Ah, Konami. They wish their JRPGs were like everybody elses....*sigh*
Almost a funny thing to say given the overall high acclaim the 2nd and 3rd title get...
I almost feel like there is a formula for a PERFECT rpg in the Suikoden universe and gameplay style -- but they're good at mucking it up, or at the very least, putting 70% into what they do than the full 100.
At least they aren't taking the Idea Factory/Compile Heart route of jamming as much moe as possible into a game.