Summon Night 6: Lost Borders is a rather complicated game. It essentially one big mash-up. All of these existing characters from different timelines and worlds are thrown into the same one. Few original characters exist, with Raj and Patch being the two introduced. I suppose you could call it a greatest hits game for the serious fans, which might leave others wondering if they will be left out. While some knowledge of the series definitely helps, it isn’t necessary.
Going in to Summon Night 6: Lost Borders, the game acknowledges that everyone might not be on the same page. This is where Raj comes in. He is a completely blank slate. He has been alone, living in the world of Fillujah with Patch, a creature that seems to act a lot like a Guardian Beast. There is no history of the world to worry about. We don’t have any NPCs cluttering the background. There are only these two, and only one of them speaks in a language we understand.
This provides a perfect opportunity for Raj to ask all the questions any Summon Night newcomer would ask. When Summon Night 2’s Magna and his companion, Hasaha arrive, it provides an opportunity to educate Raj about the different summoner factions in that installment and the Lyndbaum he knows. When Summon Night 3’s Kyle arrives, he doesn’t get as many details beyond enlightening people about the life of a pirate. But when Aty appears, we get a hint as to her power via Amer’s magic-sensing abilities, her Unsheather Awakening that taps into Shartos’ power, and subsequent dialogue.
It helps that Summon Night 6: Lost Borders doesn’t demand its audience understand its lore and timelines. When it comes to discussing its place in the timeline, it pretty much shrugs any sort of commitment off. Time and space don’t matter here! Everybody’s here! Just go with it! For those who do want to know more, there is an optional Summon Chronicle in the Gallery that gradually unlocks additional information about the different eras as you play. Each section has multiple entries going over different times. This does mean it lacks a bit of its punch, since many chapters are essentially, “Hey! I sense someone new! Let’s go meet them, fight a battle, and add them to our crew!” If you have no idea who any of these people are, it can make it a little tedious.
This also means things get a little over-simplified sometimes, for the sake of newcomers. Something that isn’t helped much when some characters, like Amer, Claret, Kyle, and Sol, have rather generic character designs. Because Summon Night 6: Lost Borders really can’t go into the distracting and extensive details, characters are distilled down to their most prominent traits sometimes. Amer comes across as “a good person.” Aty is a teacher. Magna is a Blue Faction hero. Kyle is a pirate. Hasaha is “cute.” Resi is the partner to the female protagonist from Summon Night 2 (Toris) that couldn’t be here, because Magna is here instead. As someone who is familiar with the series, though not all entries, it can be frustrating to see people reduced to their most basic properties for the sake of clarity and expediency.
Summon Night 6: Lost Borders is absolutely a game that gets better the more you know about the series. Because then, you have some idea who these people are and why it is interesting to see someone like Resi be confused by this Amer and Magna. People who haven’t played the previous games will get by just fine, because this installment doesn’t dwell on the past or nitpick. But people who are familiar with some installments might be a little let down by how quickly things are glossed over for the sake of entertaining moments between certain characters and keeping things accessible.
Summon Night 6: Lost Borders will come to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on October 31, 2017.