The journey of the epic hero is often a long and arduous trek through unforgiving landscapes teeming with malicious monsters. It can be a daunting task, even for a seasoned party of grizzled adventurers.
That’s why even gaming veterans need to get by with a little help from some friends. Summoned monsters and characters have served to be that trump card and tipping point in many games ranging from Persona to Final Fantasy. These helpers never lack for style either, with a wide range of animations that vary from setting up a clay wall to protect fellow party members to leveling a field in an awesome display of pyrotechnics.
This week, some our staff would like to share with you who we would count on to have our backs in battle. Let us know in the comments below who you would count on in a pinch as well.
Best Summon: Shiva from Final Fantasy III – XIV
A gal of changing fashions, Shiva has been a bejeweled imp, an Arthurian-looking knight, a bikini-clad beauty, a Pacific-Ocean inspired warrior, and most recently, a motorcycle. Her signature move, “Diamond Dust,” remains one of the most powerful introductory magics in the game.
Shiva’s drastic design aesthetics even get somewhat of a backstory in Final Fantasy IX, where it is established that the reason summons take on so many altered forms is due to their appearance being influenced by the cultures and beliefs of those who summon them. This may explain why each Final Fantasy summon, from Final Fantasy X’s East Asian influences to Final Fantasy XIII’s cybernetic transformers, look so different.
- Maxwell Coviello
Best Summon: Izanagi from Persona 4
Serving as the protagonist of Persona 4, Izanagi is also your persona: a representation of your inner strength if you will. Traveling in the TV world is too dangerous alone, and that’s why Izanagi is there to protect you throughout your journey.
“I am thou… thou art I.”
Don’t be fooled by the fool arcana, Izanagi is actually a big part of Japanese mythology. He and Izanami created many of the islands and deities of Japan, so don’t think for a second that you’re just summoning any typical monster. Izanagi is practically a god, but with this being a game and all, he levels up with you as any other Persona does.
Dressed in a certified bad-ass long jacket and brandishing the Ameno-nuboko, Izanagi can take down even the strongest looking shadows with ease and style.
- Allain Richard
Stemming from the Greek mythos of the bird who transcends death, the Phoenix summon in the Final Fantasy series has proven time and again to be the tide turner both in battle and in plot.
A beautiful crimson eagle, Phoenix not only bathes your opponents in flame but it also revives your fallen comrades as well. What could be better than landing the coup de grace on a tough enemy while simultaneously ensuring your ability to keep fighting even against overwhelming odds?
As a battle mechanic, Phoenix is extraordinarily useful. As a plot mechanic, it is beautifully tragic. FFVI Spoiler alert! I’ll never forget that moment in Final Fantasy VI when Locke finally finds the Phoenix magicite, only to discover that it’s cracked. The Phoenix’s power is only strong enough to bring his lover back to life briefly before she passes away for good.
The Phoenix’s power is a reminder to us all that we can surpass our defeats and rise from them stronger than ever.
- Tom Farndon
Best Summon: Eden from Final Fantasy VIII
Allow me to explain why I decided to add yet another Final Fantasy summon into this list. Final Fantasy VIII’s Eden is fantastic for a great many reasons, although like FFVII’s “Knights of the Round” summon, respecting your time is not one of them.
Eden is a magnificent celestial being whose name and design invokes the game’s thematic usage of gardens. Its over-the-top attack animation, “Eternal Breath,” takes 72.6 seconds to get through, which gives the player an ample amount of time to mash that square button to boost its attack.
And what an attack that is. From Earth, Eden summons a gigantic ray of light that pierces a galaxy, which in turn unleashes some sort of blistering supernova. When boosted to 250, Eden can break the 9,999 damage barrier and cause up to 60,000 HP damage to every single enemy. That’s epic.
The best part about all of this? Sitting through that attack animation lets you multitask Earthbound-style, like eating a pizza in one hand while tapping square in the other.