Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Down The Memory Lane: Suikoden II

Assalamualaikum / Peace be Upon You


As promised, this time I would write a review about Suikoden II, my favorite installation of the Suikoden series. I'm not going to talk about the game mechanics in-depth such as the normal battles, army battles and the duels which are basically the same thing as the previous installment. You can refer to this one Down The Memory Lane: Suikoden I. Nope, this time I'm gonna talk about how awesome this game is and maybe talks about some of its flaws.

The game sets in another region, City-State of Jowston, which is to the east of the Scarlet Moon Empire (Which now know as Toran Republic). The story  begins with the hero, which is mute and also you can name him by your bidding (Default name is Riou) and his childhood friend Jowy Atreides who survived from being slaughtered along with their unit which were set up by Luca Blight, the crown prince of Highland, and Captain Rowd, the Hero’s commanding officer. Later on, they come into contact with the two characters from the first game, Viktor and Flik who took them as mercenaries to their group. Eventually the two friends managed to get back to their hometown and the hero were reunited with his adopted sister, Nanami but only to find they were falsely accused of the slaughtering (by non other than Rowd) and being spies against highland and were about to be executed until were saved by none other than Viktor and Flik.

As the story progress, the two friends were be given half of the Rune of Beginning, the hero is given the Bright Shield Rune, and Jowy the Black Sword Rune. Like the previous hero, the hero come to a realization that he must follow his destiny as the Tenkai Star to lead the people to stop Luca's mad ambition. But wait, there is a plot twist. Apparently later on in the game, Jowy betrayed his best friend for some lame reason that I couldn't remember. It's either to stop Luca from the inside or simply to become a dick that rule the Highland Kingdom.

Like his predecessor, this hero doesn't use swords as weapon. Instead, he uses tonfas. You know, that two wooden things that you held in both of your arms. Anyway, the same as the previous game, you have to recruit the 108 Stars of Destiny and again if you want the True Ending, you MUST recruit them all. But wait, apparently some characters from the previous games do make a comeback other than Viktor and Flik such as, Hix and Tengaar, Clive (Hell Yeah!), Kasumi or Valeria (You have to choose one of them when you form an alliance with Toran Republic later on), Viki and Jeane (Every freakin' game), Pesmerga (Boo yah!), Humphrey and Futch, and many others including the useless Stallion and the douchebag Sheena. Wait, there's more. The protagonist of the original Suikoden can be recruited by the hero if you have the completed save file from the previous game. That's why I played the first game first. Trust me, it's worth it. The Double Leaders Unite Attack is so strong.
Riou: The wielder of the Bright Shield Rune
Technically, what I like about this game is not only the storyline (Some even claimed it to be repetitive of the previous game, like Final Fantasy is no different) but also the mini games (YAY!). I mean seriously, I love the mini games, especially the cooking mini games. Once you recruited a chef name Hai Yo, you can access this mini game. This mini game occurs randomly (if I'm not mistaken) where you must enter the restaurant and an opponent chef will come to duel Hai Yo and you as the lord of the castle must assist him.

The Cook Off: The player must select dishes that will please the judges

What I like about this cooking game is that the game system allows you to choose menus of dishes that you had obtained through your journey to please the selected judges which are four people selected randomly from the 108 Stars of Destiny. Each characters has their own food preferences, like what I could remember that Georg like cheesecakes.
The easy way of making money in this game

The next favorite mini game would be the gambling mini game. I like this mini game because you can make a lot of money with it. Seriously, once you know how the game works, it is easy for you to predict what numbers will come up next. It's about on how you guess either the numbers will come up odds or even. You will be able to access this mini game once you recruited Tai Ho.

Other than the mini games, what interest me in this game are the investigations and the bath scenes.

Richmond: The private eye that can investigate anything. Well.. Almost anything.
This is the most useful thing inside the game. The previous game only have a gossiper which tells you which character can be recruited. But with this, you will know exactly what character that you can recruit. Once you recruited Richmond, you will be able to know every details of the characters in your Star of Destiny and how to gain companions with a little bit of spending your money. But it is worth it, you will know a lot regarding on your favorite characters' background. This thing soon catches on in the next games.

The Open Air Baths: It's odd that the point of an open-air bath would be the view, but everyone's facing the other way. 
Suikoden I did have a bath in it but it didn't have bath scenes. This time, with several selected characters you can actually produce a special scenes. For an example, if you put the hero, Viktor and Flik together, they will produce a special scene where they wash each other backs while talking with each other. Sometimes, these scenes will reveal certain characters' background.
Bromance between Riou, Viktor and Flik

Also in this game, there is a side-quest which involve Clive, the mysterious gunman who is in pursuit of his lover, Elza who betrayed the Howling Voice Guild. In this game you finally will know why he had been pursuing this mysterious woman called Elza. Through some event that you have to meet a requirement in the game, he will finally have his quest to an end before the final battle. 
Clive kills Elza in a gun duel where she rigged her own gun
Do take note that if you were unable to do this side-quest, at the end of the game Clive will still continues on searching for Elza instead of returning to the Howling Voice Guild and become the next leader and reconstruct it wholly. Also in this game, Viktor journey will come to an end as he finally destroy Neclord (for good) with the aid of the Star Dragon Sword. It's kinda sad seeing Viktor's past despite his vulgar attitude. The journey of Humphrey and Futch in search of Futch's new dragon after his last dragon, Black died will also comes to an end when they meet a newborn dragon and named him, Bright.

The other thing that I love about this game is, the villain is totally badass. Well... Up until the half of the game that is. Unlike most RPG villains, Luca Blight is evil to the core. Even some of the events where he slaughtered everyone still gave me nightmares.

Luca Blight: The embodiment of the Devil himself
Like its predecessor, Suikoden II also suffers from too many characters dilemma with some of the other players. The game is also can be considered too long by others (I thought that was the whole reason why people play RPG?). And sometimes the plot do seems too predictable and somewhat damn confusing. Not to mention the castle is too damn confusing at the first glance. And apparently you can't recruit a certain character without a certain character that you had to choose which is you can't recruit if you haven't fulfilled certain requirements. For example, in order to recruit Anita, you either must have Valeria in your party or you must finish her requests, which in a way quite a hassle.

The last thing that I hated in this game is the characteristic of Nanami, she's just too damn annoying.

The same thing in every goddamn morning
Overall, this game is something that I can consider a masterpiece despite a few setbacks in it. The army battles had been improved and turned into a tactical strategy battle where you can select people to put in a certain group. The duels still remain the same. Personally, this game have several improvements in it. I would highly recommend it to people. Please make sure you have the data from the first game in order to recruit Tir McDohl.

I kinda like this version of army battle
Again, if people asked me which characters do I like in this game, some of the answers will still remain the same.

Flik: He returns as the legendary warrior, The Blue Lightning
Viktor: Returns with Flik. This time he is known as Viktor the Bear

Clive: The lone gunman returns in the final pursuit of Elza

Kasumi: The kunoichi returns. This time as a representative from Toran Republic. Still waiting for the return of Tir McDohl

Pesmerga: One tough mystery to crack. His pursuit of Yuber still continues
Richmond: The most useful character outside battle. His investigation skills are legendary
Georg Prime: A mysterious swordsman who seems to love cheesecake. His background story is told in Suikoden V. His attack is more stronger than Viktor

I think that is all I can say about this game. I've heard there is a PSP game that have Suikoden I & II in it. Apparently it was only released in Japan and Konami didn't make any plans to release it to other regions. Hopefully they would soon or someone can translate the game and put a patch. I don't know, I seriously doesn't know much about game system. I only enjoy playing 'em. Seriously, would love to play this game again.


P.S.: I would like to state again that I took some of the information and pictures from Suiko Source, Suikoden Wikia, Wikipedia, and Game Design Reviews

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