Review by Fin_Obelius

Reviewed: 08/14/07 | Updated: 10/22/07

A great addition to anyone's gaming library.

In the Beginning, the World was born along with the 27 True Runes which grants a user with immense power and sometimes immortality as a result of the great battle between Sword and Shield. Each Rune grants power of a certain aspect of the universe. The Soul Eater Rune governs Life and Death while the True Fire Rune grants the power of ultimate pyromancy. Suikoden V is the tale of a prince born into a kingdom protected by the Dawn, Twilight, and Sun Runes. There are two major Houses. Godwin, who wants Falena to gain power by using the Runes guarding the Queendom. The second major House is the Barows, who wants to gain power via trading and forging alliances with foreign superpowers such as the Scarlet Moon Empire and Harmonia.

Graphics- A huge improvement from previous installments.

I always marvel at the variety of the 108 Stars of Destiny in terms of physical appearance and personality. After four games (and some spinoffs) the Stars still continue to possess unique traits that we all love as was the case in the past Suikoden games. My only complaint in this category is that the camera is ofttimes held in a position that only permits vision from the above and as a result, I am not able to savor the detail the Queendom of Falena presented as much as I would have liked. This loses a few points. However, there are times when FMVs are necessary for sudden actions or dramatic scenes. This makes up for some of the points that the camera lost. I am glad to say that this game's scenery and architecture is unique in their own manner. From the boats and boards that make up Raftfleet to the clutter of ornate buildings that make up Rainwall. Every city has its own unique architecture. The transition of in game scenes to FMV is seamless and recognized only by change of camera =P.

Story-What it lacks in pacing it makes up for in originality.

Character development is wonderful. Hero is on the run from the entire Queendom after some shocking revelations about the major Houses that makes up the government. All of the Suikoden games are semi-original due to their 108 Stars of Destiny and multiple endings. In fact, I will guarantee you many surprising twists and turns. It's pacing is less than reasonable for much of the beginning but to counter this fact, the story is very well executed At the end of this game you will probably feel like you have lost a hundred of great friends be it a grumpy old curmudgeon or a sexy Rune Mistress. The lack of creativity of the characters' occupation is tiring. Farmer. Ninja. Farmer. Farmer. More Ninjas and a few warriors to add spice. Another reason why the story is so amazing is that the history of all the Suikoden games are intricately intertwined into a main story. Such questions remain such as who are Jeane the enigmatic Rune mistress and Viki the teleporter? Are the Blinking and Charm Runes two of the 27 True Runes? This type of story offers me reasons to play all of the Suikoden games of the past and those that are to come.

Sound- Not really important as most of the time I have the volume turned off.

However I am not insinuating the sound is horrible.

Levels and Gameplay- Not very original.

The gameplay is the same in every Suikoden. However there is a aspect that changes in every Suikoden-The War Battles. In S4 it was called a Naval Battle but the point remains. It is a large scale battle that complements the series's political intrigue genre. I can't help but to notice the War Battles are Civilization IV-esque in terms of battle animation and graphics. Every Suikoden has had the same regular RPG system. Use uber Runes to deal ridiculous damage or bash your enemies' skulls in with a hammer. In the famous word of Boz, "Sometimes Justice is just a little word. And sometimes it is six feet of steel in a opponent 's face. You know you love it. While fighting Random battles you are able to control a party of four and assign various formations to better complement the party members's forte. This allows more strategy in battles. The lack of a tutorial is frustrating. I was halfway through the entire game before I realized that I could only use two of my battle skills but by then I had already wasted my SP on all of Hero and Lyon's skills. Pathetic. This, however, does keep the characters' s strength in check. So this is a improvement from S3. This difficulty will also make things significantly more confusing for first-timers (And people that never read the instruction manual) of the Suikoden games.

-Summary-
Overall, this game is much better than I thought it would be. The journey and characters are set up in a way that it will be impossible to dislike this game. This game has it's fill of emotion inducing moments that will be impossible to forget. It is always a sad day to hear of yet another gamer that has never played a game in this series, especially this one. As a whole, this game deserves high marks. If this game fixes its few negative aspects I could smell a Game of the Year award coming its way. This is a real gem of a game that may be rare but must not be missed.


9/10

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Suikoden V (US, 03/21/06)

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