There are all kinds of RPG’s (role-playing games) released for the Sony Playstation video game console. From Final Fantasy to Dragon Quest, the variety is vast, but many overlook a certain video game series. This is the Suikoden series. Developed by Konami, this awe-inspiring series has plenty of originality, along with common concepts throughout.
The player advances typically for a role-playing game. The hero gains experience and potch (the game’s currency) with each field battle (fighting while exploring a dungeon or the world map). He then can upgrade his weapons or the weapons of his party by sharpening them at a blacksmith. Also, armor and items can be purchased in shops. Runes can be purchased from a rune master. Runes are mystical orbs that govern life in the series and have magical powers.
The basic story lines revolve around a nameless hero. The player can choose the name of the character in the beginning of the game. The plot is also centered around a True Rune. During the story, the hero gets involved with a revolution and is forced to become a bearer of a True Rune. The hero then gets ousted from his home country and is forced to recruit a grand army. Throughout the story of each game, the player can recruit up to 108 “Stars of Destiny.” These recruits then wait at your headquarters until it is time for battle. Leknaat, a mysterious woman and keeper of the True Gate Rune, always gives the heroes advice on how they should proceed, but never tells them how to use their rune. She only guides their path, she does not walk it.
I will give a brief synopsis of the first two Suikoden games:
Originally released in 1996, this was the first true RPG created for the Playstation. The story involves the son of the renowned general of the Scarlet Moon Empire, Teo McDohl. During one of his first training exercises, his best friend, known only as Ted, used one of the True Runes called The Soul Eater. This rune absorbs the life force of others to sustain the user. The Queen of the Scarlet Moon Empire learns of this and tries to take the Soul Eater by force. In the process of escaping, Ted was seriously wounded, and passes the rune onto the hero.
Eventually, the hero joins a revolution to oust the king and queen to avenge his friend. He also finds some ruins in a lake and uses that as a headquarters until his war is won. The war battle is fought in a rock-paper-scissors sort of way. The enemy picks either bow and arrow, infantry, or magic. You have the same decision to make, except you have to realize which are relatively stronger or weaker. For instance, if the enemy picked bow and arrow and you picked infantry, you would inflict more pain than if you picked magic.
Released in 1998, this second installment for the Playstation involves three best friends. These are the hero, the hero’s best friend Joey and Nanami, the hero’s sister. The hero and Nanami are the adopted children of Genkaku, a Jowston war hero who was banished from his post as a commander because of a certain incident. The hero and Joey were in training to become knights of the Jowston City-State when their brigade came under attack in the middle of the night. At first they thought escaping was the best idea, but then they decided to stay and help the other survivors escape as well. When they went back, they saw that their sergeant was talking to the leader of the attackers, the Prince of the Highland Army Luca Blight. They were spotted and were pursued, which is when they jumped into a river from a cliff. They are separated for a while. The hero becomes a “prisoner” to the leaders of some rag tag mercenaries for the Jowston City-State. These are none other than Victor and Flick, who were in the original Suikoden. Eventually the hero and Joey reunite, only to be captured by their Sergeant just after unifying with Nanami. They are sentenced to hanging for acts of espionage. Just as they are about to hang, the mercenaries break them out.
This story revolves around the Bright Shield Rune and the Black Sword Runes, the two halves of the Rune of Beginning. The hero takes the Bright Shield Rune, while Joey takes the Black Sword Rune. Each of these two characters takes completely different paths. Eventually, Joey ends up ruling Highland and the hero becomes the leader of the Jowston army. They become fierce rivals and fight against each other to end the war.
The game has some returning faces from the original Suikoden game along with plenty of newcomers. War is carried out a little differently. Instead of the rock-paper-scissors format, you have more of a chess piece approach. The same rules apply when picking your attack, but your army can gang up on a particular unit instead of concentrating on a single unit.