Suikoden THREEE! Yes, The third installment in the 27 True Runes Saga. With your brain, ask these questions: Does it live up to the prequels? Will Flik make an appearance? Save us McDohl! OH NO FINAL FLAEM
It comes as no surprise that there is/was a sequel to Suikoden II. All sorts of craziness lept over to the third installment of this grand series. Of course, by "grand" I mean huge. Maybe not so huge here in the states, but ovar there in Japayunn, they likes the 108 characters and junk.
Of course, what's not to like? I'll tell you! YOU!
Suikoden III takes place about 15 or so years after the events in Suikoden II. This time, however, it's in a distant land from Suikoden II's countries. This particular land is split up amongst different clans: The Zexen Federation (composed of Knights and bureaucracies), the Karaya Clan (kinda similar to the Native Amercians here in the USA!), the Alma Kinan tribe (I think - they're forest chicks!), and the Lizard Clan (containing big mean lizard peoples!). These clans are almost always teeming on the edge of war.
The Flame Champion, who bore the True Fire Rune 50 years prior to current conflicts, led the people of the Grasslands (Zexen, Alma Kinan, Karayans, and those Lizards) to victory over Holy Harmonia. They established a peace agreement to avoid further conflict.
Of course, a few events transpire to place that final straw on the camel's back, and all hell breaks loose.
The first two Suikoden games contained one main protragonist that rose from the ashes to lead his people to victory over the evil opposition. This time, however, there are 3 main protagonists, and throughout the course of the game, you determine which one will become your super-death-person. It's tough to decide though, since each of those characters are equally qualified to take up the position.
To compare Suikoden III with it's prequels isn't so easy, because so much has changed.
The move to 3D models and junk certainly didn't help, but it didn't hurt too badly. If you're played the first two games prior to starting Suikoden III, you'll automatically notice how inferior it feels in comparision. The character models are stiff and boring - they all seem to use the exact same running animation. Some of the textures on the models aren't so bad, but if you were to compare it to, say, Final Fantasy X - well, just hang yer head in shame.
The music is INCREDIBLY bland. It feels like the music composer(s) took a few steps back with the tunes. The music isn't nearly as crisp and agressive as the first two games. What's worse, the music fades out during cutscenes and other special situations (for instance, during a strategy battle). I don't know what happened, but the PS2 hardware should be able to handle better MIDI patches and stuff - I wonder what happened?
Moving around in the Suikoden III world is jerky and awkward. The camera does strange things as you're traveling from place to place. Many times when you transition screens, you could end up walking backwards into the prior screen since the camera angle literally flips around. If there's too many characters on the screen, the framerate drops like a diseased llama sandwich.
Probably the most frustrating change in this game is the new battle system. For SOME reason, the creators of the game decided it'd be swell to change the 6 character battle system to a "3 pairs of characters" sytem.
Still sounds like 6 characters, right? Wrong. Even though it appears that there are six characters in your party, in reality it's down to 3. For instance, if you cast a spell with one of your characters in a pair, the other one in that pair will randomly attack an enemy. You no longer have full control over every character as you did in the previous two games. I suppose the creators thought that dishing out 6 commands a turn was tedious.
NO! It's NOT! STUPID! That's what the great "auto-battle" command is for. Giving out 6 commands per turn is a blessing when you're fighting a nasty boss. Though you do get used to the annoying character pair system, it still sucks.
A plus AND a minus would be the extremely kick-ass-destroy-warld anime intro. I could watch the intro a thousand times, just like the previous two Suikoden games. However, that's all the anime you'll get. Just the intro. Yep. Tough luck.
Though the game has many, many faults, there are a few redeeming factors that might make you want to play it all the way through.
The strategy battles make a comeback, however this time it's a little better than those prequels. Now, your troops aren't a bunch of little screaming pixelated bodies, they're your own characters you put in formation. It's very cool. Once you engage the enemy, you can choose to either to fight or run. If you've got some magic users, they'll randomly cast spells on the enemy. Sometimes, they'll destroy them with KILL SPELLS - BIG ONES. It's niftay! Definately an improvement.
The single bestest part of the whole game are the characters. Each character of the 108 stars of destiny have their own unique personality. You can't help but remember every face as you recuit them, fight with them, and watch them interact with other characters. There are also many humorous moments as well and dramatic ones.
I personally think the small tie-ins with the previous games make the characters shine. Such as Lucia. She fought alongside Luca Blight in Suikoden II as the enemy, and now she's the mother of Hugo (one of your main characters). Tuta, the big eyed kid that assisted that doctor guy in Suikoden II is all grown up now, helping people in this game. Stuff like that makes you want to keep playing to see if there will be more tie-ins and stuff. Brilliant.
So yeah... this game knows. Mostly. Well, parts of it. You probably won't wanna play it if you haven't played the first two. But yeah... it are happy. HAPPY!
|Gameplay||Plays like a game.||3|
|Graphics||The anime intro ruled. The rest... was there.||2.5|
|Music/Sound||A couple tunes were good, the rest was boring.||2.5|
|Replay Value||Eeeeh... it was a chore to finish. :(||2|
|Originality||Not many games have 108 characters. Original, realistic ones.||4|
|Final Verdict: 2.8|