Suikoden IV
Platform: PlayStation 2
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Genre: Turn Based RPG
Format: DVD-ROM
Released: US 1/11/05
Japan 08/19/04
Official Site: English Site

Graphics: 85%
Sound: 80%
Gameplay: 83%
Control: 85%
Story: 65%
Overall: 73%
Reviews Grading Scale
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Not quite Trogdor.
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It is this screen that shows the text governing the rune that governs atonement and forgiveness.
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I see no ship!
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All you need is a DeLorean and a flux capacitor.
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Matthew Boswell
Suikoden IV
Matthew Boswell

After playing Suikoden III, I instantly fell in love with the series. When Suikoden IV was mentioned, the excitement surged through my body. However, after playing through the game, one will realize that Suikoden IV is nothing more than an average RPG that, by the end of the game, will have one feeling less than satisfied.

Suikoden IV starts out in the lovely castle town of Razril, where you take control of your hero. As soon as the first cutscene plays, one will notice that, while graphics are pretty, they are lacking. What happened to facial animations and movement? Character designs, though some are interesting, are general and bland. We have seen the gorgeous mage woman in elegant white robes with long brown hair before. There have been spiky haired boys with pretty faces. However, I will give Konami credit. Creating 108 separate character designs for recruitable characters is obviously difficult. This being the case, I feel they did well in giving all the characters different features to make them identifiable.

The story of Suikoden IV revolves around the hero and his fateful encounter with the rune of punishment. The rune of punishment, as you may infer from the name, will ultimately end the life of the person who uses it. However, the hero never speaks, so how does he feel about his life being on the line? You will never really know. Overall, the story just really revolves around the hero, his friends, and their quest to stop war in the world as well as preventing the heroís death. Anyone looking for an in-depth story will surely be disappointed with Suikoden IVís particularly general and bland storyline.

Suikoden IV offers something that the previous installments in the series did not. Although only the major scenes in the game have it, the voice acting in Suikoden IV is done surprisingly well. Music seems fitting for the game, considering it has a sea exploration theme, however you will find yourself asking for more. The battle music, as with most RPGs, is very repetitive. You will also find music missing from scenes that warrant it. However, even with these flaws Suikoden IVís short soundtrack is well composed.

Now let us discuss the battle system and the difficulty of the game. The battle system takes us back to turn based battle. You will have four people in your party, each of whom you control separately. You can choose to attack, use a rune, defend, or if you have a friend in battle which you can combo with, you can choose to use a combo attack. The battle system is nice and simple, however, due to the difficulty of the game, you could find yourself using auto battle much of the time.

Since Suikoden IVís main mode of transportation is by ship, there will be naval battles. These naval battles will get old fast. They are way too easy, especially if you have characters with high rune power, such as Jeane. They will leave the player wanting more of a challenge. All you do is stick a few characters into a ship to control your rune cannons. Then you have other characters who have underlings, and they fill in the rest of the slots. The underlings on the ship are your hit points. When all of your underlings are gone, then your ship is sunk. All the player really does is move on the grid and shoot their enemies.

When you are not in battle, you will be exploring towns and dungeons. Control in Suikoden IV is relatively tight, making it easy to navigate through these areas. Days of walking are gone, just push and hold R1 button and your character will run like a rabid rabbit. This helps to make exploration slightly less tedious than in other RPGs. However, controlling the ship on the world map can be difficult, and takes some getting used to. Considering how large the object is, the ship takes wide turns, making it somewhat difficult to land on islands if you do not head for them directly.

While Suikoden IV is a decent RPG, it tends to be repetitive and predictable. Konami has certainly done much better in the past. The $39.99 price tag is a bit too much for a game that can be completed, with all 108 stars of destiny and side quests done, within 20 to 24 hours. Hardcore RPG gamers and casual ones alike should consider this game as a weekend rental and not much more.


© 2004-2005 Konami Digital Entertainment - America, All Rights Reserved.

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