Again I fail to clarify.=P By "aged poorly", I should say "it doesn't impress as much anymore." Which is natural, of course, especially for a long running series, but that's why I rarely, if ever, start a series out with the first game unless I'm looking for a reason to hate said series (see Dragon Quest). I think the only exception so far is Xenosaga, but that's assuming there really is no connection between it and Xenogears. Really, I just need to become familiar enough with the brand so I can feel confident enough in it to purchase the rest of the series.
Anyways, I do recall someone mentioning that Suikoden doesn't do one thing well, it does everything just right. And while that may very well be the case, that's not really what I'm looking for when choosing whether or not to buy a game. I usually prefer to find something knowing that there's an aspect I that I'm sure I'll like and differentiates it from other games that I own. So long as it has that, I know I'll like the game and it'll be worth it, and if any other aspect of the game is also interesting/impressive, then that just makes it that much more worth it.
Not that I don't like it when a game does everything well, quite the contrary, in fact. However, I don't think it's smart to go into a game expecting it to be perfect, especially since I'm so terrible at handling disappointment. Case in point, I still can't get myself to play Nocturne, just because I was expecting it to be played from a First-Person point of view. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just not what I expected, but that's still a disappointment. Now try to imagine my disappointment if I went into Suikoden expecting it to be perfect and there turned out to be even one thing wrong! I don't think I'd want to go through with that, so I just try to make sure that the game does at least one think right and hope for the best.
With that said, I looked more into Suikoden III. I don't know why I didn't before. Heck, I thought it was an action-RPG of some sort before I checked it out. Apparently it shows a war from three different sides, which sounds interesting. I don't think I've seen any other game do that, not in a Turn-based, story-focused JRPG at least. That might be worth it if it can pull it off. The combat also sounds fairly unique, as I had hoped. Much more unique than in the first two games, at least. I didn't read too much into it, so I still don't know if I'll like it, but the fact that it's different should make it that much more interesting. SuiV also has some interesting features to its battle system, but not as much as SuiIII, so I think it'd be best if I start with III then hope for the best. Too bad that game's so expensive...