As I said last time, the detailed overview of the first our was a one time thing. My future writings on Suikoden, including this one, will be nowhere nearly as detailed. I’d like to focus on playing the game instead.
Last time, I just got through Hiro’s first mission and basically plaid through the prologue. My next mission took me to the nearby village of Rockhard.
I got to visit the world map and even fight a few battles along the way, but nothing major. In Rockhard, it was starting to get increasingly obvious that the Empire aren’t the good guys.
I had to fight some bandits to recover some taxes and explore a cave system. During all of that, there was a big, unwinnable battle where Ted got the chance to reveal his true power (TM). The Empire goon accompanying the party wouldn’t have that, so he told on ted to Windy, the evil mage witch.
Ted got hurt, badly, and then, as the empire troops were about to arrest Hiro and his friends, Ted did the ultimate sacrifice to allow Hiro to escape. A rebel guy named Victor helped the gang get out of the city and started to slowly, but surely and very obviously lure them to the rebel’s side.
I a highly unlikely sequence of events, Hiro got to meet the rebel leader, see her die by trying to save a child and finally take over the command of rebel forces, or Liberation Army, as they like to call themselves.
Highly unlikely is a severe understatement here, by the way. The Story of Suikoden is a classical JRPG story, fun to follow, but not meant to be thought about too seriously. That’s great in my book!
Character development mechanics
Suikoden’s philosophy seems to be that one should never have to, or even be allowed to grind. Whenever I get into a new area, one or two battles net me a level and I’m able to catch up with monsters that are too high in level within minutes. Each level also grants a lot of bonuses, so characters grow quickly, especially if they haven’t been used in a while.
On the other hand, as soon as you do catch up with a character’s level, his experience gain drops severely, to the point where there’s very little motivation for you to keep fighting.
One would think that random battles can get annoying in those cases, but they really don’t. The fights are quick, the animations are short and you can even use the Free will command to let your characters attack automatically, in which case many of their and enemies’ animations run simultaneously. This also looks extremely cool.
You buy armor and defensive items, but I haven’t really bought a lot of it. My biggest purchase by far were the Wing boots I got for Cloe in Gregminster, because I had the money and they were simply too good to pass up.
You also upgrade your weapons at the blacksmith. Each blacksmith workshop seems to have a maximum level it can upgrade your weapons to and level 5 was the highest I managed to find up to this point, but this seems to be my biggest money drain right now – I can find items in dungeons, but I can’t find stronger weapons anywhere as far as I can tell.
There’s also magic, but this seems to a rare purchase. You find magical crystals in dungeons, in what seem to be fixed locations. You bind specific crystals to specific characters, enabling them to use specific rune magic. Some of these runes are tied to the story, so for instance, Hiro, the main character, got Ted’s Soul Eater (or Stealer, not sure) rune during the events of Gregminster.
The castle looks like it will be the big feature of Suikoden. In recent story events, as Hiro was chosen to be the leader of the Liberation Army, the gang decided that the army should acquire a castle for their base of operations. Conveniently, there was an abandoned castle a boat ride away, and all I had to do was kill a dragon zombie to get it.
Now that I have it, I get to roam around the world and find people to recruit into the army. I already got a man named Sergei, who apparently invented the elevator, and I found a few other people who seem to be recruitable, but can’t be acquired yet.
I think I’ll like this feature a lot.
I was told to recruit a very specific person, so I’m trying to find him right now. The problem is, I have no idea where he is, so I’ll be aimlessly wandering around in the immediate future.
Total time played: 3 hours, 50 minutes.