Genso Suikoden II
Three years after Konami released Suikoden, they have created a sequal for their masterpiece! Note, of course, I am doing a review for the Japanese version of Suikoden 2 which was released in December of last year and certain things may change for the US version. I know how many of you hate spoilers, so i'm goning to clearly mark them if applicable.
The storyline revolves around a hero, his best friend Joey, and the hero's half sister, Nanami. The basic plot is simular to Suikoden 1, only it takes place three years after the fall of Empire. This time however, you have joined Highland, a city-state who will prove to be formidable foe. After realizing their actions, you escape and soon after join the Jowston-Alliance to put a stop to Highland's plans to take over the Jowston state. Sound a bit familiuar? Hmm...
With well over 140 characters in the game, character development is minimal for a large handful of characters. Many characters are minor and will play only a small role in the game. However, I think Konami had tweeked that bit by giving some of the lesser characters a few more lines in the game depending on who you take to your party and who you've curretly recruited.
Normal menu based combat
Combat uses the same engine as in Suikoden 1, but there's more animation, and less palette swaps.
The characters look more lively and there are more frames of animations for character unites. Check out Meg's and Karukuri-maru's unite and Flik's and Nina's unite ^_^ Spell effects are cooler and now characters can equip up to three runes! The number of runes that can be equipped depends on each character, not necessarily their magic level. Tengaar has higher magic than Chako, but she can only equip two runes while Chako can equip three. Go figure ^_^ Magic unites are back, but since characters can equip more than one rune, you only need on character to cast a unite magic spell.
One on Ones
More or less the same. Pits the hero against a foe.
Army vs. Army
Now here's where it gets interesting. Army vs. Army battles is quite different than in Suikoden 1. It's not just a matter of what the enemy is going to do next, it's where they are going as well. Your amry will contain a set number of units depending on how many characters you've recruited. Each unit has two hit points each. Leaders are preset, but you can rearrange your second in commands in any way you like. Certain characters will have special skills such as horesback which grants the unit greater movement, healing which heals a wounded unit and forestwalk which allows your unit to walk thru dense forest. Here's the rather annoying part of the 'new and improved' army vs. army battles. Each unit has a power and accuracy rating and might change depending on who your second in commands are. So if you attack an enemy or vise versa, there are serveral outcomes.
1) Noone gets hit.
2) Both sides take one point of damage.
3) One side takes one point of damage.
4) One or both sides will take a small amount of damage.
5) One side will counter depending which units you've used on the enemy. I believe magic counters magic and magic counters archers.
6) It's possible for a unit to take two points of damage in one turn. This is very rare, and doesn't seem to coincide with the unit's stats.
This is annoying because you'll never know the outcome even with the unit's stats. Luckily, the majority of the battles are not long and drawn out and usually results in the enemy retreating after serveral turns or so.
Mucho improvements in Suikoden 2! The graphics are crisper and there is a lot more animation then in the first. There are more frames on animation for many characters. Also, it seems that inactive characters are never in one place all the time. Quite often you'll see Flik standing on the balcony of the the castle's tower, other times he's on a beer drinking binge, and yet another time you can't find him at all, which indicates he must of stepped out for an hour or so. It's good to know that Suikoden 2 characters have lives. The music is beautiful and catchy, and contains 'remixed' versions of Suikoden 1 tunes (note the familiar tunes while heading out of Banner...and Gregminster..eh ^_^) If you've recruited Annley, you'll be able to hear these tunes anytime you like ^_^
Like Suikoden 1, the replay value is pretty high. There are three different endings and many story arcs which can change the entire outcome of the story. Also, saying the wrong thing to a probable recruit may result in that character running away for good, so be careful when deciding what to say to them.
Length of game
First time I played it was about 40 hours. A good length, tho if it were 10 more hours longer, it would have been great! However, if you wanted to see *Ahem spoiler ahead* Clive's story, you may want to try to beat certain parts of the game in under a given period of time. It's easy to miss Eliza if you take too long on your quest, and maybe never get a chance again unless you started all over again...BTW, i'd like to know how one can make it to Rockaxe in under 14 hours ^_^;;
Suikoden II Reviews
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