Suikoden - Review  

108 Stars, Runes, and Elephant Dragons
by kupomogli

Very Easy
8 - 11 hours


Rating definitions 

   Released on the Playstation by Konami in 1996, Suikoden slightly based it's storyline on a Chinese novel, using this idea to introduce more playable characters into this RPG than any other ever released.

   You play the son of Teo Mcdohl, Tir, who comes across the most cursed of all the true runes, the Soul Eater, escapes as a traitor and is forced the task of recruiting allies to fight against the corrupt government of the Scarlet Moon Empire. The story itself is more about Tir, the Soul Eater, and the fight with the Scarlet Moon Empire than anything else in the game, where almost all the other characters getting little to no storyline at all.

If I stay away from you at all, my hands ache with  bloodlust. If I stay away from you at all, my hands ache with bloodlust.

   When fighting battles, you have a max of six characters at a time, where three characters can be set in the front and back row, each character having a short, medium, or long range attack. Short ranged characters can only attack from the front row, while medium range attacks can attack from both front and back rows, both however can only attack the enemies front rows. Long range attackers can attack from both front and back rows, as well as attack both the enemies front and back rows. In addition, every character, no matter how poor they are in magic can equip runes, there being three different types of runes as well. Magic runes are just what you'd think them to be, with each of these runes having four levels of spells, the level each character can use as well as the amount of times they can use them depends on the character. Attack runes while there not being very many, are useable as many times as you want, but some result in the characters losing a turn. The last of the runes being the support runes, which are just innate abilities like status raise. One of the more unique aspects of the game are the unite attacks, which depending on the characters in your party, they can team up with another character or other characters and perform a team attack, attacking more enemies at a time, or taking off a larger amount of damage than they normally would.

   Other than the normal battles, there are also duel battles and war battles. The duel battles having attack, defend, and desperate attack, which depending on what the enemy you are fighting says, you choose the option that you think would be the best choice in defeating that opponent. Using a desperate attack is a critical hit and will cancel out the enemies attack, but defending will allow you to dodge a desperate attack and strike back taking critical hit damage, where attacking will take off a small amount of damage, but still hurt an enemy even if they defend. The war battles involve your entire army, which you can charge, fire arrows, or cast magic, as well as other options like power-up your army, or find out the enemies next action and if you've played Vandal Hearts or Fire Emblem, the system will seem similar to those. The Charge attack beats Bows, the Bows beat Magic, and the Magic beats charge, however, even if you do the same action(except for magic against magic) you'll take damage off their army as well.

An Elephant Dragon! An Elephant Dragon!

   The graphics, while not excellent are pretty good, and they are some of the best 2d graphics to date. While in battle however, all the attacks are usually only a few frames, but even so, there are a large amount of characters, each with a completely different attack animations than the others. There are alot of great music tracks in the title as well, but alot of the tracks also repeat and there are others that aren't so good, and sound effects in which most of the weapons using one of two or three different attack sounds brings it down a little. Localization on the other hand is probably the worst part of the game, and while during the gameplay there isn't that many errors in which to bother you, you'll see more errors than in a few games put together while watching the ending.

   Overall, this game has an excellent storyline, and in my opinion is the best in the Suikoden series. While it's not long and has no real sidequests other than recruiting all 108 characters, it's a really enjoyable game from beggining to end and easy enough for everyone to enjoy.

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