Review by RequiemDawn
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When I first set out to play this game, I honestly abandoned it for FFX. Really. I would rather put up with flashy graphics that take an exaggeration of 10 minutes to load rather then put up with this game. It turned me off the moment I grabbed my controller. Well, that's a slight exaggeration, but-
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Anyway. After Suikoden 4, I was honestly ready to give up the series. However, something stopped me. The game that I overlooked FFXII, Phantasy Star, .//hack, and many other games for.
I liked the idea of having to collect 108 stars again. Maybe it would be a refreshment in the series. Maybe it wouldn't stink as bad as Suikoden 4. Maybe-
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It wouldn't be so bad. Just maybe.
However, as soon as I set foot inside Lordlake I had to fight the instinct to throw my controller out the window. Aside from "Now Loading... ... ..." Appearing every few seconds to enter a house/road/different town area / cutscene/ battle/ dialogue/ interaction/ victory/ world map/ few steps, which also ruins the sentimentality of some more serious scenes (I must also mention how ugly the animation art is on this with the Prince/Hero, thank Yevon there are other characters that appear on the screen sometimes) I found everything boring. The colours. The battles. The Prince. The game. The-
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Everything. Now, Im going to tell you all about it...IN DETAIL!
THE GAMEPLAY: 4/10
Ugh. I have never seen more horrendous camera angles even in Kingdom Hearts. Half the time your in a town, or a dungeon, or especially a forest or a castle or something, you can't see. If you're like me and have to collect every treasure chest in the game, it gets really annoying when you have to refer to a guide or run to the computer every 5 seconds. On the note of running hither and thither every 5 seconds...I must mention:
And how hard it is to find AND keep the 108 stars of destiny. Ok, for instance, at least 45% of the game's characters are missable. Murad, Oboro and Nakula, for instance. Oboro had confounded many as to how to get him. And not miss him. In order to NOT miss him the first time around, you're forced to tag along with him every, horrendous, agonizing step of his investigation of the Barows in Rainwall. If you don't, or miss your chance, every time Raftfleet moves along in the story you have to visit him for the number of steps in the investigation you missed. If you need more help with that, don't look at me. Please. However, back to running to and fro, I was well over 50 hours on this game because of the "NOW LOADING... ... ..." screens or dialogue with characters I don't care about, or, most likely, running to the computer and leaving my game on to look up X Star so I don't miss them at X time at X place during X plot sequence with X character in my party with X, X, and X preresiquites.
Not joking. Think of giant turtles. That's all Im going to say.
On a slightly different note, I'd like to mention the battles. A typical battle sequence is in between 5- 20 seconds of loading, either strategically plotting you moves to get some enjoyment out of the early battles, or just pressing "Auto" and cheat, pretty much. Then 5 ish more seconds of loading again, then walk a few steps (or run, with a rune or New Game +) a few steps and encounter the same sequence again, and again, and again. A short journey from one place to another (For those who've played, Rainwall to Raftfleet 2nd area) without battles would take about 25-50 seconds. With non-incessant battles with loading times included, about 2 minutes. With constantly occurring battles, load times, and a Godspeed Rune or New Game+, 3 minutes. Now, for 4/6 of the game (Before you get the Godspeed rune) with incessant battles, load times, no Godspeed Rune, it would be an average of 5 ish minutes. Not nice. Especially in your first playthrough, when you're forced to walk everywhere for awhile.
I'm not even going into how easy the war battles are. Sorry.
Ooh, now the STORY: 8/10
The only reason this isn't lower is because Euram wasn't killed, or assassinated, or anything. This would be, like, a 4 if that would have happened. However, it didn't (And I did recruit him for plot satisfaction) and I was happy about that. But now, on to the story and the characters.
The story itself keeps you on the edge of your pillow for awhile. Until the end, when you're just so pissed off at "NOW LOADING... ... ..." all the time, you're at the point you don't care about flooding the country (which turns out not to be true) or that stupid Sun Rune, or your precious little sister, or that one of the most powerful Stars of Destiny isn't in the final battle. You just want it to be over. Gone. After this, I nonchalantly threw this game behind the likes of Suikoden 1.
The story isn't "Rivetting" or "Inspiring". It's mostly "Lies," "Assasination" and "Drugs." At least a quarter of the plot revolved around "Oooh, guess what, Prince? (it seems the characters can't pronounce "Hero" or "Frey" very well) blah used blah and died!11one!11 " or you go up to X Star and all you hear about is "Oh, my father plays mind games." or "Oh, these walls are thick." or "How's the weather?" or "No, Prince, Im not going to kill myself." or even "Yeah, you have one bangin' bodyguard, Prince!" Stuff that don't relate to the plot. I'd rather be stuck in a room with 50 Nether Gate assassins then to listen to them all drone on about this and that, and stuff that doesn't concern the story. However, your tactician is the only person worth talking to, as only she alone can forward the plot, which is one step closer to finishing this game. She even lets you see some cutscenes that...oh my GOD... that YOU ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT!
Anyway, an analysis of how pathetic the antagonists are in this story.... ugh. Half the time they're just threatening you, or they go back on their word, or they steal ideas from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe [/Barows] or they only care about X rune, and will assassinate their own family to get it and use it to destroy everything...
FOR THE SAKE OF THE COUNTRY!!! [/Godwin]
There are a few plot twists, but nothing special. Except a few certain twists, where you are ACTUALLY EXCITED for once.... but have to go through the horrible, painstaking loading screens in boring dungeons....
I can honestly not say much here. I'm at a loss of how to describe the utter horror of MOST of the sound. I found that the voiceovers did a, for the MAJORITY, nice job of portraying the character, and for the MAJORITY, the music played fit nicely with the cutscene, but besides that, there was nothing special here.
"Wow! I never knew, that, like, in Falena, you could, like, like, like, move your body without your clothes following your movement! Like, really, are you some sort of magician? I also never knew people resembled exquisite creations of playdoh! Oh, well, some games are just , like, MAGICAL! "
Yeah...I said that once to one of my friends, and I felt I had to include it here. I mean, Konami could at least put the time in to make people less like clay and more like...normal. The art on the dialogue boxes is just short of awesome, that's why this section had an OK mark. I mean, I draw a lot, and the drawings on the dialogue boxes helped me more than trying to interpret play doh. I'm sure you can understand why.
The battle graphics are actually nice, that's what also boosted this mark. Not all Final Fantasy-ish with overcompensatingly flashy, seizure-tastic magic that takes an hour, but nice, detailed blows, slashes, counters, battle styles and runes to make it run as smoothly and attractively as possible. That, my friends, concludes my judging.
In conclusion, I think this game is actually worth your time... (If you can put up with the loading screens, that is.) Sometimes it makes you fall asleep, other times annoyed, others angry, some sad, and some happy. Just a word of advice...don't do what I did, and throw your controller at the Prince.
Happy Holidays, even if it's in the middle of September when you read this,
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Suikoden V (US, 03/21/06)
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