Published by Atlus in 2006, Summon Night: Swordcraft Story is the first Summon Night game to see a US release. While the main series consists mostly of SRPGs, Swordcraft Story is similar to the Tales games with its overhead view that transitions to a 2d battlefield for vaguely fighter-like combat. As an apprentice craftknight, players explore a vast labyrinth directly beneath the character's home city, built to contain a powerful otherworldly spirit.
Best time: 2:23 by Daniel Enright on 2008-06-04 in 18 segments.
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There's also an experience bonus for defeating enemies without flinching, but this is hardly as significant as the "underleveled" bonus can be. Thus, if I am careful I never need to hunt random encounters to level. However, leveling to learn astral guard helps speed, so I can't completely avoid it.
"Level-dodging" is hampered a bit in the postgame by the gem bar, which limits you to five spells or item uses in any given battle. Player level also affects how quickly you can retreat from enemies, so it's occasionally worthwhile to murder lone enemies (eg Brute Monk, Iron Giant, Red Dragon) and maybe get a level.
All dialogue can be skipped at high speed by holding R+B. More games need to do this. The dialogue has to display completely before it can move on to the next bit, so if anyone really wanted to read it they could.. presumably by slowing or pausing the movie.
Some shorthand, and some terms given by the game itself.
This game has elemental resistance, but not weakness, so I recruit Zantek (Bit). He begins with enchant spark, which no elemental bosses resist. Kutty would work as well but he's boring.
This part is mostly story. It's funny how the two recurring villains appear right away at the opening ceremony.
Drill is pretty much the best weapon type, so I chose the novice drill tech. I also talk to an NPC to get three mystic ores.
The novice knife is very fragile, so I need to kill three slimes to level so it won't break on the first spell sword. After that I have enough tec to kill a second spell sword without any issue. All stat points I get are going into STR (strength), because boosting DEF is stupid and I won't need AGI for anything. (High AGI is fun to play with, though.)
Between the iron ore and the bottomless cup, I'll have just enough for a novice drill now and a nano rotor later. Resting gets back my weapon enchant for the fight next segment.
Also, I would like to mention now that NPCs are the bane of existence. Unlike walls or containers, bumping into them stops you cold.
After the pointless errand in Vance I get the nano rotor tech. Having a drill that does actual damage helps later when I'm leveling, and for the two bosses coming up.
There are five martial ores on the currently lowest accessible floor, which I'll need to make stuff later.
The exp target for leveling is for Bit to be at level 8 with about 1250 exp to go so he will level up and gain astral guard after Varil.
In retrospect, I shouldn't have assigned healing spell, since I never used it. I'm only using three spells anyway..
After Varil is the fight with Kenon, where I first use astral guard. Astral guard is clearly the best spell in the game. Weapon enchant is a pretty close second, though.
Once Kenon is done I make a micro turbine.
Resting after the Yasha Spider is to regain astral guard for the fight with Razzy in the next part.
Story requires me to examine the locked door before I can start the curry sequence for the key, and along the way I happened to get another mystic ore - now I'm two ahead of the plan.
During the story stuff I have to make a ladle, and along the way to getting the spices I buy an iron ring for extra attack power against the next boss - critical because this next boss is Ariel, and I'm breaking her weapon.
Also the last segment for collecting mystic ores. I planned for four here, but since I'm two ahead I only need two more, which I got easily.
The other thing to collect here is lightning elements. An encounter with spirits dropped a conductor rod, so I only had to collect the core parts from the side room on b18f. This will be just enough for me to make a gladius now, and a zantetsu and Ariel's Drill later. Making the gladius is one of several pointlessly unavoidable plot triggers, by the way.
Ariel's drill is pretty much the best weapon in the main game - it's powerful to begin with, but on top of that the TEC caps at 200, high even for a boss weapon.
Had to make a zantetsu to get Bron to show up to move the story along.
The Marine Dungeon is the only one that can be entirely skipped. The box you see off to the left before the fight with King Crabber has black boots in it, which make retreating faster, but to get them I'd have to do the dungeon normally and that means an extra boss, more dialogue, running from a bunch of encounters, etc.
King Crabber can't be attacked from behind, but it takes backstab damage if struck in its right eye. It becomes invulnerable when using the waterspout, so I avoid provoking this attack by staying outside the middle. Defeating it gets me the spiral ring, which is a nice improvement over the iron ring.
Kagro Volcano is pretty short for a dungeon, but it's full of those damned dragon puppies. They aren't as obnoxious as mud boxers, though.
Kirin's attacks all do huge damage, but are easily avoided, or guarded, in the case of the stone rain thing. Striking the neck deals backstab damage, so I attack there. Strangely, I have to be facing his head to just guard the stone rain.
Kirin drops the magatama necklet, but it has the same attack as the spiral ring so it doesn't really help me any.
After that is more story stuff and a hike up the Cape Lighthouse to meet...
After defeating him I take a brief side trip to get the ancient ring and its +40 attack (compare to spiral ring's +17). Until the postgame, this is the single best attack bonus available on an accessory.
Last part of the segment is again a long hike, to the top of Fort Mirana.
The fragment of Parista is fairly powerful, but this means nothing before the combo of Ariel's Drill, weapon enchant, and astral guard.
Next up is more story stuff, including an amusingly awkward scene with Razzy. Apparently, even she is confused about her own gender.
The "Shintetsu's hammer" thing is unavoidable, even though I am already fully prepared to ruin Sanary's day. Weapon guard comes in later.
Afterwards, there's a ton more story stuff to do before things get interesting again. Since I'll be running away from battles for about ten minutes straight, so I equip the ladle as well as Ariel's drill. The drill has negative AGI, but the ladle's AGI is 0, so I can hit the side of the screen to escape sooner.
In testing, I discovered that amulets do not actually reduce the encounter rate - they only repel monsters that are lower level than you (!), so being fairly low level myself I would just run into all of the bigger enemies and waste more time running away.
Iron giants are like giant pinatas. Check out the 2250 base exp and the 17k bonus. At my current exp, Jill gains a level from the first and third giants I would encounter, so fighting two would waste time. In this case I only found one, so it's okay.
Some dialogue and a pseudo-sacrifice later, I've got a +5 greatsword of plot power and now I can do damage. Parista (in both forms) takes backstab damage if I stand really close, so that's the plan.
Then he turns into a giant face, which gives him a bunch of attacks that are actually dangerous. The hands interfere with attacking so I jump over, and the Sanary-beam can be just guarded, so I guard it to avoid taking too much damage.
Final Form Parista drops before he can fire his screen-covering laser. Roll credits, followed by a teaser for the bonus content before I can do a postgame save. What a thing to stick in the ending.
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