Based on 1 of the 4 great literature of Chinese culture: How did it do? ‘Water Margin’-ally Great!
I have decided to revisit my love for the Suikoden series. HUGE huge fan of the Suikoden series. Suikoden was the first ever Konami RPG game. In actuality, Suikoden 2 was written before Suikoden. The developers decided to write a prequel as a mean to get experience on in-game development. Thus, it meant that the story of Suikoden sets up the whole Suikoden universe. Did it successfully acted as a foundation for the series?
In this game, you control a silent protagonist, whose canon name is Tir McDohl. His adventure started as he was enlisted into the army, serving under a corrupt commander. His best friend, Ted, bears a true rune, which the evil court magician wants. In order to protect the true rune, Ted passed the true rune unto Tir and acted as a decoy for his best friend to escape.
With the true rune in hand and as a fugitive, Tir was founded by the rebel army. He succeeded Odessa as the leader of the rebel army and went against the kingdom to bring peace and rid corruption to the land. Major portion of the game was Tir going around enlisting help for the rebellion.
The once beloved king was believed to be under the magic of court magician, started making strange decisions. However, at the end, he was merely acting out of affection for the court magician. A love story for the antagonists. His power was the Sovereign rune, granted him the power to transform into the final boss of the game. After being defeated by the rebellion, he grabbed Windy and jumped off the castle – never to be seen again. Windy had the power to transport herself, I am sure she can just teleport away as they sky dive from the castle walls. Did they die? Or survive?
The story was great – the politics, the plotting. It was a fresh take on traditional save the princess RPG that was abound during the era. However, I did not have love for antagonists’ story. King Barbarossa reason to being an antagonist was merely out of love whose feeling came about as the Windy looked like his late wife. Really? The kingdom and its citizens versus feelings for a look-alike who did not reciprocate the same feelings he wished. Bad BAD king, to think he was once a ‘beloved’ hero.
The game has a very oriental vibe incorporated – from the music to the aesthetics. Mostly due to the main characters’ choice of clothes. They even had the Tir redesigned to using a bo staff instead of sword in order to stay to the oriental premises of the game design. This decision to go oriental was due to the game being based on the chinese novel, 水滸傳[Water Margin].
Water Margin is a story of outlaws, 108 to be precise, forming an army against invaders. It is one of the great four classics of Chinese literature. The game borrowed much of its foundation from the book. The game was set to 108 stars of destiny forming an army and fighting against an enemy.
In this game, we can recruit a total of 108 characters to fight with. But at the end of the game, we were forced to take up Viktor and Flik as final members against the final boss. So out of 50(or so) fighters , we only get to pick 3 favorites. Not to mention, we are pretty much stuck with Gremio for majority of the game.
Battles in this game is just a basic 6 man team formation with the usual: Attack, Magic, Item, Run options that you would find in a japanese RPG. Runes allow the modification of a character that essentially any character would work the same (unless they have unique runes). Unique runes are visually different yet none of them really stand out, damage and utility wise (other than the Falcon Rune).
The game was very VERY easy. Bosses drop like flies. Even the final boss. Too easy that there was no challenges ever posed in the game. And no grinding ever required to achieve those boss-smattering status Not even the mini games were hard. Actually the mini game, Chinchirorin, was purely lucked based and the only annoying aspect off the game.
The story. It goes against the cliche “save the princess/world” story that you would hear of countless times in Japanese anime/games of the old era. And being an avid lover of collecting/recruiting type of games (ie Digimon, Pokemon), I really love the recruiting aspect of the game.