Wednesday, January 9, 2002

Genso Suikoden II

Genre: Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation
Credits: 1998 Konami Ltd.

Suikoden Game Shop
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All by Skysenshi
108 Stars of Destiny List
Multiple Endings Guide
Skysenshi's Description:
One True Rune...Two Friends...

One is destined to lead the 108 Stars of Destiny. The other, destined to restore the glory of a nation besmirched by a corrupt royalty.

The holders of the Black Sword Rune and the Bright Shield Rune must come face to face in order to unite the splintered pieces of the single powerful Beginning Rune...the legacy of the Great Genkaku of the City-State.

This is how a legend's sequel should be made!>>> by skysenshi
Konami did it again! If you have read my opinion for Genso Suikoden I, then I think you might have a good idea of what I could say about this sequel. Basically, I have the same comments regarding the plot, gameplay, battle system, the perfection of the sounds and I could go on and on and on. There are slight differences, of course. For one thing, there are more anime sequences, as well as improved graphics. There isn't much by way of transition, but they still maintained Suikoden's 2D charm.

They also added more fun activities to do inside your castle, such as the cooking contest that would seem like something quite trivial to other people. Finish it and you'll realize that there's something deeper going on—something that weaves more depth into your storyline, not to mention one of your characters' pasts. But this is just one of the games you can play inside your turf. There are others that would involve farming, as well as hitting some fluffy stuff inside mole holes. Gambling still exists, but it might get a little difficult for some players who had gotten used to how the original game was run, when stakes were a little bit higher and easier to win.

The characters are great, especially as different sorts of animals—a dog, a unicorn, a giant eagle, talking octopi, squirrels etc.—participate in your cause. Gotta love those squirrels! Muku Muku! And Shu! Aside from that, you also get to meet some of the heroes that made the Liberation Army of Suikoden I a legendary name. I'll let you in on a secret bonus in locating all 108 stars (characters) because Suikodeon II makes it so easy compared to the first game. There is one character named Richmond, a private investigator for hire who can give you valuable clues as to how you can get each and every star. But if you're really too lazy to do things on your own, you can always take a peek at my FAQ up there (my other alias is Skysenshi).

The battle system is almost the same, save for the army versus army face-offs. In the original Suikoden, you have to depend on luck 90% of the time. In this case, you will have to depend on your tactical skills. It is similar to playing chess, only better. This becomes the ultimate test of how well you can deploy your forces—how well you can make use of the skills of the people who fight under your name. Brainpower becomes an essential element of this new exciting feature.

There is just one little detail that made this game more enjoyable for me. While Suikoden II can stand alone and be appreciated for its own merits, I would have missed half my life if I had not played Suikoden I. If I had not played Suikoden I, there would have been no Gremio in Suikoden II. No Gremio, no McDohl, no Hero-McDohl combo (very useful). Many of the characters like Flik, Viktor, and Kasumi would be just normal people to me—people with pasts that were just told me, instead of being experienced for my own… People I might not have had previous attachments to. Fortunately, this is not my case.

When I entered Gregminster, home of McDohl (hero of the first Suikoden), I was awashed with so much nostalgia that I had to search every nook and cranny for a familiar face. The continuity of the two games is utterly amazing! They retained the same background music for Gregminster, as well as the same layout for McDohl's house. I almost felt tears as I met up with the stars that had played significant roles in the victory of the Liberation Army.

Having McDohl in my party is one heck of an experience. Even though I had to travel through a thick, bandit-ridden forest to fetch him every time I embark on a quest, I find his presence in my team to be well worth the effort. The hit-all combo that you can do with him makes him an indispensable member of your party. It also doesn't hurt that he looks so mature now and even more gorgeous compared to the dumpling-looking Hero of Suikoden II.

So what makes this game a worthy sequel? My reply is this: I was able to love the game more because I have experienced its past. But more than that, it's because Suikoden II made me relive the past—made me love it, cherish it. Made it more memorable for me. How many games can say the same thing about their sequels?

COMPLETION TIME: ?? (It's been a long time since I played)
RATINGS: Gameplay 9; Battle 10; Story 9; Visuals 8; Characters 10; Sounds 10; Replay Value 9

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