Suikoden II has been out for a while now; releasing in the late 90s originally. However as with the first game, Suikoden II is also highly sought after and as such fetches quite a premium on online auction sites such as ebay. It is therefore good business sense for Konami to offer the games on the PlayStation Network at an affordable price when it it costs fairly little to port the games. Well that is now the case, and the game has been available for the PS3 and Vita for a few months now.
Much like the first game, Suikoden II is a very political JRPG and as such sets itself apart from the other games in the genre, which tend to be based on a single super-evil enemy hellbent on destroying the world (for whatever reason). Also like the last game, there is a big focus on recruiting allies, so a lot of the missions you go out to do end up with you gaining a new ally. The name “Suikoden” actually refers to 108 bandits who have their base near the marshes, but the deeper meaning is along the lines of a rebellion when there has been too much corruption.
However, you don’t need to have played the first game to understand the second. Just like Final Fantasy, Suikoden II starts a completely new politically-driven story with it’s own plot twists and morally ambiguous choices. This is actually pretty good, because this game is far better and holds up much better than the first game in terms of playability.
The game is still 2D and reminds me of the old SNES RPGs, even if it is a PlayStation game, however Suikoden II is a lot more vibrant and the imagery in general is a lot sharper and much more vivid than the first game. This can be seen right from the outset as all environments appear to be much more detailed, and well fleshed-out. As such it is still a joy to look at and play.
There are loads of characters that you can recruit and each one has his or her own story arc, but the maximum amount of characters in your party is 6. Although you have the standard turn-based random battles, Suikoden II also has some larger scale battles. It makes sense when you consider that this game is based on rebellion and war. There are also some one-on-one battles that depend slightly on your luck as they are based on a Rock-Paper-Scissors-style formula.
Suikoden II is probably a game that many never played, which is a shame as it is pretty damn good. The graphics and particularly the soundtrack is amazing for a game of it’s age, and although it might not hold the same nostalgia as games like Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger, it’s worth playing. I’d recommend this game over the first one simply because it is a lot more refined and faster-paced than the original.
- Replay Value