If there was one console RPG
title that had the most draw at the 2005 Tokyo Game
Show, it would be Suikoden V. The long-running
series by Konami turns 10 years old, and while the
company also turned heads with its upcoming re-release
of Suikoden I and II for the PSP, this was the only
playable title of the series available at the show.
Despite lines of eager gamers waiting to sample the new title that stretched of up to an hour and a half long, it was unfortunate that the 10 minutes or so of
gameplay were not enough to even get into a battle,
something that is arguably core to the series.
Nevertheless, it was a chance to glimpse the series'
latest (and possibly final) effort on the PlayStation
"...Konami has a winner on its hands."
The gameplay centers around a
group of characters who are returning from a long
voyage to investigate ongoing problems in a village
whose riverbed seems to have mysteriously dried up.
One problem from previous Suikoden titles, the third
in particular, seems to have been solved: a lack of
music. There are some tracks which serve as
background for many of the scenes, which is a welcome
change. Also notable are the FMV sequences, as they
arguably some of the best to ever hit the console.
Suikoden fans harping for continuity will also welcome
the return of the loading sequence icon, which is
still the same as it has been since the first
While we weren't able to preview
battles thanks to the short gameplay time and the
obnoxiously long opening sequence, we were able to
glimpse at the status menus and see exactly what
elements are involved in character creation.
There is a skill system for every character that is more or less specific to each character (in other words, no fighter-based character
can turn into a mage and vice-versa), and a tactical
formation window is also available via the status menu
As for how the rest of the
gameplay turns out, that is best left up to
speculation, though many fans will be eagerly awaiting
the newest incarnation in the Suikoden series. At the
very least, it looks like one of the best-looking
titles for the PS2, and if its looks are any
indication of possible gameplay elements and story,
Konami has a winner on its hands. It's a pity they
couldn't have taken after other booths (or their
previews of previous Suikoden titles at other
conventions) and allowed for battle play. Nevertheless,
this is one title to look out for.