Suikoden is probably one of those games that you’ve heard a lot of praise about, but never actually played, and that’s understandable because there were very few copies of the game actually printed. So much so that the original copies of the game tend to sell for quite a premium on auction sites like eBay. Konami has realised that there is a thirst to play this game, and have finally released it as a PSOne classic on the PlayStation Store.
The story in this game is fairly simple, your father General Teo McDohl has left for a battle in the north, leaving you with a few friends to make sure you’re okay. In the mean time, with these friends you begin to work for the Empire and shortly after realise that you and your father were on the wrong side. So you switch sides over to the Liberation Army, and eventually start leading it, with the goal to recruit more people to your cause. There are over 100 people that you can recruit so there is a lot to do in this game.
As this was my first time play Suikoden, there were some things I had to get used to. The first thing is that this game is designed like an old SNES RPG, which makes sense as it was a very early PSOne game, so if you’re expecting graphics like Final Fantasy VII, think again. There is also very little hand-holding in this game, and save points are scarce. In fact, I honestly wished there was a save-state feature on the Vita for this title as the save points were too few and far-between, made worse by the fact that you can’t save on the world map.
There is no MP system in Suikoden, as it is based on acquiring Runes. Proficiency in the magic stat improves how well you can use the Rune, meaning you can use more spells and stronger spells. There is a basic turn-based attack system, with a variety of ranges that characters can fight from; short, medium or long. Depending on which weapons you use, you will automatically have to be placed in the required range. There are no weapon shops in Suikoden, and you must visit a blacksmith to sharpen your weapons, which level them up. Thankfully, armour shops to exist, so you can buy these as normal.
There also seems to be quite a lot of random battles in Suikoden, which initially start off quite difficult, but very quickly can become easy by levelling up. The XP system is based on each character needing 1000 experience points to get to the next level. This remains a constant, but when you gain a level, then weaker enemies provide less points than they did previously. One nice feature is that it is easier to run away from weaker enemies than stronger enemies, which makes sense in a lot of ways. The sound design is also pretty damn good for an older game, and is probably Suikoden’s saving grace.
Suikoden is not actually that long, if you did everything you could probably finish the game in about 25 hours, which is not bad, but you can finish it in under 20 hours if you focus on the main story. The game on the whole is fairly slow in terms of movement speed (though this can be changed later on with the addition of a specific character/rune), but also the menu system. You can’t combine items, so if you have a stack of 6 medicines, and you collect some more, it will be stored as a separate stack. There is also no unified inventory system, so you have to give each character a piece of armour, before they can equip it, and the same thing is the case with consumables such as medicine.
As I said before, Suikoden is an old game, and obviously has a lot of annoyances from the SNES and early PSOne era, but it’s still quite a fun little RPG to play. It’s not too difficult after you get used to the way the game works, so may not be for those who want a challenging game, however the story is quite unique for a game of that era, and there are a few different battle types that change things up for a bit of variation. If you’ve never played it, it’s definitely worth the asking price to pass the time.
- Replay Value