Friday, November 10, 2006

Suikoden V mini-review

After the huge disappointment that was Suikoden IV, was there any way Konami could ever claw their way back in providing RPG goodness? Suikoden V is similar to Suikoden III in that is a good RPG game, but isn't a great one.

You play as the nameless Hero the Prince of Falena and son to the big boobed Queen Arshtat. The hero is an effeminate character, so expect to be confused for some time. Two years ago a town who was once thought to be most loyal to the Queendom of Falena revolted and rejected the Queen's rule. This despite the peace brought by the Queen whose rule over the legendary Sun Rune gives her power. The Queen orders you, the hero, to investigate the reason and the aftermath of the revolt. And so his and his friends adventures begins. Within the story lies tales of deceit and power struggle as the prince has to navigate through politics and feuding families to solve the nations problems.

Suikoden V has a standard RPG battle system, in that battles are turn based and menu driven. Up to six in a party can join a battle at any one time, an improvement over the much derided four party system used in Suikoden IV. Recruitment features heavily in the game as the prince is able to recruit 108 stars of destiny to help with his quest. It isn't mandatory to finish the game with all 108 recruitable characters.

The worst thing about Suikoden V is how badly the visuals has aged. With titles like Final Fantasy XII you can't help but feel disappointed by the archaic look of the title which at times feel like an early PS2 title or worse, a Dreamcast. While cutscenes are a joy, the isometric visuals used for exploration is dated and is easily surpassed by even Suikoden III. But let that not fool you as the storyline makes up for the graphical setback.

Despite some flaws, Suikoden V is a great game. It isn't a classic and therefore probably would not be hailed in the same breath as Suikoden II and III, but it marks a return to form for Konami's flagship RPG franchise.


NTSC owners can buy from Play-Asia where as PAL PS2 gamers should buy from Amazon UK

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