Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Genso Suikoden III

Genre: Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation
Credits: 2002 Konami Ltd., Screenshots by Amazon.Com

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Cover Description:
15 years after the events of Suikoden 2, players re-enter the world of Suikoden in an all-new adventure of epic proportions. Follow the intertwining story of Hugo, the son of a villager; Chris, the virtuous knight of Zexen; and Geddoe, the rebellious unit commander as their dates bring them together in order to gather the 108 stars of destiny. Suikoden 3 breaks new ground in the RPG genre with 3 different battle systems, 3 main characters, 3 styles of combat, and afully detailed 3D world.

This is the definitive PS2 RPG>>> by firesenshi

This next installment of Suikoden III has not deviated much from the past two Suikoden games. There are still 108 characters you can recruit in the game as this after all based on the Chinese legend of Suikoden that has 108 characters. But apparently from the increased potential in development for the Playstation 2, Konami has added new features to the game. One is the Trinity Sight System, which enables the gamer to view the scenarios of the three main characters (Hugo, Geddoe and Chris) and play as one of them. The story is INITIALLY divided into 3 chapters for each so if you finish one chapter for say, Hugo, you can choose to move on to the next chapter or go play a chapter of either Geddoe and Chris. This kind of system is very very EFFICIENT in that it increases the elements of fun and surprise. Playing each characters' chapter makes you view the story in their eyes such that what appears to be just plain black and white in the story for one chapter is suddenly painted in a flattering light for another chapter. All the unknown plot elements in one chapter will then be revealed in another chapter until fate converges the lives of all stars in the story. The Trinity Sight System is also very good in utilizing a lot of the 108 Stars of Destiny that you may or may not recruit for the game because each main character is initially involved in their own set of adventures. In the past Suikoden games, you only have one HERO who can recruit all 108 Stars of Destiny and have only 5 other slots in his party. In this game, you have 3 main heroes who have 5 different slots in different chapters meeting different people in their own paths so you have a ball getting acquainted with most of the characters you recruit. This gives you ample reference in choosing the best ones for your party later on.

The map has also changed from the past Suikoden games. The map here is like Legend of Dragoon or the old Brigandine where you can select one point in the map to access that place. You can't go from one point to another point without passing on to a town or plain blocking it unlike in the old Suikoden games where you literally wander in the map. So far, this has been my biggest rant because it makes me dizzy going from one place to another. However, this will guarantee indeed that you will not get lost and that you can and MUST go to each place, take your characters, and ensure their stats and levels are at least competitive. So in other words, it works for the game but it sure isn't thrilling! Don't worry, though, the enemy encounter rate is just average. If you bring a character that has high luck, there's a chance you pass a place with just one enemy encounter.

The famed cooking contest is gone but you can't miss out the other mini-games in here. The mini-games were designed so fair that you have no trouble earning money. You do get to keep a castle as in the past Suikoden games, furnish it with all 108 stars, and see it grow.

The battle system in Suikoden III has not dramatically changed as in the past Suikoden games. The concept though seems to work in pairs. Medicine cannot be used for the group anymore but can only be used to cure the pair that character is in. The healing spells apply for all characters though. The combinations have lessened but not less powerful. I think they based it on the obvious character relationships and based it on pairs so that you won't have big trouble mismatching and guessing countless combinations available to you.

You can level up a character's skills based on physical skills for your melee characters or tutor them in magic skills for your mages. What I like about the battle system is that there is increased flexibility in developing characters because there are two different skills.

When I thought at first the battles were typically slash-slash-magic-slash combinations, meeting the bosses in the battle makes you change your formula... especially that last boss. (The last boss is such a pain to fight. Thank goodness I chose the right combo.) The insignificant battles can be very repetitive until the boss battles, as is the major rant of most gamers from this game. However, I see this as good enough since the game enables you to explore the capabilities of 108 characters. You can't do that very well if the enemies change often!

The Trinity Sight System greatly suits the Story and Plot in that it works on the "Grand Design" Scheme where the destinies of all 108 characters converge under one fate to save the world. Sounds typical? Wait until you finish all the initial chapters and find out the scheme behind it all. If you're a fan of both Suikoden games, then the twist in the plot will be amazing surprise for you. As both Suikoden games are known for its great stories, this one does not fail to provide you with suspense, drama and comedy and its characters memorable.

And if you've played the past Suikoden games, you will know that the creators of Suikoden are not afraid of deaths in their games. Memorable deaths, small deaths, insignificant deaths, etc. since the recurring theme is always destiny, chaos, peace, rivalry and brotherhood. So that's not calling Konami callous but totally innovative and creative in choosing such great elements to place within a typical formula.

Suikoden III has deviated from the 2D and pixelated map images from the past Suikoden games. The environments are graced in 3D -- they're not as fine-tuned as in Final Fantasy X but the design is in good detail. Characters walk in semi-chibi mode or semi-deformed style but you can see their portraits in the character bubbles drawn very very well. The transition in the bubbles is also soft. The interface in the menu with the proper choice of icons is totally cool; I think they're better than FF X.

I loved this game. It's very addicting and lives up to the Suikoden franchise that it holds. Of all the games for the Playstation, I think this is the definitive RPG. It keeps the elements of traditional RPGs, such as the exploration of different towns in the map and for characters, along with the new elements such as adding new combos like the Trinity Sight System and Mounted Attacks. (Can you use Futch's dragon, Black, in Suikoden 2? Nope. But here...) The story is also very awesome! As an old Suikoden gamer, the twist in the plot shocked me. Plus the bonus for obtaining all 108 Stars of Destiny is really worth it.

DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Difficult
COMPLETION TIME: Approximately 70 hours
RATINGS: Gameplay 9; Battle 8; Story 10; Visuals 8; Characters 10; Sounds 8; Replay Value 8

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