Sunday, July 16, 2006

Suikoden Tactics (Rhapsodia)

Genre: Role Playing Game, Tactics
Platform: Playstation 2
2005 Konami Corporation. Screenshots courtesy of RPGFan.

Suikoden Rhapsodia Game
Suikoden Rhapsodia Strategy Guides/Art
Original Soundtrack
Toys and Accessories
Everything Grandia
Amazon.Com Editorial Description Description:
From the Manufacturer
Breaking from its traditional role-playing roots, Suikoden Tactics incorporates simulation and strategy elements to take players on an all-new fantastical adventure. The game features stunning environments, extravagant and exciting story scenes, and an amazing cast of characters. Told through the eyes of Kyril, a young adventurer investigating the sudden appearance of hideous creatures in the Island Nations, Suikoden Tactics unfolds another perspective to the events of Suikoden IV and players will discover the secrets of the legendary Rune Cannons. Successfully blending classic Suikoden and RPG elements that fans of the renowned series have come to expect with new features and game mechanics, Tactics offers players an original, robust gameplay experience like no other.


  • Strong, compelling storyline with real-time rendered story events and voice-overs
  • Includes a cast of over 50 characters--some new to the series and others that were featured in Suikoden IV
  • Over 25 battle scenarios in highly detailed 3-D battle environments
  • Modify your characters’ skills, tailor their equipment, and upgrade their weapons to fully customize your team members throughout the game
  • Unique "Combination Attack" system allows players to combine the powers of numerous characters in battle as they build friendship with one another

Product Description
Suikoden Tactics takes you into the world of the popular role-playing game Suikoden, for incredible strategy and combat simulation gaming. See this world through the eyes of Kyril, a young adventurer who investigates the sudden appearance of hideous creatures in the Island Nations. As you explore and battle with him, you'll discover the secrets of the legendary Rune Cannons -- and try to destroy them before they destroy the world. Real-time rendered story events and voiceovers.

Not so bad. >>> by skysenshi

A lot of disappointed Suikoden fanatics have claimed to not find this game addictive. I can actually see why, although I believe there's enough in here to keep someone, who's as hungry for Suikoden information as I am, playing.

There are two very important things a gamer should take note of before plucking Rhapsodia off the shelves. First, even if Rhapsodia can stand well enough on its own, I would highly suggest completing Suikoden IV's 108 Stars of Destiny. Second, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who professes that Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea are the definitive games of this genre. Read on and you'll understand why.

Story and Characters

Suikoden IV, though not really a bad game, had fallen short of what's expected of the Suikoden series. The characters, with the exception of the extremely annoying Snowe, are forgettable at best. The plot, which could have been quite interesting, is weakened by the fact that the protagonists are about as fascinating as watching the Aquarium channel. See, we thought Suikoden III had gotten rid of the usual silent (read: boring) hero. To see it returning in IV is tantamount to a downgrade.

Now, with Rhapsodia, the signature silent hero is gone. Kyril starts off as a rather energetic kid with kick-ass rune attacks. He has many questions, thus he never leaves his father's side. During his quest, he meets and, if lucky, recruits many of the familiar characters of IV. If you completed the 108 Stars of Destiny in the preceding game, you'd also be able to get Lazlo, IV's ultra quiet hero. You might be glad to know that Lazlo is now far from the speechless kid you knew previously. In fact, he talks...a lot. He'd have dialogues with former stars and even initiate friendly conversations with Kyril. This is a far cry from the one-liners you'd see him utter in IV. The best part of this is that Lazlo is one of the most powerful non-killable characters in Rhapsodia, especially since his Rune of Punishment is a lot more useful here than it had been in IV.

The plot is pretty basic — you'll only be chasing after the secret of the rune cannons from the very beginning — although it answers a lot of the questions left unanswered by IV. In fact, if you finish this, you'd now be able to remember the stars of destiny whose names elude you. Try resting once in a while to open up witty or story-driven scenes. And for Snowe haters out there, you'd probably snicker at what kind of life he ends up leading.

Gameplay and Battle System

I am one of the die-hard Final Fantasy Tactics fan. Thus, I had to dumb myself down before I could fully enjoy Rhapsodia. The concept is pretty much like FFT, except there are elemental grids to watch out for. Every character, both friend and enemy alike, has an affinity. Fire is weak against water, water against lightning, and so on. You don't really have to memorize the affinities, as there are icons that would tell you if your player is weak or strong against a particular grid. A wearable skill system is also applied here. You can upgrade both your weapons and your skills to improve your fighting abilities.

Besides using physical and magic attacks, you can mount owls and kangaroo-looking unicorns, hunt treasures, steal, and do combination/cooperative attacks that are much similar to what you can do in IV. I personally prefer using Kika and Lazlo's Double Sword Attack and Andarc and Seneca's Cohort Attack. With cooperative moves, you will have to chat with your combo partner from time to time to increase good will.

There's also such a thing as "dying" and "withdrawing." A number of characters from your roster can be permanently killed during a battle. But since you have a lot of powerful non-killable characters, who will simply withdraw when out of HP, you can opt to deploy them instead. Perhaps the only killable character I've used throughout the game is Trishtan and Rita, which is surprising because I hated her and her screechy "Pon!" with a passion in IV.

The problem with Rhapsodia's battle system is that it can get boring. I can't really explain why, but the battles aren't nearly as exciting as the ones you'd encounter in FFT, Disgaea or Front Mission III. Some battles can go on and on and on, as there will be cases when enemy reinforcements just endlessly sprout out of nowhere.

Despite this not being a full-blown RPG, you still can enjoy side quests that you can get from Lalacle. She lets you do guild quests that will yield lots of money and skill points.

One side quest that I detest, however, is The Obel Ruins, which consists of 6 floors of non-stop battling — another weakness that I can connect with the dreary battles. This is saying a lot, considering I finished Parasite Eve's Chrysler Tower at level 71. But see, back then, I was in college and could cut classes I can ace for the sake of gaming. A working person would have to spend at least 4 hours of her after office time every night if she wanted to explore it. I was only able to go through all 6 floors three times before I deemed it not worth my precious time. In fact, the Obel Ruins destroyed the final three battles for me. I had leveled up so much in the ruins that I made complete mince meat out of the last set of story-based enemies.

Don't expect much when it comes to graphics. This is composed of cell-shaded super deformed 3D. The characters look funny in a not-so-cute way: fat arms, fat legs, small heads and bodies. It doesn't help that most of your enemies are ugly man-fishies.

The voice overs can also grate on the nerves. A fine example is Sigurd, one of the hotties of Suikoden IV. In Rhapsodia, he sounds like a whiny, teenaged girl. What's even more off-putting is the fact that you can't skip scenes or mute the dubbing. Thank goodness Rita doesn't scream "Pon!" this time around or I would've let her die on the battlefield.

Replay Value
As I am not too attached to Rhapsodia as I had been to FFT and Front Mission III, I doubt I'd be replaying it anytime soon. But if you're a certified Suikoholic, you may want to pick this one up.

DIFFICULTY: Easy - Difficult
COMPLETION TIME: 20-30 hours
RATINGS: Gameplay 7; Battle 8; Story 9; Visuals 7; Characters 8; Sounds 7; Replay Value 3

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