Suikoden II (1998/1999)


Suikoden II (1998/1999)

Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Director: Yoshitaka Murayama
Platform: Playstation

Two childhood friends in the Highland youth militia narrowly survive a false flag attack and find themselves on opposite sides of the renewed war.

As with the first game, this entry features turn-based combat with six-man party (more than most JRPGs), one-on-one duels using a rack-paper-scissors system and strategic battles for major engagements. While there's nothing wrong with regular combat or duels, the strategic battles seem much more arbitrary than in the first game and largely pointless.

As with all Suikoden games, you can't expect full and deep characterization for all 108 Stars of Destiny (not to mention all the other characters), but we've got a good balance of returning characters from the first game and new arrivals. There's a good dynamic with the main trio, but unfortunately the characterization for a lot of the rest of the cast is uneven at best. There's still a solid story to be had and Luca Blight is one of the great video game villains.

The sprite graphics for the game are good and the character designs by Fumi Ishikawa are quite appealing. That character art doesn't have quite the same illustrative quality as Junko Kawano's work from the first game, but the clean lines lend themselves better to animation (which doesn't actually come into play in this game).

The music for this game is rather memorable. There's no voice acting or anything, but the sound effects we have get the job done.

Without being too spoilery, there's a cool bonus if you import a save game from the first Suikoden provided you meet certain conditions. Worth revisiting the first game in my book.

This is one of the best RPGs on the PSX and indeed one of the best JRPGs period. If you're an RPG fan, this one definitely deserves a place in your collection.

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