07/6- 12:00PM EST
I hope you enjoy some Suikoden talk,
this week! In other news, Nights is
consoles and PC, so I'm hoping this will start a
trend, and Sega will port more Saturn games. It may be a foolish dream,
but I sure would love to see something like Panzer Dragoon Saga made available
for all to play. Anyway, on to the letters!
By now you know I am also a very big fan of Suikoden, so I would like to offer
my point of view to Ian W. as well.
I'd be glad to
hear your opinions, and I'm sure Ian would enjoy them as well. Let's
see what you've got!
I agree with him on Suikoden III.
LOT of hoops to get
the game to work on my PS2, and when I finally got it to work, for some
reason I couldn’t get into it.
Sadly that is
one of the dangers of importing that I've experienced myself, though
thankfully it did not involve all the hoops that I'm sure you had to go
through. I imported Tales of the
Tempest to get a Tales
game to play on the go. It turned out to be quite a terrible game! Oh
well, importing 7th Dragon worked
getting a bit off track. Anyway, I wonder
if just the great expectations from importing it created an unrealistic
image of the game. Then again, perhaps it's just not for everyone?
Actually, I do know the reason. At first I was very, very intrigued by
the game. Especially Hugo’s story was awesome, but then you run into
this gymnast dude… If I ever go back to Suikoden 3, I am not even going to
recruit the guy. All in all the experience was enjoyable though.
Actually, I am getting rather excited now!
Well that's good
to hear that you still enjoyed it despite some hangups. What was the
name of this gymnast dude? I need to avoid this person when I finally
get around to playing the game.
But then onto Suikoden IV.
Dear Ian W., do not let anyone tell you not to enjoy Suikoden IV. I personally felt it
was a truly great game. Yes, exploration of the open seas was a bit
strange and at times rather boring, but the story was amazing, and the
game perfectly captured the ambiance of Mediterranean seafaring and all
that, especially with the music. The fact that it took place in a very
different time-frame and very different area from the first three games
made it so that I wasn’t really put off by the fact that it was a very
different game and a very different story. It still felt like a Suikoden game, just at a different
time and place. Best of all, once you are done enjoying Suikoden IV (and you will, with the
right mindset), you can then play Suikoden Tactics and a lot of things
that weren’t explained in Suikoden IV
will be explained there. Also, some characters will get more screen
time than they did in Suikoden
IV, so you
get to know them a bit better too. All in all, those two games are
great games in their own rights. Don’t let bad reviews discourage you
in with their thoughts as
to why they enjoyed Suikoden IV.
good deal from the rest of the series,
and that must have turned a lot of people off. Still, I remember lots
of complaints of technical issues, and complaints about the main
character and story in general. Regardless, it seems that this is the
kind of game people should at least try, and not base their opinion
solely on reviews. Good to hear Suikoden
Tactics continues the story of IV,
you run into any technical issues?
then... Many feel it returns to what makes Suikoden great, and I agree. It has
the vibe. Yet, to be quite honest, I personally enjoyed Suikoden IV more. Goes to show,
huh? I guess it is all a matter of taste.
I suppose it is,
since I thought V was the
closest the series has gotten to the glory of Suikoden II...
That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy Suikoden
V. I did, very much so. I will have to be very honest with you
guys, I never got to finish Suikoden
II. I know, it’s terrible… But at least I did finish Suikoden I (with all 108 Stars), Suikoden IV, Tactics and Suikoden V, so I do get SOME
credit… Oh, and I helped a bit on translating Gaiden, but that’s a whole
different story. Anyways, I digress… Suikoden
V is a very engrossing game, and it has one of the characters
from Suikoden II in it, which
is awesome. I forgot his name, it’s been a very long time since I
played, but it’s an amazing story.
Oh my, you never
finished Suikoden II? This is
something you really need to fix at your earliest convenience. That
game is simply amazing. The fact that you greatly enjoyed Suikoden V tells me that you should
finish Suikoden II. Of course
I know that's not exactly a cheap thing to do. Anyway, what's with the
tease about translating Gaiden?
And then the handheld Suikodens…
games. They just aren’t. I can’t for the life of me understand why they
decided to give them the Suikoden name.
hardcore following, so it’s not like slapping the name on would give
them a million extra sales, and it has nothing to do with the main
storyline. NOTHING! I am sure that the games could be enjoyable, but I
cannot shake off the fact that they are called Suikoden, but are completely
different things. So I won’t touch them. Besides, it didn’t help that
the main character from Tierkreis
is officially the most obnoxiously annoying character in the history of
RPGs. I am sure the voice actor did his best and it was probably also a
matter of cartridge space, but… I wish it had the option of removing
the voice acting. It didn't do the game any good.
I can't really
argue with the annoying main character in Tierkreis. I will say that it is a
fine little game on its own merits. Still, you're right, Suikoden doesn't have a huge
following, so why put the name on a game that has little to do with the
rest of the series? I know there's some kind of slim link to the main
series, so why not more firmly develop that? Why not include all the
gameplay variations that Suikoden
is known for? It just feels like a completely wasted opportunity. It's
not like sales of the series had completely fallen off the table. Oh
well, we can only hope that Konami sees the error of this approach.
Anyhoo, I think my summer vacation is going to be spent playing Suikoden a bit once more. And my
apologies Wheels, but I have no Qs for you to A.
fine! I enjoy talking about Suikoden,
involved. Now get out there and
finish Suikoden II!
Hello Wheels! I hope you have been well.
In last week's Q&A, you mentioned how you wished Phantasy Star I & II would get
graphical updates the way Final
Fantasy has. There actually have been remakes of both games for
the PS2, called Phantasy Star Generations 1 and
games, as you might have guessed, were never released outside of Japan.
It's a shame, since they look really cool in screenshots and videos. I
did enjoy the games in more or less their original forms (I played I-III via the GBA Phantasy Star Collection), but I'm
weird in that I like to experience old games as they were. That's why I
played Ultima IV despite its
archaicness , and am actually interested in the playing the previous
games in that series. I find the graphics quaint and am oddly
fascinated by how these older games were played. Obviously, the early Phantasy Stars are much more
familiar to a modern RPGamer than Ultima,
I had completely
forgotten about those! That makes me remember a funny story. At
one point, a collection of the Generations
games was supposed to come out in the US and I had it reserved at an EB
Games for a long time. Of course, it never actually came out, but I
have left those five dollars on that reservation for at least a year.
Eventually it became clear it wasn't coming out, so I had to cancel it.
I really wish it had come out, as the older Phantasy Star games have not aged
well. While I can enjoy old games like the early Ultima games as well, I perfectly
get why many can't. I'd love to see updates of both Ultima and Phantasy Star so more people can
discover why both are so great. They can skip remaking Phantasy Star III though.
Now for an unrelated question, what is you favorite character class out
of any game? It can be a standard or common one like Mage or Cleric, or
something more game or series specific. For me, it's still the
HUnewearl, the female Hunter Newman from Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Zero. It's one of the
few classes I've come across that combines high agility with
good-for-non-Force magic. I love tearing into enemies with a pair of
daggers or dual swords while being dodgy enough to avoid their attacks,
then using Techniques in a pinch or to heal myself.
I would have to
go with with the wizard class from Tactics
Ogre, specifically the remake for PSP. Unlike most RPGs where
wizards typically just focus on damage dealing, there are a wide
variety of status ailments wizards in Tactics
can inflict in addition to the typical
array of damage
dealing spells. There are instances of this in other games, but the
status ailments seemed much more useful in Tactics Ogre. Too often sleep and
other such spells aren't anywhere near useful enough.
I'm still on the fence about Kingdom
Hearts 3D. The demo was kind of fun, but I definitely got a
greater kick out of seeing Neku in another game, even if it isn't a TWEWY follow-up. It isn't likely
that sales of this game would spur Square Enix to make a sequel to The World Ends With You,
right? It's not like I have to get it day one. I could just wait
for a price drop. Kingdom Hearts
games tend to be easy to find in stores. I've never cared for the KH games, but I adore TWEWY. What's makes this oddly
harder for me is that there is a remix of one of my favorite songs from
Calling", by one of my favorite artists, Olivia Lufkin. While I prefer
the original version to this remix, it's still pretty good and just the
idea...It's like SE is trying to get me to buy KH3D. :P
I think Square
Enix is interested in doing a sequel to The World Ends With You regardless
of sales of Kingdom Hearts 3D,
for that! I think KH3D is
be one of the
better games in the series, but I doubt it will change your mind if you
dislike the other games in the series. So don't worry about buying it!
You can always get that cool remix from iTunes without playing the
game. Just play The World Ends With
You again instead of forcing yourself to play something you
Yay for random, unrelated questions and comments. Without a focus like
my last series of letters, the next few letters of mine will likely be
similar to this one. Well, you don't mind, right?
Not at all! I
love all sorts of random questions. Let me ask you a question, what
system do you think a The World Ends
With You sequel should be on, and how can they further innovate
the gameplay of the original?
I was reading your last Q&A, saw the Suikoden discussion, and had to
in my feelings on the subject.
Excellent, I was
hoping for further Suikoden
First off, I need to say that I absolutely loved the original Suikoden back when I first got to
play it. The combination of 108 playable characters, massive military
battles, dramatic duels, and a fun story focused on the politics of a
single nation rather than a generic save the world plot all added up to
make the game extremely enjoyable. That said, while I loathe to use the
phrase, the game hasn't really aged well. The 108 character don't
really have anywhere near as much personality as they should, the
gameplay is rather simplistic, and the Scarlet Moon Empire isn't
fleshed out very well. That said, these problems only exist because I
can compare the game to later entries, which simply do everything
Oh I don't think
it has aged that badly. It still has good looking sprites, speedy
combat, and the unique hooks that only a Suikoden game can have. Of course,
you're right in that it doesn't compare that favorably to newer games
in the series. It still compares quite favorably to many of its PS1
contemporaries despite this.
is an amazing game, and every fan of the genre needs to play it. That's
all that really needs to be said about it, other than the fact that I
wish we could get a new localization for it that doesn't have all the
bugs the original version did. The missing music in particular is
really disappointing. I will brag, though, that I bought the game when
it was first released at a very reasonable price. I will never let my
copy of that game go.
Yes, Suikoden II could really use a
fixed up localization. I wonder if those bugs are the reason it
hasn't shown up on PSN? Anyway, there's no way I'll let my copy of this
masterpiece go either.
You talked about Suikoden 3
with mixed feelings, but I really like that one. Other than the lack of
control over your party caused by the pair system and the loss of
seeing hundreds of soldiers clashing in a giant melee, I really liked
every new thing it brought to the series and really miss how all of
those things were missing in later entries. The complex skill system
was a lot of fun to experiment with, I liked how it made positioning
relevant to major battles but easy to ignore for simple fights, its
unique way of calculating time within each turn (so that you can both
use an elemental sword rune and attack the same turn, or take several
turns to cast a powerful spell) was innovative, it actually had a
implementation of powerful mounted units, and it had a great mass
battle system and my favorite dueling system in the series. Story wise,
the split perspectives made it much easier to really make use of the
108 stars and was great for telling the story, and I find the
Grasslands to be the best setting in the series, too. I even like this
one's graphics and music more than the other PS2 Suikoden games. Suikoden 3 is the entry that did
the most to advance the series and make it truly unique, and I wish
more people would recognize its accomplishments.
Well I should
note that I was talking about others mixed feelings, as I have sadly
been able to get to it yet. It sounds to me like people may have just
been turned off by changes to the battle system (you know how that can
go with series). Everything you describe sounds fantastic to me, so I'm
not sure what the issue is. Regardless, it certainly appears to be the
most well received entry in the series (and has an amazing intro
You openly wondered in your last Q&A about whether Suikoden 4 was a bad game or just a
bad Suikoden game, and let me
answer that one. It's just a bad game. It is easily one of the ugliest
PS2 games I've ever played, has a terrible plot, a terrible main
character, a very tedious overworld, a poorly organized structure, and
unmemorable battle gameplay. Also, as far as the series is concerned,
it has the worst mass combat system, the worst music, the worst art
style, its graphics seem rushed or unfinished, it abandons all of 3's innovations, it introduces a
new "cinematic" style to dueling that I just don't like, its characters
are as dull as Suikoden 1's
(even though 2 and 3 do so much to make them more
interesting), and it just doesn't introduce anything new that makes up
for its many flaws. It's the one Suikoden game I've abandoned halfway
through with no intention of finishing, even though I've played the
others to death.
Yikes, it almost
sounds like you're describing a completely different game from Daniel.
I can think of a lot of games that could contend for being the worst
looking on the PS2, so I think it'd be tough to hand that title to Suikoden IV. Anyway, I'm still not
sure what to think of this game because I keep getting conflicting
opinions! I'm just going to have to play the thing myself. I just can't
imagine how the same team responsible for such an amazing series could
put out a complete turd.
From what I hear, Suikoden Tactics,
in the same place
and time as Suikoden 4,
actually does a lot to redeem that setting and its characters, and is a
pretty fun game in its own right. That said, I haven't played it, and
can't say from my own experience. It is easily the most forgotten Suikoden game though.
This seems to be
the universal opinion out there, that it does a good job making up for
the mistakes of Suikoden IV.
At the same time, I'd have to say its place as most forgotten Suikoden must be due to its
relation to Suikoden IV.
That's a shame, as it appears to be well liked by haters and lovers of Suikoden IV alike.
I'll agree with you that Suikoden 5
is a great return to form for the series after 4, though it is much more in the
vein of 1 and 2 than the more innovative 3, but it is quite fun, and it
easily has my favorite mass combat system out of the series. The
characters really shine in this one,
too. That said, it is a little slow to get through thanks to loading
times and some clunky mechanics here and there, but well worth playing.
In the two times I played through the game (a blind run in which I got
60 or so characters, followed by a 108 star run right afterwards) I
accumulated 160 hours of playtime, which is easily a PS2 record for me
and a number I have never matched on a single game since (though Dragon Quest 9 is inching towards
that). I highly recommend this one.
Oh my, that is
quite the playtime! Anyway, "slow" would be a good way to categorize
the issues of Suikoden V.
Other than the annoying loading times, the game itself takes a bit to
get going. At the end of the day it is more than worth the patience
required to play it. I just wish they'd make an HD update, or at least
get it on PSN so we could get around the load times. Now that I think
of it, an HD collection of the PS2 Suikodens
would be quite nice...
pretty different than the rest of the Suikoden
series, but I still really like it. I rather like many of the things
they did with its plot, setting, and characters, particularly its
greater focus on why the 108 stars are important rather than just
ignoring that concept like every other game does. Abandoning the idea
of True Runes makes this game feel like less of a rehash of the same
plot over and over, like some previous games could start feeling like.
It also has great music and hits a nice balance with the amount of
story given to each character. I know it has its detractors, but I
really enjoy it.
I like the game,
I really do, but why ditch all of the gameplay elements that make Suikoden great? No army battles?
No duels? Moving to a more generic JRPG story instead of the types of
stories that made the series great? They could easily have ditched the
true runes and kept many other aspects of the series. Tierkreis just doesn't feel like a
Even with the poor fortunes facing PSP RPG localizations as of late, I
still hope that the newest Suikoden
game will be brought over sometime in the future. That one seems to be
rather strangely ignored by even the most dedicated of Suikoden fans for some reason, but
as one of the few fans who likes even Tierkreis,
I'd like a
localization, but that seems very slim at this point. I'm not sure how
it was received in Japan for that matter. The famitsu score wasn't
amazing. Of course, this is all moot because I'll probably import it at
some point anyway. I hope it sells well enough to keep the series going!
Hmm, considering this is a letter to Q&A, I should probably be
throwing in a few more questions... Let me think... Ah, here's one. The
original Suikoden was the very
first game I played in which I used my own first name for the main
character's name. I used my middle name for Suikoden 2's main character. To
this day, I still mostly think of those characters as having those
names, to the point where I both forget that I named them and that
they're named after me. Have you ever done something like that in an
RPG? Name a character after yourself? Forget that the name you gave a
character is in fact not the canonical one?
I often named
characters after myself, especially in the old 8-bit days when there
was a four letter limit (Mike for the win). Forgetting the canonical
name I believe did occur for me with Final
IX. I didn't really like the name Vivi so I always used
to give him a different name. The funny thing is, I can't remember what
the alternate name I used was!
Also, while I'm on the subject of Suikoden,
Margin (AKA Bandits of the
Marsh, AKA many other things) the story that started it all. A
few years ago I stumbled across a copy of that novel in a library, and
as a fan of both Suikoden and
all kinds of old folktales, myth, and old literature, I had to check it
out. The translation was a bit questionable at times and the whole
thing was incomplete (it went up to the point where the Tablet of the
108 stars appeared but didn't cover the later stuff about the battle
against China's invaders), but it was a good book to spend several
hours reading. I've got to say, it is pretty fun and crazy, though it
requires a certain level of tolerance for main characters who are
complete psychopaths. I've recently heard someone describe that book as
the literary equivalent to a D&D
game that goes off the rails because of power-hungry players, and I'd
compare it just as much to watching a few games of something like Skyrim where the players spend all
of their time robbing others and murdering random peasants and still
getting praised for it. The more things change, the more they stay the
same, I suppose.
never realized the story was based on a such a story. I'm going to have
to track it down and give it a read, sounds worth it despite the
issues. How old is the story?
P.S. I almost forgot to mention this in my big Suikoden discussion, but you need
to listen to JuMeSyn and play Super
Robot Taisen: Original
Generation. I'll forgive you if you find the game's rather poor
graphics, plodding story, and limited unit choice to be a problem at
first, but I assure you that it gets better later and that Original Generation 2 is a very big
improvement over the first one (though it is better to still play it
second for plot reasons). I'll certainly agree that the unit
customization is a lot of fun in the Super
Taisen series, and it is well worth it to spend half your
time in that part of the game. One thing that I really like about the
games that JuMeSyn didn't mention is the strategy added by the game's
Spirit Command system. Every character has a set amount of Spirit
Points, that can be used to activate commands like Guts (which fully
heals a robot's HP), Valor (which doubles the damage of that unit's
next attack), or Love (the ultimate skill with the combined effect of
six other Spirit Commands). To be perfectly blunt, even normal enemies
can destroy your army if you don't use these, so careful rationing of
SP and controlled use of these commands is key to winning. This is both
extremely appropriate for something inspired by super robot anime and
adds quite a bit of strategic depth that provides a very different
experience from any other tactical RPG series.
Well you'll be
happy to know that's I've already started digging into Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation!
graphics, plodding story, or even the early
limited unit choice. It seems like great tactical fun to me. I even
went ahead and tracked down the second game as well (Gamestop has GBA
games at 75% off), so that should tell you how much I'm enjoying it.
You win SRT fans,
@AskWheels Why do people keep talking about supposed Suikoden sequels?
The series -totally- ended on a high note with 2.
Whoa whoa whoa, we will not be ignoring the fantastic Suikoden V. How could you suggest
something so monstrous? Also Suikoden
III and IV are also
quite amazing I've heard depending on who you ask!
@AskWheels Why do you do the things you do?
I played too much Final Fantasy
Legend as a child.
@AskWheels Where's the beef?
Well in Atelier Rorona, first
you must collect some monster meat, then you'll need the requisite
herbs, and then...wait that's not really what you asked at all.
@AskWheels how many ladies does it take Adol to save the land?
All the ladies. All of them. Seriously, in Ys Seven almost all the major
female characters become party members at some point.
@AskWheels Dear Wheels -- I know you've played some of Game of Thrones. What are your
thoughts about it?
I think it's a buggy, mostly just OK game that is made much more
interesting given the story connections to the Song of Ice and Fire series. I
would be willing to slug through a lot of gameplay issues in a Game of Thrones game. Thankfully,
this game isn't quite that bad. So long story short, it's OK.
That's it, I'm off to go play even more SaGa...
See you next week!
June 1st: Wheels
June 15th: Wheels
June 22nd: Wheels
June 29th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Growlanser IV
2. Kingdom Hearts 3D
3. Ys IV Vita
4. Persona 4 Vita
5. Persona 4 Arena
On my Playlist:
1. Romancing SaGa soundtrack
2. Final Fantasy XIII-2 soundtrack
3. Etrian Odyssey soundtracks
1. Why hasn't Final Fantasy Type-0 come out in the
2. Will Elder Scrolls Online do anything new with the MMO genre?
3. Has the EA purchase of BioWare hurt their output?
4. Does Nintendo of America hate RPGs or are gamers making too much of
the Xenoblade/Last Story situation?con
5. Is Final Fantasy Versus XIII going to reach Duke Nukem levels of