have to pay your dues before you can truly experience
the essence of Suikoden V.
by Cass Andrusiak
28, 2006 -
No, that doesn't mean you have to play the first four
games in the series. What I mean by "paying your
dues" is that you have to suffer through hours
and hours of incredible tedium before you really get
down to business in the game. It's like an archeological
dig in the desert. You have to clear away a lot of
sand before you get to the treasure. Some gamers may
feel that the preamble is not worth the payoff but
for those that stick it out, they will be rewarded
with deep gameplay and a complex but dynamic storyline.
beginning of the game is used to "set up"
the storyline and get you involved with the characters
which have genuine personalities. These are not your
typical RPG stereotypes. They have emotions, problems
and agendas of their own. They are noble and brutal;
strong and weak. The plot twists are well executed.
You can't even see them coming.
back to its roots, Suikoden V, now features a six-character
party instead of three. You add your characters one
at a time so that you have plenty of time to acquaint
yourself with their stories, powers and personalities.
The main character is a prince (that you get to name
yourself), whose kingdom is in danger of being taken
over, (what else is new?).
is lots of exploring in this game. The areas are too
big in some places. There are towns and castles that
can take up to an hour to fully explore - and you
may not even manage to find anything interesting.
It's not until a good 10 hours or so into the game
before you get into your first lucrative dungeon crawl.
can expect to feel a lot of anxiety as you attempt
to lead your party, because you don't really know
where you're going. Fortunately some of the characters
do have an idea where they're going and you can ask
them to give you some assistance. It doesn't help
the slow pace of the game that there are load times
for just about every move you make. They range from
a couple of seconds to a damn eternity - especially
when you get into a fight.
battles are more of a nuisance than anything else
at the outset of the game. You can just set the interface
on auto-pilot and not worry. But later on these battles
can really inflict some serious damage on you and
your party. The six-person party gives you more options
during combat. You can group the members into different
formations and combine formerly incompatible classes
for superior strength and flexibility. You can unleash
special cooperative attacks that have some really
cool animations. They do tend to get repetitive since
there is a lot of random fighting so you'll always
want to be on the lookout for new techniques to acquire.
have to conserve some of your energy when fighting
the bigger monsters since you can't always go back
to the town to replenish your monster-killing powers.
The enemies include monsters, dragons, man-eating
plants, wolves and bandits. Killing them results in
receiving money and experience and skill points, which
are used to keep your party members alive and prepared
for the next encounter as you feed them and upgrade
their weapons, skills, armor and magic.
of the dialog spoken by the prince is controlled by
you, based on the selections that you make. One really
becomes immersed in the character. When preparing
for war you consult with your party members and advisors.
You will assign them various military positions as
commanders. In the relative safety of your war room
located deep inside abandoned and captured castles,
a strategist will consult with you on which military
strategies to employ. These battles are epic in the
true sense of the word, engaging thousands on the
battlefield in real-time.
wars play out on land and on sea in a rock/paper/scissors
fashion. For example infantry is stronger than archers,
archers are stronger than cavalry, and cavalry are
stronger than infantry. Choose your units, assign
your orders as to where to move and what to attack,
and watch the fireworks.
the prince will be forced into some one-on-one battles
to prove his worthiness and a leader and warrior.
It's plays out virtually the same as the army battles.
You only have three choices: Attack; guard, and Special
Attack. Some hints will be given by the enemy as to
what they are likely to employ in battle so pay attention
and you'll likely clean up. You need to defeat these
key enemies in order to progress. The combat animation
is exciting to watch as the prince displays extraordinary
marital arts moves aided by his trusty tri-staff.
the gameplay is slow to get up to speed, we mustn't
overlook the cast of characters that are given so
much time to develop. There are hundreds of them out
there. Some are likeable and some are annoying, while
others are actually useful for your cause due to their
powers or affiliation with other characters. It's
these relationships that allow you to combine powers
for cooperative attacks. It's really something to
see how some of these characters vie for your attention,
such as the gals that are obviously smitten with you.
It's also very interesting to see how the characters
fill up the environments such as the castles and villages
that you inhabit along your journey. It seems very
organic the way they flock to your presence and slowly
become a society.
V is not an amazing looking game. It has a simple
anime-style to it that suggests that less is more.
That's a good philosophy - to explain away the lack
of detail. The characters tend to look cliché
whereas their personalities are anything but. The
voiceovers are decent but they don't venture into
the Oscar-caliber neighborhood.
multiple endings, different paths to choose, hundreds
of characters and lots of environments to explore,
Suikoden V, can take its place at the top shelf among
classic PS2 RPGs.
Suikoden storyline ever with fully voiced-over cut
scenes, multiple endings, storyline branches and
unimaginable plot twists
the 108 Stars of Destiny to build up and customize
a home base
Formation System allows for more than 20 strategic
formations in battle
6 member parties into battle with over 60 playable
characters for millions of party combinations
map battles with hundreds of troops in huge army
customize your characters with a new skill system,
weapon enhancement system and hundreds of unique