Suikoden is a classic JRPG I’ve heard good things about, but never actually played. If memory serves me correctly, I did invest an hour or two in the sequel, but it was during the period when I just discovered emulation, so the game stood no chance of sticking around. Time to fix that…
A detailed log
To mix things up a bit, I decided to log the first hour or so of the game in more detail. I won’t be doing this for my entire playthrough, but if it convinces a single reader to buy and play this game, I’m happy with the outcome.
Even within the first hour, I do understand why so many people loved it.
Anyway, here goes…
Imperial Capital of Gregminster
Before the start, there’s the intro. It’s not your typical JRPG intro, with full motion videos or anime sequences explaining the setting. Parts of it are anime sequences, but for the most part, it sort of works like an arcade demo play sequence. What you do notice right off the start is some very nice music.
Suikoden starts off with the main character simply standing in a castle room, which later turns out to be the waiting room. There’s rich, orchestral music and we can talk to what seems to be a soldier.
The soldier is absolutely not generic. His name is Teo and he’s Hiro’s father. Hiro is what we named the main protagonist, by the way. I was uninspired.
A maid arrives and takes us to see the empire. Teo is one of the top generals of the empire and we’re at an audience. The emperor’s name is Barbarossa and he and Teo seem to be old friends. It’s Hiro’s first time here, so Suikoden allows us to act as a nice kid or a complete brat. I don’t like bratty characters, so I went with nice.
The emperor order’s Teo to go on some border patrol mission, and Hiro is about to enlist in the military. That’s how the story of Suikoden starts. A woman named Windy also has some inappropriate things to say, but that’s fine.
On their way home, Hiro and Teo meet Hiro’s future commanding officer. He’s a douche.
Hiro’s home in the capital of Gregminster
Leaving the castle takes us to the capital city of Gregminster. It’s not a very big city by JRPG standards, but the music and style make it seem big and important.
We get to move freely now, so we will explore the town a bit. First, though, we need to visit our home. We meet Gremio. He’s our butler or something, but later on, he also helps us in fights, so I guess the job description is a bit wider than you’d expect.
We also get to torment him later, as the brat we potentially are. We don’t though. It’s not in my nature.
Now that we are free to move, we finally get to visit the game’s menu system. There may have been the opportunity sooner, but I forgot to try it out. The system is basic.
There’s also the status and the magic screen, but not much more outside of that.
We explore the city for a bit and meet some characters. At the local inn, several people tell us about the empire’s generals. They’re discussing which one is the greatest.
We actually meet one of these generals at the local department store. He’s a strange one.
Some of the people in the town talk about the emperor in a strange way, like he used to be nice. This might be some foreshadowing.
Back at our home, we meet another character, named Sonya. If I remember correctly, she’s one of the generals. She seems to have a ting for our hero’s father.
However, he’s completely clueless about it.
The city offers several services we can acquaint ourselves with. There’s a regular item shop which cells medicine. There’s also an equipment store that sells armor, but no weapons. One of the items is far more expensive than others and for good reason. The Wing Boots are something we won’t be able to buy soon.
We also have an appraiser, which can identify artifacts some monsters drop. These artifacts can be valuable, useful, or just junk, depending on how lucky we are. In the classic manner of JRPGs, we can rest and save at the inn.
Hiro also has a friend, named Ted. Luckily, general Teo will be going away soon, so hopefully, we wont be mixing up these two too often. Ted is the first to join the entourage. He does this in a very literal way, buy entering the controlling character, as it usually happens in JRPGs.
There’s dinner, and then everyone goes to bed. During the night, general Teo leaves, not wanting to wake his son up, saying he won’t be gone for long anyway.
In the morning, we take our entourage (a total of four extra people) to the castle to get our orders from Kraze. We are to go to a nearby island and get astrological observations from a wizard-type woman named Leknaat. We are taken there on the backs of a dragon, belonging to a bratty young dragon knight, who I’m sure we’ll see more of in the future.
We land on the beach, probably so that we would be forced to explore our first dungeon. We also realized we haven’t set the screen to zoom on our PSP, so we do just that. The area proves confusing to navigate at first, because the darker area looks like it can’t be walked on, even though it can.
The dungeon is quick to explore and we even fight a very easy boss.
The Leknaat gives us the observations, says something about Hiro’s destiny and sends us on our way.
Leknaat’s apprentice, Luc, is also a brat, but he does teleport us back to the beach, saving us the time it would take to walk back.
We go back to Gregminster, Kraze is, again, a complete douche, but he acknowledges that the mission was successful and sends us on our next assignment. We are to go east, to the small town of Rockland and collect some unpaid taxes. This doesn’t seem very noble, but we are supposed to be soldiers.
Oh well, at least we get to see the world map for the first time. Let’s save that for the next report, though.
For now, we go to the crystal shop and attach the Rune Crystal we got from Leknaat to Cleo. She can now use Fire Arrows.
Also, here’s a sneak peek of the world map, in case you’re impatient.
I guess this is it for now!