PSLS Retrospective – Suikoden
Suikoden V right now is the last console release for the series, hitting store shelves on March 21st, 2006. The series saw a return to its roots with the release of V as many of the series staples return.
This game takes place in the Queendom of Falena, portraying the events of the region which is set 8 years before the original Suikoden and 142 years after the events in Suikoden IV. The plot again follows along the usual lines for a Suikoden game as you play the Prince of Falena who has narrowly escaped an attack on the throne and has fled. He know must gather forces to try and win back his home while defending the people of the land.
The battle system restructures itself and returns to the 6 party combat system of past. Each character in the party is invididually controlled and like the III game each character can level up skills such as stamina, though only two skills can be assigned at anytime per character. Parties can be setup in different formations and these formations can increase stats like Attack and defend but can also decrease certain stats. You aquire different formations through the course of the game. Like in previous games you can link characters together to perform special cooperative attacks that deal massive damage. You can also maintain four spare characters at any time in your party and while these characters do not participate in battle they do provide bonuses such as healing after battle. Runes also make an appearance as characters can equip them to use magic and as you level up your runes you can access to more magic and more uses per spell.
The war battles from previous Suikodens makes a return but with some tweaks thrown in there. These battles are no longer played on a grid, instead being continuous. Both land and naval battles occur in the game with some battles incorporating both. The system again uses the Rock, Paper, Scissors formula where on land calvary bests infantry, infantry bests archers and archers defeat calvary. On the sea ram ships defeat archer ships, infantry defeat ram, and archer defeats infantry. A few special units exist as well in beaver units and dragon cavalry units, which can travel on both sea and land.
The game also marks the return of the 108 Stars of Destiny with some characters joining you automatically, but most are required to be recruited. The game also has appearances by many characters from the other Suikodens such as Viki, Jeane and Leknaat who to date have appeared in every Suikoden game. The game did not do well on the sales front but that was not for a lack of effort as Suikoden V is considered by many to be the best game in the series. It contains a very strong story and solid character depth.
Opinions Around the Web
RPG Fan (95) – The game is sure to be a classic with many Suikoden fans, especially those like myself who felt disappointment with how III and IV turned out.
1UP (80) – A welcome return to form for the series. Even the plot revolves around minor characters from “Suikoden II,” and the loading screens show the game’s characters as they would have been rendered in a 32-bit sprite style, as if Konami is apologizing for the turns taken after that era.
IGN (82) – The storyline and level of characterization definitely saves the whole package, while the search for 108 Stars of Destiny, assorted mini-games, and return to old-school combat isn’t without its fun.