Like many strategic RPGs, Summon Night 5 offers a class system of sorts. However, it isn’t like titles where there are a specific number of classes available either immediately or after leveling up other classes. Instead, it feels more natural than other games. Each character has his or her own classes available to them, based on their areas of expertise. This also means the character grows based on actions players take, offering more improvement options.
More generally, each of the most prominent Summon Night 5 heroes and heroines has between three and five classes available to them. Each one focuses on a different sort of attribute or attack. If a character has five classes, like Folth or Arca, then two of the classes will likely be well balanced, and the other ones will each focus on a particular attribute. The basic, advanced class will unlock naturally at either level 13 or 14, but subsequent classes require focusing on specific actions and completing missions.
Continuing focusing on Folth and Arca, they each get to become a High Summoner after reaching level 13. This happens easily and naturally, and is a balanced class that could carry someone through the rest of the game. Most people should have it by chapter 4. However, if someone goes out of their way to primarily finish off foes with specific behaviors, they’ll unlock missions that provide access to additional classes.
My Arca was a physical attacker who only used sword-based attacks. (I let Kagerou handle magic-based attacks.) So, she turned into an armed officer after she killed 50 enemies with attacks like that. After taking on a mission, the class unlocked and I had a character who was quite a fighter. Meanwhile, since I always kept Kagerou on the back lines as a healer and mage, he ended up becoming a priest after killing about 20-30 enemies.
What’s especially interesting about Summon Night 5 is that relying on specific sorts of kills isn’t the only means of improving characters. Getting to level 13-14 is a guarantee for all characters. Getting ones focusing on physical attacks, magical attacks, or defense get a bit more tricky. Especially since the game doesn’t provide many hints as to what you should or shouldn’t do. I ended up finding a physical-based class for Calis by improving his weapon at the Blacksmith. With Kagerou, I received an option to make him a swordsman by continually adding points to his Tec stat. Working on weapons or pumping points into specific stats can add new options. Fortunately, characters like Abert and Yeng-hua each get an additional physical attack in Mission 21 in Chapter 8. Arca and Folth both even get Forbidden Magic User classes at the end of the game from getting three or more stars of Karma, based on the deaths of allies in battles.
The result is a game that feels like the characters within it are really growing and learning. It isn’t as arbitrary as titles where almost everyone could be something like a mage or tank, provided their stats match up or you’ve already opened up the class for the party. With Summon Night 5, each party member has specific classes available. These only unlock once specific actions were undertaken throughout the game. When you reach certain levels, make specific improvements, complete missions, or use certain attacks, it’s almost like the party members are actually learning and growing from the experience. The only downside is, quite a bit of experimentation can be necessary to get all three to five classes for each character.
Summon Night 5 is immediately available on the PlayStation Store. It is playable on the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita.