PSLS Retrospective – Suikoden
Suikoden Tactics released a year after Suikoden IV and takes places both before and after the events in IV. The game also represents the series only fray into the Strategy genre. In the game you take the role of Kyril, a young man investigating the power of mysterious weapons called Rune Cannons.
With the switch to a strategy game, Tactics plays like most other games of the genre with little differences here and there. You move your characters on a grid based system, attacking and healing when it is your turn. The game allows each character to equip runes imbue terrain squares with various elements. Characters each have a particular element on which their attack and defence is boosted by a significant amount when they occupy a space with the corresponding element, and thus the reverse is true if the character occupies a square opposite of his element. The game also features support characters who do not actually fight in battle but provide various effects on the playing field such as healing, stealing, digging, and stat buffing.
You progress the game through battle after battle and also by talking with characters in towns or at your campsite. You can also recruit characters to join your battles, which usually requires a short sidequest to be completed first. During combat you can combine the power of characters using a Combination Attack system, which is used by building friendships with certain characters. There are over 80 controllable characters with each one being a unique character, which is a definate change of pace from most Tactical games where you have very set in stone modeled characters.
The combat is fun and provides enough to make it stand out a bit from the other Strat RPG’s, though the story and characters could really use more polish and depth. Suikoden has always been a series with heavy emphasis on story and character depth and those both take a dive at times with Tactics. The game plays well and even if you are not a fan of the series it is still a good game to spend some hours with. Though as we speak this is still the only Suikoden game that I have yet to finish as the story and characters got very bland at times and turned me off a bit. But I still enjoyed the combat and change of pace that it gave the series.
Opinions Around the Web
RPG Fan (90) – I wish the game had been a bit longer, but there is a new game+ option, and I didn’t manage to get everything the first time around, so there should be some good replay value in it for me.
PSM Magazine (70) – With fantastic voice acting, a gripping story, and luscious graphics, Suidoden Tactics is a nearly flawless hybridization of tactical and RPG gameplay.
GameSpot (74) – It doesn’t really matter if you’ve played other games like it before, because Suikoden Tactics is easy to get into and challenging enough to be enjoyable to veterans and newcomers alike.