Name: Genso Suikoden
Genre: Traditional RPG
Plot - 9
Characters - 9
Music - 10
Graphics - 8
Battle System - 10
Replay - 10
Extra - 7
Overall - 9
Suikoden, the first installment in a five(soon to be six) game legacy. It is the first glimpse into a medieval-type world, divided by kingdoms and countries, good and evil, different races, and the ever constant presence of the 26 True Runes. This game takes place within the Scarlet Moon Empire, which is...really big, making for some fun exploring.
You are (insert name here) McDohl, son of one of the five great generals of the Empire. When the game starts out, you are waiting for an audience with the Emperor, who seems to be a great man. He first gives instructions to your father to go guard the northern border, then calls you up to meet him. You can either impress him or amuse him with the options given to you. You are to enter the army soon. After leaving the Emperor, you go meet your commander, who is...less than nice, then go home. You currently live with your father and three attendants.
The cheery image of the game soon breaks as you experience the corruption of the Empire come face-to-face with the Liberation Army, a small group of rebels, and gain use of the Soul Eater, one of the 26 True Runes. After some thought, you join the Liberation Army and the game starts in earnest. You gain command of the army after some unfortunate events, and your army steadily grows as you start recruiting people. You get to battle the Empire, set up your own headquarters in an abandoned castle in the middle of the lake the Empire surrounds, and fight for your freedom and liberty.
You will laugh throughout this game, you will cry(unless you're completely insensitive, bleh), and you will not want to put your controller down. This games gives your emotions a nice ride, especially if you let yourself get extremely involved in a storyline.
Throughout Suikoden, you have the opportunity to recruit over one-hundred characters into your party, giving you a total of 108 playable characters. Now, with so many PC, and then the NPC, you'd think that character development would be pretty slim, right? Well, Suikoden breaks down those boundaries. You are presented with four races: humans, elves, dwarves, and kobolds. The elves and dwarves are very much Tolkien-ish in appearance and personality, so there's some lack of originality there. You know what drives the characters, though! They don't just do random actions that leave you wondering why. You can see their motivation, what they believe in, why they're there. The characters actually have (*gasp*) personalities.
The music in Suikoden is AWESOME. Not only does it have songs appropriate for the moment, but the sound effects have a huge role too. The music sets the mood, and you'll probably find yourself humming along sometimes (especially to the music in your castle, heh). The music is beautiful in this game, it's not harsh, or overly wacky, it's just really fitting.
Suikoden uses a 2D method for graphics, unlike most other PSX games. This is really fitting to the type of game, and I believe that 3D graphics would have really taken away from it. However, the graphics tend to be really flat at times. Little effects, though, make it so much better, like a character handing over a sword, or the spinning of a staff. The graphics can look really grainy at times, though. Overall, I guess the did a pretty good job.
Battle System -
There are three different forms of battle systems in Suikoden.
The first is a team battle, which is your average rpg fight. You can have six characters, and they are in two rows. Characters with short ranged weapons can only attack if they are in the front row, and long ranged weapon wielders do best in the back. Medium range can go in either. You have the choice of either fighting, defending, using an item, teaming up with another character, or using a rune to do magic. However, you can only use the spells a set amount of time, and can't replenish them until you heal at an inn. Before each new round of the battle, you have the choice between attack (which lets you choose what everyone in your party does), run or let go (depending on it you're much stronger than the enemy or if you're weaker), bribe (give money to escape from a battle), or an option where everyone in your party just randomly attacks the enemy with their weapons.
The second type of battle is a one-on-one fight, where your main character is pitted up against an enemy alone. You have three options: attack, defend, and desperate attack. You choose your action according to what your enemy says before each new round. If s/he was to say something like... "See if you can hit me!" then the enemy is going to defend in the next round, and you should attack. However, if they yell "FEEL THE POWER OF MY BLADE!!!" then you defend, because they are going to use a desperate attack. If you defend against a desperate attack, the attack misses and you counterattack. Defending while someone is attacking, however, just decreases the amount of damage down to you.
The last type of battle is an army battle, which is your army versus another. You're highly outnumbered in the beginning of the game, but you can more troops as you recruit more people. The battles are usually a few thousand people versus another few thousand, but it starts getting really high. All of your members are divided into groups with up to three people. You can either charge with your fighters, use spells with your mages, attack them with arrows with your archers, or use skills or sneaky techniques with your strategists/thieves/ninjas, etc. Magic triumphs over charge, archers triumph over mages, and charge triumphs over archers. The people are represented by really little, high-pitched, adorable sprites who run across the screen at each other, or line up in a circle when using magic, or just random shoot at you/the enemy. When one dies, it rises up the screen with little angel wings and a halo, and your people count goes down. The team that losses all/most of it's people looses.
I have played Suikoden many times, and would play it again if my friend hadn't lost it. It's a great story, fun to play, and playing it just once isn't enough, especially if you didn't get all 108 Stars of Destiny the first time around.
There are several other things you can do while playing Suikoden, including collecting paint for a mural, the dice game Chinchirorin, finding old books which you can read in your library, and getting different bath scenarios. These little extra things add to the game's fun, and are nice little addition. Try not to lose all of your money playing Chinchirorin, ok?
Overall, this game deserves a whopping nine out of ten.
Crystal Zeal's Reviews
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