Suikoden V review
A Return to the Greatness
From the moment a solid preview of this game was released, I had a feeling this would be one Konami's finer Suikoden installments. Suikoden 3 and 4 proved to put many people off the series but it's safe to say that they're back on track. In many respects, this is very similar to the greatness of Suikoden 2.
The basic Suikoden story formula stays the same. This time, the player takes the role of the Prince of Falena, and after some sneaky political events from other regions, is forced out of his town with his loyal body guard, and a few other followers. From that point on, the Prince is faced with the task of creating an army and fighting the opposing forces in order to save the Queendom of Falena. During this journey, there are loads of plot twists that will keep you interested until the very end. Not to mention the 4 main endings (11 in total) that result from the way you played the game.
The main thing that sparked my interested from the word 'Go' is the battle system. In the past, Suikoden have basically stuck with the same mechanics, with a few tweaks in each installment. While this game stays true to the series, it adds a lot more depth and creativity. The formation system is a prime example of this. Instead of the 2x3 standard that appears in most other games, you now have the opportunity to choose from over 20 different formations, each with their own unique formation skill. This adds a whole new level of skill to the fights, although I must say that on a whole, the battles were very easy.
What's Suikoden without its large scale wars? It's simply not Suikoden. The essence of war is what makes the series so unique and enjoyable. This time around, the war battles have had a complete make over. Instead of turn-based, they are now real-time, meaning the units move giving you less time to think. It's hard to explain how exactly this works, but I can easily say it is far superior to the previous large scale war systems.
Duels are also back and are better than ever. Many people complained in the past that the duels were way to easy. Well, they're still easy but the element of time has been implemented. You now have three seconds to choose your move. Once the time is up, the enemy will attack and you'll do nothing. There were still a load of fun but I can't help wish that there were more of them.
The characters are certainly one of the strongest points. There are several returning characters from the previous games, such as Georg Prime, Killey, Lorelai, Jeane and Viki. Georg played such a small role in Suikoden 2, so it was great to see the effort they put into developing his character. And that doesn't just apply to him. Most of the characters are brilliantly constructed. This is great considering there are over 100 characters to recruit.
Unlike Suikoden Tactics, Suikoden V did a great job with the voice acting. Georg Prime lived up to my past expectations, which was good to see. Also, none of the characters voices annoyed me in the slightest, which is rare. FuwalaFuwala is just priceless.
The music was also pretty good. Some of the tracks were memorable and at most times, the sound track set the mood perfectly. The different battle themes made the battle music less irritating, which is needed considering the amount of times you get into a random encounter.
I'll stop here. As you can see, this game really highlights the strong points of Suikoden. As with every game, it's not without its flaws, but the strong points clearly make up for it. Weather a Suikoden fan or not, this game should definitely appeal to you. If you're looking for a great RPG, Suikoden V is the answer.
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