HomeVideo GamesRemembering the Classics: 2015 Highlights

Remembering the Classics: 2015 Highlights

Suikoden Bookends


This series has been on my radar since I first played Suikoden III back in 2002. Konami’s baffling business decisions have led to a lot of the industry’s biggest casualties, but the disbandment of the Suikoden team is one that upsets me the most. This series has such incredible potential, and in the right hands, it could be a best-seller. Instead it’s a fan favorite among far too small of a crowd. Over the past year, I scratched a major itch and dove pretty heavily into the series: I replayed Suikoden (1995), Suikoden V (2006), and Suikoden Tierkreis (2008). The latter two are the last official releases North America ever saw. The former, of course, started it all.Suikoden_packaging01

Up until this year, Suikoden V was the only release where I didn’t get all 108 Stars of Destiny in my first playthrough many years ago. This second time around changed that, and it quickly turned the game into my personal favorite. V was an incredible balance of what made the PlayStation games so great while giving it an enhanced feel seen in the PlayStation 2 versions. V was such a richly detailed story filled with political conflict mired in war. When I finally ended the fight as the undisputed victor, my mind was swimming at what Konami could have done with this series in the next generation. This final, home console game was peak excellence, and it’s a shame nothing else came from it.

After fully completing Suikoden V, the urge to go back to the start was too strong, so I immediately grabbed Suikoden for playthrough #2. The similarities between the first and the last are many, but one thing I did notice this time around was how quickly Suikoden moved. It’s a startlingly short game, and the time between your character being the son of great general to the rebellion’s leader is crazy brief. This is in stark contrast to V which required many hours of gameplay before you’re finally on your own, which actually felt a bit more natural. Characters in Suikoden were quick to follow the protagonist more because they believed it was their destiny and less because they felt a personal stake. Also, many of the Stars of Destiny don’t do anything more than exist, something future games definitely fixed.Suikoden_Tierkreis

Suikoden Tierkreis was a random outlier in all this. I didn’t intend to replay the game, but after besting both the original and V, the decision to give this one a second go through randomly popped up. Of course, this lead to me getting sucked into the story once again, and it quickly took up my free time. Tierkreis is great because it’s a separate spin-off from every other game and showed the endless potential this series had of exploring new boundaries. Perhaps if Suikoden were to ever return, giving it one-off experiences like this will work out best.

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