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Suikoden V - Tokyo Game Show Impression

Suikoden V
Developer: Konami
ESRB: Pending
Release Date: Unknown
The prince

Strange creatures

Beautiful lady

The queen of Falena

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If there was one console RPG title that had the most draw at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show, it would be Suikoden V. The long-running series by Konami turns 10 years old, and while the company also turned heads with its upcoming re-release of Suikoden I and II for the PSP, this was the only playable title of the series available at the show. Despite lines of eager gamers waiting to sample the new title that stretched of up to an hour and a half long, it was unfortunate that the 10 minutes or so of gameplay were not enough to even get into a battle, something that is arguably core to the series. Nevertheless, it was a chance to glimpse the series' latest (and possibly final) effort on the PlayStation 2.

"...Konami has a winner on its hands."

The gameplay centers around a group of characters who are returning from a long voyage to investigate ongoing problems in a village whose riverbed seems to have mysteriously dried up. One problem from previous Suikoden titles, the third in particular, seems to have been solved: a lack of music. There are some tracks which serve as background for many of the scenes, which is a welcome change. Also notable are the FMV sequences, as they arguably some of the best to ever hit the console. Suikoden fans harping for continuity will also welcome the return of the loading sequence icon, which is still the same as it has been since the first title.

While we weren't able to preview battles thanks to the short gameplay time and the obnoxiously long opening sequence, we were able to glimpse at the status menus and see exactly what elements are involved in character creation. There is a skill system for every character that is more or less specific to each character (in other words, no fighter-based character can turn into a mage and vice-versa), and a tactical formation window is also available via the status menu as well.

As for how the rest of the gameplay turns out, that is best left up to speculation, though many fans will be eagerly awaiting the newest incarnation in the Suikoden series. At the very least, it looks like one of the best-looking titles for the PS2, and if its looks are any indication of possible gameplay elements and story, Konami has a winner on its hands. It's a pity they couldn't have taken after other booths (or their previews of previous Suikoden titles at other conventions) and allowed for battle play. Nevertheless, this is one title to look out for.

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