Suikoden IV - Review  

by kupomogli

Very Easy
18 - 22 hours


Rating definitions 

   Although this is the fourth in a series that is slightly based on a Chinese story, it's completely different than the others, as well as a prequel of the first.

   A true rune called the Rune of Punishment sucks away the life of all who wear it as they use its power, the hero acquires this rune as well as getting cast off the island in which he serves as a knight. Finding about the Kouluk's plans to rule the islands by seeing attacks first hand, he searches to find allies, the 108 stars of destiny, to help defeat them.

   While a world map really needs no introduction to how it works, Suikoden 4 has a world map that does. Navigating the world map really doesn't cause a problem as you can always open up the map screen and choose a point and send your ship on its way. Holding up will get you to where you want to go, and you can even use the run command to make your ship go a bit faster, however, the pace at which you'll travel is incredibly slow, and you'll be spending about 40 times as much time on the world map travelling and fighting monsters than you'll spend anywhere else in the game. Entering a port you'll only have to make your boat travel up to it, while exiting, you'll end up having to travel farther out or end up being asked to make port again, even when you can barely even see the port on your screen.

Wish everything was as good as this games opening. Wish everything was as good as this games opening.

   Unlike the rest of the series, you are only aloud to have a max of four characters to control at a time, instead of the usual six, as well as each character's range of attack being meaningless unlike in the other titles(except for a single battle.) Three runes can be equipped at one time, just like the second started with, although there are fewer runes than in the second and third, with less to customize your characters. Each rune has one of three types, which would either be a special ability, most of the time being a powered up attack which can be used continuously, or others giving the character a special innate ability, which will be in effect without having to be used. The usual runes that would be equipped would be the spell runes, with each character having four spell levels that level up depending on their level and magic ability, as well as determining the amount of magic points each character has on every level. Just like the rest of the series, this game also includes combo attacks, which are attacks done in cooperation with each of the characters using the attack, however, unlike the rest of the series, you don't know which character has a combo attack with another character unless you have each of those characters fight together and learn it through a certain amount of battles. A last combo attack called Rush includes all three characters as well as the main character and can be used anytime before the initial attack commands, only being able to use it again after a certain amount of battles.

   Other than the normal battles, there are also duel battles and war battles. The duel battles having attack, defend, and special 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 special attack is a critical hit as well as canceling out their attack command, but defending will allow you to dodge a special 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 this time around are done in ships, where you have each of the elements, and each one of the six elements will beat another one of the six elements. Except for the final war battle, every single ship is set up with a max of two elements in which one beats the other element, and all you need is to equip the strongest element of each attacking ship. When the ships are attacking, you have no idea which element they are going to use, so it's nothing more than just guessing at a winning element once you are fighting the last ship that has four elements instead of two like all the rest.

   Unlike the rest where you get a castle, you'll recieve a ship in Suikoden 4 which will house your 108 stars. And again like in the first and second, you really won't do anything other than go around and collect the 108 stars. Thankfully they really didn't put any gameplay heavy sidequests in this title however, seeing as how they took out what really made each of the series fun to play, but there are a few, and if anyone has ever played the first, like you see on the opening movie, Ted is a secret character in the game.

This is about 10 hours of the games gameplay. This is about 10 hours of the games gameplay.

   Most of the graphics to this game are poor, featuring very low quality all throughout the game, almost every single town having little to no detail. Seeing the system this title is on, and the animations from the previous title being nothing short of excellent, the animations from this Suikoden tries to use special effects to cover up the fact that they're using a low frame rate for each of the characters attacks, or even the speeding up of the main characters frames when running around in a town or dungeon instead of using a completely different frame set. The music as well, as there are only probably two tracks out of the entire game that are really any good, or even decent. Also, like above, there is no reason for the games sound effects to be done the way they are seeing as what system it's on, where rather than multiple weapon types having different sound effects done, or while running around on different types of land, each only has two or three different sound effects used. One thing I can actually say good about the game is the localization, where there isn't really an error to be found throughout the game, and that's something I was glad to find in the game after all the mistakes throughout the rest of it.

   Overall, this is by far the worst of the Suikoden series, removing almost every aspect of the series that made it fun. It felt like the creators wanted to just get another Suikoden out there and didn't even try making it any good, leaving random battles to make up for most of the gameplay, and except for the last boss, making it incredibly easy. I feel sorry for the people who bought the game without preordering it, as they'll have spent the money for this game and not have recieved the free artbook, however, that doesn't even make up for the waste of money anyone would have used for this game.

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