An Epic Cut Above the Rest
An idle role-playing game developed by FT Games, the central gameplay mechanic of Epic Summoners 2 involves building a party of diverse characters and setting them loose against an equally decked out opposing team. Pretty straightforward, right?
With a particularly endearing low-poly graphic style, the game manages to succeed where other gacha RPGs fail. It possesses the same shortcomings as those games—a superfluous number of menus, an overabundance of mini games, a confusing selection of currencies, and an incessant influx of new characters to level and gear up—but somehow these features don’t seem tedious or frustrating. Gameplay mechanics that might be deal breakers in another title are for some inexplicable reason not so insupportable in Epic Summoners 2.
It’s a Kind of Magic
The game offers a host of things to do and can easily eat up hours of your time…in a pleasant way. Upon first diving in, I was a bit disappointed to realize that you don’t control your party. You arm your fighters and level them up, but you don’t have input on how they behave in combat. As a traditional RPG player, I found this frustrating, particularly when my party would ignore an enemy on the verge of death and bash mindlessly away at a foe at full health.
However, I soon saw the logic behind this gameplay choice. Battles are in real time and fast paced; you can even speed them up or skip them entirely. It would be impossible to individually control six or seven party members at that rate. So I began to enjoy watching things play out, similarly to how I bowl. You set everything up, let the ball roll, and hope for the best.
Another thing I came to appreciate is the vast selection of characters. As with many similar games, you will have an abundance of units to choose from. You will constantly acquire new ones after having just plunked all of your resources into leveling somebody else. It’s a justified resource sink and a way to keep the game economy balanced. It’s also frustrating.
But, again, what would be a turnoff in another game did not mar the experience in this one. I collected my characters, leveled up the ones that appealed to me, and ignored the rest. I even grew fond of those I used most often and grinded away happily for hours to make them as powerful as I could.
There’s Too Much to Do; I’ll Just Sit Here
As with many games of this ilk, Epic Summoners 2 offers a cornucopia of things for players to do. There are cooperative guild battles where all members slash their way through increasingly difficult fights in the hope of obtaining the alluring treasure chest at the end. Cross-guild PvP matches, single-player PvP combat, bosses that are defeated collaboratively with players on your friends list, and a few other options round out the multiplayer battle modes.
Then you have an almost superfluous number of single-player game options, each found (or lost) within its own menu. The Adventure Gate provides the standard battle after battle that allows you to level up your avatar and earn chests of loot. Dragon Tower is a gauntlet of increasingly difficult battles against hostile parties that contain one particularly strong enemy. The Magic Cube is yet another gauntlet, this time against a single powerful foe guarding a tantalizing amount of loot. Once you beat that boss, you invariably move on to face a tougher one. And in the Expedition, you again make your way through battles of progressive difficulty, this time climbing a tower rather than moving horizontally.
Each of these mini games are essentially the same fight couched in a different wrapper. But the wrapper makes them dissimilar enough that they’re each entertaining in their own way. Some of the variations are implemented in such a way that they feel unique, even if they’re not. It’s only when you realize that you really are doing the same thing over and over, just with slight changes, that the disillusion begins to kick in. For me, this took about four days.
Behind the Veil
When I first began playing Epic Summoners 2, it completely enthralled me. I lost hours at a time contentedly forging weapons, upgrading units, climbing the Expedition tower, completing daily quests… The game is unquestionably entertaining and sucks you in immediately. Only once the aforementioned disillusion hit me did the game imperceptibly become increasingly monotonous.
Once the veil lifted, I couldn’t successfully pull it back down over my eyes. Believe me, I tried. I wanted that initial thrill back. Some players might get a few weeks or even a month of enjoyment from the game. But I noticed that about half of the people who invited me to be friends when I first started playing stopped logging on one by one as the days went by.
What is this magical formula that makes Epic Summoners 2 stand out from the crowd of doppelgangers on the market? Maybe it’s the very agreeable chibi art style. Maybe it’s simply that each fundamentally similar minigame is just different enough to obscure the repetitiveness. Whatever it is, it makes Epic Summoners 2 a rare exception, something that is a joy to play, at least temporarily, and a more than worthy title to while away a few hours or weeks.
Is It Hardcore?
Yes, for a time.
Once you see behind the curtain of Epic Summoners 2 and realize that it’s just more of the same, the game begins to lose its sparkle. However, the title has a magic formula that makes it incredibly fun and addicting, if only for a while.