Wednesday, January 9, 2002

Genso Suikoden

Genre: Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation
Credits: 1996 Konami Ltd.

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108 Stars of Destiny List by Thundersenshi
Skysenshi's Description:
Darkness hovers upon Scarlet Moon, the legendary Empire built by Barbarossa—the Golden Emperor himself and hero of his time. So the land filled with resentment awakens, and cries desperately for rebirth and freedom.

The day is silently drawing near. The 108 Stars of Destiny are gathering to overthrow the evil—and you, born under the Tenkai star, are the destined leader...

It ain't SQUARE...>>> by skysenshi
Yes, it's not from Squaresoft, but that doesn't mean Genso Suikoden will be a flop or not measure up to the standards of a typical Squaresoft RPG. Truth be told, I was one of the few people who played this game right after its sequel was released. In fact, I bought the sequel first but delayed touching it simply because I found out that your gameplay in the first one will affect its second installation. I could not find Suikoden anywhere offline anymore and I got so desperate that I paid a lot of moolah to get it off an online auction at Amazon.

Any regrets? None. Every penny I spent was worth it. From the Chinese legend where its story is based, the gameplay, the battle system, down to the last supporting character, I found everything to be perfect. I didn't really expect much in terms of graphics because I knew it to be an old game, but the fun had in Suikoden is not something I'm likely to forget for a long long time.

108 characters. Yes, I hear you. You're thinking, "Wow!" How the heck are you supposed to choose 5 other party members from 108 people? The decision-making here was quite difficult, considering there were so many characters that a gamer will definitely get attached to. There's Gremio (the one with the "Kenshin Himura" scar), Pahn, Viktor, Flik and many other unlikely souls whom you think may be unimportant at first, but they do have their uses when you start building your army. If you know how to deploy your people and not making them just ornaments to your fortress, then it proves how well your managing abilities are—a skill that not a lot of folks have.

Even some enemy bosses can also be quite entertaining, like the effeminate Milich, who adds grace and style, not to mention color, to the entire game. Ah, but the most important party member for me was Kai, the sensei, because the combo of the main character McDohl and this scrawny old man is what made me survive hundreds of vicious battles that would've been difficult if you can only attack individually. Well, ahem, of course I can survive, but then I'm a lazy person and the Kai-McDohl combo just makes things easier.

The gameplay and battle system are certainly something different. Your "loot" after every battle would have to depend on your party's level, so you can just let go of the weaker enemies so as not to waste time. There's another form of battle that makes Suikoden all the more interesting. It's the one-on-one dueling mode. I positively love this one! Be very very careful with your choices, though, because the outcome of one of the duels might seem like a part of the natural flow of the game, but might actually mean a very fatal path for your community's future.

I haven't even begun talking about the army face-offs. This is happens when your entire group march into the battlefield to go up against enemy soldiers. You get to decide whether to use magic, arrows, or brutally force your way into their circle. This one requires a lot of luck so better cross your fingers and be ready to save so you can restart in case your numbers diminish.

Speaking of luck, money and weapons/equipment upgrade are definitely not going to be a headache here. You can always gamble, which is a pretty addicting pastime. This is also one of the reasons why it is almost imperative that you cherish each and every one of the 108 stars—you CAN make use of a couple of gamblers. Remember, there are no useless members here.

Sounds? Ah, who could ever forget the beautiful songs of Suikoden? I feel nostalgic just listening to its opening theme "Into a World of Illusions". Mental note: Must compose a ringtone for it. The collection isn't your typical cutesy sounds, but they're not heavy on the ears either.

Overall, I'd say Suikoden is one underrated game. It isn't easily appreciated by people who do not have leadership abilities (I'm quite sure of it) and who have too much problems trying to handle 108 team members all at once. If the game is so bad, then I must be really really abnormal to have played this game TWICE! So for those who do nothing but complain about this game, quit playing and just sell it (on my last check, they lowest bid for this at eBay is about $100). Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy!

COMPLETION TIME: ?? (It's been a long time since I played)
RATINGS: Gameplay 10; Battle 10; Story 9; Visuals 7; Characters 10; Sounds 10; Replay Value 10

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