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Suikoden II takes place several years after the first game's revolution, a time when the evil Highland empire is terrorizing the innocent, burning their villages by the handful to satisfy the bloodlust of the maniacal Prince Luca Blight. You hop into the medieval-styled britches of an idealistic young imperial rebel who is out to right the wrongs of the world. To help you defeat the evil prince, you'll have a bit of ancient magic and an army of friends. Sound familiar? Suikoden II's story mirrors that of many other RPGs, but it adds a few twists all its own for good measure. While RPG purists were disappointed by the lack of development of the first game's myriad characters, Suikoden II focuses fairly heavily on character development, preventing party members from turning into mere power-up satellites. The game still retains the quest to collect the 108 stars of destiny from the first game, but many of the characters serve more use than, say, welcoming the player to Toran Castle. The game's sense of scope is impressive, encompassing a huge world war and letting players build and staff their own castle.
Basic gameplay is very similar to that of the first game - your party can hold up to six of the game's many characters, each of whom has his own attacks, spells, etc. One of the cooler features of Suikoden's battles was the unite ability, which let two or more characters combine forces for a super attack. Suikoden II emphasizes these one-two attacks, giving players more of an incentive to experiment with new characters. Unlike those of some RPGs, Suikoden II's random encounters are quick and relatively painless - load time from the overworld or dungeon is almost nonexistent, and characters usually attack all at once, preventing the game's battles from being too big of an annoyance when one simply wants to advance the story. Magic, gained from rune crystals found throughout the world and in stores, earns experience similar to Final Fantasy VII's materia system, opening up more spells as you advance. Suikoden II doesn't use magic points; instead, it gives you a set number of uses for each spell per outing, making it one of the least magic-intensive RPGs on the market, another welcome break from the current trend.
As was the case with its predecessor, it feels as though an international conflict just can't be fully realized in Suikoden II without some large-scale battles. Instead of the strategy-free battle scenarios of the original, Suikoden II adds an actual strategic element to the game's battles. The end result can easily be likened to the TurboGrafx-16's classic, Military Madness - you position your units on a map and tell them to attack enemy units, defend, or use magic. These scenarios are far more interesting than the almost instantly winnable scenarios in Suikoden, but they still don't amount to much more than filler minigames, and many victories and defeats are determined by the game's story alone. While it's a minor point, some players will think they're winning and but then be forced to withdraw because of some random story event.
Aesthetically, Suikoden II is a few notches above its predecessor. The graphics are displayed in a noticeably crisper resolution than its predecessor. The game's town and overworld are entirely 2D and sprite-driven, while the battle engine combines polygonal terrain and spell effects with 2D characters. Brief CG cutscenes are sprinkled throughout the game, as well, bringing a little more life to scenes that just wouldn't have carried the same impact with simple 2D spritery. Nice hand-drawn portraits are shown for all the game's notable characters, as well. Even though the overworld graphics are beyond bland, the overall effect is an appealing one. The game, despite increased graphical detail, has little to no load time to speak of once you're in the game, an always welcome bonus. Suikoden II's sound is on par with the original's, sporting well-instrumented RPG fare, occasionally flaunting a vocal twist. The game's sound effects are nice and crisp, containing actual digital samples instead of the screechy synth noises of even Square's most expensive endeavors. The game's translation fares far better than the first title's did, overall. However, the competent text was obviously rushed through proofreading, marring what would otherwise have been a perfect translation. Fortunately, other than the text, nothing has been localized for the US version - characters actually drink alcohol, not soup or coffee, as many characters were forced to drink due to the heavy-handed censors of the Nintendo era.
Fans of the first Suikoden game will love the sequel - it improves on everything that had made the first game memorable. Suikoden II brings nothing new to the genre, but it executes well enough that no one will really care. --Peter Bartholow
--Copyright ©1999 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. GameSpot and the GameSpot logo are trademarks of GameSpot Inc. -- GameSpot Review
Top Customer Reviews
Suikoden is just like Final Fantasy (My second favorite series) except better. It's easier to play, has more lovable characters, has a simpler battle system, a more exciting plot, and a lot more options about how to spend your time. In this game, you will sincerely grow attached to the characters - and when one dies, you will weep. (OK, only if you're as sentimental as I am.) There are lots of games within the game - like tossing dice or going fishing or entering cooking contests. You don't have to do that stuff, but if you think it's fun, it's there for the taking.
You can hurry through the game, just trying as hard as you can to win it, or you can choose to slow down and play around with the characters inside your castle. What you do will affect the ending.
The makers of Suikoden II took all of the annoying glitches out of fantasy roll playing games. If you run into a random encounter that's just way too easy for you at your level, you can put your characters on automatic, and just have them take care of it so that you don't have to have a boring battle. When you go in shops, all the items say right on them whether they're as good as what you already have. They've just made it easier so that you can spend more time having fun!
The Suikoden series is my favorite. I would buy a Playstation just so I could play this game. I think maybe some of the reviewers who call it "nothing special" should ask themselves why all of us regular people who play it think it's incredibly special!
Even though it didn't have anything extraordinary up its sleeve, it had every bare essentials that makes a classic RPG. The graphics, for example, may appear simple and not as impressive as some other games, its sheer charisma is more than enough to put anyone under the its spell.
However, what impressed me the most, as did its predecessor, was the intriguing storyline. Right off the start, the story takes off and draws the player into the world of friendship, loyalty, love, and of course, betrayal. I was so surprised at how it was able to draw me in so quickly and made me want to keep on going and see what twists and turns awaited for me. I won't even deny that I had to hold my breath on many occasions because it was so emotional and moving.
Another great thing about Suikoden 2 is the 108 characters. Despite the large number, they all have identifiable personalities and characteristics, making it lots of fun to play them all. It does take time to explore them all, but I highly recommend to do so.
This is a truly memorable RPG, and worthy successor to the original. Whether you've played the original or not, do not miss this game.
Join the main character, and Jowy for the ride of a lifetime which tells the tale of friendship and betrayel. Story twists around every corner, and a grand adventure only steps ahead. I dare anyone to play this game and not agree that this game is phenomenal. Abosolutely pleasent and fun in every single way. I can't find words to show my love for this game, but I'll leave you with this: Suikoden 2 is an instant classic. It's the perfect gift for any RPG Gamer on your list, and it's the perfect RPG of all time. Embrace yourself in it's story, characters and war, as you embark on the most incredible journey possible. I salute Konami.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
konami is the greatest video game company in the universe there true genius's the best of the best konami rocks,all the games konami made from the 80s,90s,2000s,2010s,2015 and 2016... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Ivan Orozco
This is a review of the overall main series of Suikoden. Which includes I, II, III, IV, and V (excluding Card Stories, Tactics, Tierkreis, Suikogaiden, and The Woven Web of A... Read morePublished 1 month ago by QR Winner
Love the game. I like all of the Suikoden series. But why would I pay such an outrageous price when I can download it from the PlayStation store for 10 dollars??Published 2 months ago by Terry Miles
Hands down one of the best entry of the series!! But if you don't want to spend over 100$ on a physical copy you can always download it on the playstation store for the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Merrick weiss
Its a great game but unless your a die hard suiko fan dont buy the physical copies for 100+ when you can buy it for 14.99 on the psn.Published 9 months ago by Armando Urivez
What more can be said? It improved on the first game in every way. Revisiting these classic games through ePSXe has been a joy. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Crank
The package came in just as promised and the condition of the game was just as advertised. To me, it was 200 dollars well spent.Published 12 months ago by Corey Harris
This game is so amazing! Everything from it's music and world and lore and plot and characters and locations and battles was just grade A perfection! Read morePublished 14 months ago by Saint Boot