Looking back, 2004 was a spectacular year for fans of the role-playing game and seeing as how games like X-Men Legends and Star Ocean: Till The End of Time happily lit up our PS2s, fans like myself, cannot wait for this year’s offerings. You can bet that this girl is really anticipating the arrival of returning favorites like Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits Von Gut Und Bose and, having been a fan of the Suikoden series since the second chapter was released a long while back, cheered when Suikoden IV was announced. Will this new chapter be the one remembered most? Well, not exactly, but it’s still a ride well worth taking.
As I mentioned above, I’ve followed the Suikoden games faithfully, having simply adored Suikoden II and liked Suikoden III to the point of listing it up there with the much-loved Final Fantasy VII as one of my favorite RPGs. You see, while the series revolves around one specific character it also fleshes out the story of a large number of other characters as well and this doesn’t just give you an emotional attachment to the characters and their plight but makes you care enough to follow the story to the very end. Thankfully, this fourth chapter is not any different.
The game’s classic style makes this one easy to grab the controller and start playing without much instruction. The ship battles are super sweet but why does the ship have to move slower than a Geo? While the camera can be a bit jerky, everything else works nicely.
The character models and the environments are delightfully colorful and nicely detailed to the point that you’ll be able to pick out your favorite characters in a crowd of characters. The effects aren’t of the dazzling variety but watching characters unleashing combos kind of makes up for it. The game also has some of the best water I’ve ever seen on a PS2.
Superb soundtrack punctuates each cutscene and makes the battles sound like epic final matches, but nothing is more exciting than hearing the characters actually speak their lines rather than reading them off the text box. The performances are solid and the sound effects do the trick. Great work!
The random encounters make for many battles but it’s the main battles that will have you really staying on your toes. Duels aren’t as easy as they seem and the game’s puzzles will have you putting lots of thought into solving them.
Returning favorites like the 108 Stars of Destiny and duels don’t really make up for not including the Trinity Sight System but it is a start. There are also loads of great characters and there are even cat-people and mermaids. Did I mention the cat-people? They’re offbeat but super cute.
We’ve played and loved the far-more superior past chapters in this unique series of games but Suikoden IV is still a fun enough game fans new and old will enjoy. While the short number of flaws may be too noticeable to ignore, missing out on a game with great characters and an interesting story would be a shame.