little in the way of a precursor to the start of the game. You are swept up in
the action from the moment you launch the title. In many ways this is the
prototypical Japanese RPG, in both look and feel.
As the story
goes, there was a time when monsters and the people of the land lived in
harmony. But that time is long gone. The monsters were sent away and many were
captured in jewels. Break open a jewel and a monster is released, but they are
not the creatures of the bygone era; rather they are aggressive and will attack.
Now there is
a special set of people within the game known as Jewel Summoners. They can cull
a monster from jewels and it will fight for them. Enter Vice, a young man whose
mother was killed by an Abomination (a bad monster). He is on the path for
revenge, traveling the countryside to destroy the monsters/Abominations in the
hopes he will find the one responsible for his mother’s death.
Vice is destined to become a jewel summoner (come on, he’s the hero, the game is
about jewel summoners – doesn’t take a genius to figure out where this was
going), and he can call forth monsters to fight for him when an Abomination is
encountered. Monsters, the good kind, can be swapped around if they have been
fighting for too long and are growing weak, and the game – once an encounter is
made – goes to split screen, and follows the traditional turn-based format of
choosing an attack and then unleashing it, waiting to see what you did
damage-wise and then waiting again as the enemy gets its turn.
monsters for your arsenal but fighting one until it is almost defeated and then
capturing it in a prism-like jewel (the game bases most of this on elements and
so you need to capture a monster with the same type of elemental prism
corresponding to said monster – sounds like that was just made more convoluted
than it needed to be, sorry).
and unlock new skills – all pretty standard stuff. So too is the graphical style
of the game. Don’t look for anything too groundbreaking, but what is here is
pleasing enough. The game consists of static, two-dimensional map screens that
players will have to use to navigate. When the fights come up, the monsters
square off on a mundane backdrop, with most of the PSP’s power obligated to
rendering the detailed monster models.
in preview stage, this Atlus title may tread the familiar, but still manages to
be a solid experience. The pacing can slow down a lot when you first take Vice
into a town and try to navigate to find where you need to be or who you need to
talk to, but this is countered by fights that are briskly paced.
somewhat typical of the RPG genre, Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner may still
prove worthy of a look for those genre fans looking for their next fix.