Suikoden V Preview

With Suikoden V on the horizon, it’s time to recap and preview the critically acclaimed RPG series. Defined by its unique style, wonderful dialogue, and highly praised tactical battle system, this series has been a little under the radar (especially in the US), but a match for all but the best games on the market.

Suikoden is Konami’s answer to Final Fantasy. The storylines are mired in Chinese legend, with mythological beasts as enemies and countless heroes to be acquired. Suikoden’s style is very anime, with beautiful cinematics and high-arcing storylines.

All five games in the series revolve around the Daoist principle of the 108 Stars of Destiny (interesting tidbit – SUIKODEN is a translation of the title of Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan, the classic book written during the 13th century). In all games in the series, there are 108 characters available to join your party. The main goal is to bring all of them together in order for some miraculous event to occur.

Suikoden V continues the tradition with fantastic visual flair. Its art is a mature cel-shading with marvelous animation (the 10 minute trailer is a stylistic treat to behold). This could quickly become not only your favorite RPG, but your favorite anime. As with previous games, likely a fair chunk of time will be spent watching (with all hope less time than the horrendous waits Xenosaga put us through), however Suikoden V’s FMV look so expertly done you’ll want to watch the videos in their entirety.

The voice acting is top notch (although only in Japanese at this point), which, after the flop of Suikoden IV, is very welcome and a much-needed improvement on Konami’s part. The music score will not make you forget Uematsu-san, or make its way into your CD collection (barring those fanatics amoung us), but it does get the job done. Rather than attempting to be over the top, the soundtrack instead keeps the mood of the moment.

Traditionally, Suikoden’s battle system was delegated into three-two man groups to be used strategically. Suikoden IV broke the trend by dividing into TWO two-man groups and, like the rest of that game, was unsuccessful. V adapts the system, and smartly so, by allowing the three groups to be of varying sizes. It remains a six man maximum, but reportedly your team could consist of any three-team combination. This creativity and strategic flexibility should result in a more absorbing battle system, rife with fresh in-battle options.

Magic will still be handled by the Rune system, wherein a player must equip runes to be able to utilize that rune’s magic (i.e. equipping a Flame rune will lend use to a couple of Fire-based spells). Historically in the series, runes are slightly hit or miss, but micro-managing the proper rune selection is more for a bonus aid than and absolute necessity for all but the hardest battles.

Konami’s traditional expert handling of this franchise (Suikoden IV the glaring exclusion from excellence) should produce another winner when this game comes to North America. February 23rd is the announced Japanese release date, with the US and Canadian release informally placed on a tentative March 1st timeline.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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