Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 262016

suikodenFor many years, I heard people recommend the classic JRPG Suikoden. It eventually became available on PSN, which is good, since physical copies are rare and expensive now.

Going into it, all I really knew about Suikoden is that you can recruit a lot of characters. 108 of them, in fact. This is both what I liked the most about the game and what I liked the least.

I liked it the most because at a certain point, you get a base and can begin to recruit characters. It’s always exciting to talk to an NPC and realize you can recruit them, either immediately or after fulfilling specific criteria.

For example, one character wouldn’t join until I reached a high enough level. Another needed me to have a certain character in my party first.

By the end of the game, I was only missing a handful of characters, so I used a guide to find the remaining handful, some of whom were a bit tricky to get. (The guide also told me when the last chance to recruit people was, since the game doesn’t make it clear.) Getting all 108 characters earns you the best ending.

Not all of these characters are useful in combat. Some add new features to your base instead. By the end, my base had shopkeepers, its own inn (and save point), a guy painting a mural of the heroes, a teleportation system that effectively allows for fast travel, and more!

I loved returning after recruiting a bunch of people to see how my based had changed.

Screenshot borrowed from the Internet since I can't take screenshots of this game.

Screenshot borrowed from the Internet since I can’t take screenshots of this game.

So then, what made it something I liked the least? Just like with another RPG I played this year, Xenoblade Chronicles X, the sheer number of characters gets in the way of character development.

At the start of the game, I grew fond of the small starting cast. Then I met more characters. And more. And more. I slowly stopped caring about them as much. It isn’t possible for a game to give 108 characters meaningful screen time in 20-30 hours.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. It had a more grounded story than a lot of JRPGs, with a focus on overthrowing an empire rather than saving the world (despite magic playing an important role), which I think also would have benefited from more character development.

Gameplay-wise, it’s a traditional turn-based RPG. You can have six party members in battle at a time, three in the front row (short and medium-range attacks) and three in the back row (medium and long-range attacks). Interestingly, you don’t equip new weapons. Each character has a weapon you can upgrade by visiting a blacksmith. Magic and other special abilities are handled through runes you can attach to each character.

There are also large-scale battles between armies and special one-on-one duels, although both of these come down largely to a rock-paper-scissors style of countering attacks. Characters can die permanently in these battles if you aren’t careful.

Overall, I enjoyed Suikoden. It isn’t a new favorite, but it’s a classic and I’m happy I tried it. I look forward to playing Suikoden II, which many people praise as one of the greatest JRPGs of all.

Have you played Suikoden? What did you think of it?

Buy Suikoden from PSN

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  2 Responses to “Playing Through a Classic: Suikoden”

  1. […] far I’ve only played the first Suikoden, but I enjoyed it a fair amount and look forward to playing more of them, especially the highly-praised Suikoden […]

  2. […] played and enjoyed Suikoden, but have yet to play Suikoden II. Maybe I should wait for the remaster to come out after […]

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