Suikoden 2
"........." - Probably the most overused line in Suikoden 2

Story (or at least what I can recall of it): The City-State of Jowston and Highland have signed a peace treaty after a long war, but Highland attacks the Unicorn Brigade of Jowston the night after it has been signed. Two close friends, the protagonist and his best friend Joei (or Jowy, depending on your version) are from this brigade and they escape by jumping down a waterfall. From there, the story kicks off into a whole load of stuff.


Believe me when I say I've never played Suikoden 1. It's horribly hard to find it nowadays. Therefore, I write from a different perspective; which would be unfortunate for some of the readers.

Graphics: The graphics are nothing new or revolutionary; I've heard that it resembles Suikoden's 1. However I am quite impressed at the magic effects in battle. Some of the rune magic have their own short FMVs, which make the effects look nice. They are short too, which doesn't make it a chore to use them.

Despite having a top-down perspective, I don't have any problems with it but I *do* have a problem with the characters jumping - nay, BOUNCING up and down on the screen whenever they are cheering. That is the most distracting thing I have ever seen since Wild Arms'  huge heads and tiny bodies. It makes them look silly.

Sound: Some of the music is nice. The music that accompanies the opening FMV and the ending credits are among the best I've heard.

As for the music in between....

The music in Muse was one of *the most annoying* music I had ever heard. I had to mute the volume to retain my sanity. Thankfully the world map's theme was nice, otherwise I would've been horridly frightened to even venture out.

Game play: It's a traditional RPG, you don't really expect responsive controls and things like that. I did like the runes for magic and the 6 people in one go. It's a pleasing thing to see 6 people smash through hordes of helpless enemies, especially since the enemy encounter can range between moderate and high. Plus, they don't take turns. They all attack at the same time, which would be considered realistic to some. Certain characters can combine their attacks, which I liked seeing the animation, especially the hero's and his sister Nanami's combination attack. In case you don't understand, I'll explain. Occasionally, Nanami *doesn't* attack, and she'll cheer on the hero, sit down, drink tea, read manga, laugh while reading the manga, you get the point.

I didn't like the use of money in the game, though. 'Potch' is a really ridiculous name for currency (I can see why most RPG currencies start with the letter 'G'), and you require a lot of money if you're the kind who believes in upgrading everyone's weapons, like me. I liked the idea of my own castle, I liked most of the mini games.

And of course, there's the massive battle and duels. Most of the battles were story battles, so you usually won. The duels were something I liked, though. You decipher your opponent's dialogue and attack accordingly or defend. I was good at this. <Beam>

Story: Certain portions of the story had grammatical errors. And with 108 characters, I'm surprised they managed to stuff some semblance of character development into every one. Some of the characters come from Suikoden 1, which reduces the task of memorizing 108 names. The hero of the story doesn't have his own dialogue and you have to choose his dialogue. I guess this is supposed to give you the feeling of 'being' the hero or something.

The story also has 3 endings, which I saw and liked all. They completed the whole thing, and at least told us about what happened to each and every one of your 108 characters.

One nitpick, though.

The blatant overuse of ".........." in almost EACH and EVERY conversation makes me wonder if there was supposed to be any  text in any part of the game that they couldn't translate and then replaced it with all the "...." . I mean, one of the 108 characters' dialogue consisted of nothing but ".........".

Everything else: Certain parts of the game hung for no apparent reason. Maybe it was the gameshark's fault, maybe it was the CD's fault, but I've read another review which had the same problem and I know it's not the hardware's fault. A lot of weird bugs here and there. There was one piece of dialogue with a random person which said nothing but gibberish. On a happier note, the translation and coherency was not as bad as Final Fantasy Tactics (which had a great story but lousy translation).

You also have the option of loading Suikoden 1's save game to recruit the Hero from there. Interesting, but since I can't find Suikoden 1 and my dad doesn't want to play another Suikoden, I guess I won't be able to do that. There's also a time challenge, in which you have to try to recruit all 108 characters and finish 90% of the events under 20 hours. I've yet to try that. Recruit the proper characters, and you have the opportunity to change your window and sound settings!

You know, I think they could've made tons of money making Suikoden 2 action figures. It'll be like Pokemon's catch phrase, "Gotta recruit them all!" or something.

Verdict: I recommend it. It takes some time to recruit all 108 of them, the story is nice and with so many characters abound, you can bet there's also a handful of *really* bishounen characters (Klaus, sigh....). Heck, even the hero is rather cute! ^^;;
Either way, if you've played everything already, go ahead and get it. If you haven't played everything yet, get it anyway. It's a good game to nitpick at.


Grade: B

+ The opening FMV and its music.
+ The bishounen, the BISHOUNEN! ^_^;;;
+ Graphics rather pleasing.
+ Character development.
+ Unique battle system, variety in battles.
+ Mini games.
+ Character portraits.
+ Very complete ending.
+ BISHOUNEN!

- Characters bouncing up and down on the screen.
- The overuse of ".........."
- Bugs. Game bugs.
- Joei/Jowy is a rip-off of FFT's Delita Hyral!
- Certain music tracks are terrible.
- Pixelly-looking when close up (who was the idiot who did the close-ups?).
- The stupid battle with Lucca Blight halfway in the game who was next to impossible to beat.


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