters, absurd side quests, puzzles, red herrings, and assorted time sinks that RPGs have become. C'mon, what would you rather do - restore order or kick the shit out a gargantuan optional beast with a weapon you master-crafted yourself? That's what I thought.
c) RPG stereotypes. From the scrappy little sister brawler/healer to the sexpot mystic to the gruff yet loveable mechanic/airship captain we've seen it all...mostly. Games like Disgaea, Summoner 2, and Final Fantasy Tactics broke out of those stereotypes and are great games.
Summoner 2 - so far - has a solid range of characters, not particularly ground breaking but a refreshing change of pace. The main character, Maia, is a headstrong queen with a take charge kick ass attitude. What really sets Summoner 2 apart is the voice acting. Most characters have a British or vaguely British accent which really helps. I'm from the school of British accents lending credibility and class to games and movies. Seriously - imagine Theoden, Horse King of Rohan with a stupid American accent. Dr. Who - the Time Lord from Minnesota. Yeah right.
All in all this looks like it's going to be a satisfying long range RPG with loads of secret and side quests - that I love. More to come as I progress.
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- A great review of Next.
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