As I enter part 2, this focuses more on the characters and the short fall of the game as a whole. Even though I pick on one particular installment, Suikoden IV, doesn’t mean I still don’t love the series as a whole. But a story for a game of this nature, wouldn’t be good or even great, if it didn’t have the necessary characters being in from start to finish or just to move the story along.
Out of the five main games, with a roster of playable and non-playable characters, it totals out at 513 out of the 540 characters. I eliminated the returning characters throughout the lengthy series. Those numbers are just astounding, and that’s not even including the enemy factions and their peons and generals.
Having so many characters in a single game, 108, it tends to be a gift and a curse. Allowing the player, for those that are playable, a plethora of options, changing the battle lines with favorites and new characters you want to give a whirl. But, the downside is that as the game progresses, you get stuck with a couple characters you rely on heavily, unless the story dictates that you bring along certain people. But you never get to use all of them, due to the constraints of wanting to beat the game, and the story overall.
I get to drone on about my favorite characters from the series as a whole, except for Suikoden IV. Which I’ll explain why, it, to me was the worse of the series later in the article. Also, I’ll only mention those who appear on the Stone Tablet of Stars. Tir (S1), he’s the hero from tragedy and serious betrayal and potential death, that would cause a serious breakdown, he continued for those who believed in him. Cleo (S1), she may be the mother figure to Tir, but she’ll nail someone with her throwing knives with pinpoint accuracy. Riou (S2), as the successor to S1’s hero, and is a close expy of him, but still great. Shu (S2), cold, calculating, and knows what has to be done for victory. He’s a strategist that goes above the call each time. Flik (S2), as a young head strong member of the Liberation Army in the first, but being more mature and tempered in the second, as well as letting loose and also taking care of Viktor. Chris Lightfellow (S3), a very hard, duty driven, and father issued woman, but after she meets Nash on her mission to find him, and she gains her acceptance. Nash Latkje (S3), this is due to his pedigree from the Gaiden and amazing backstory. But he’s just a cool mutha *beep*.
Futch (S3), full grown from his time in S1 & 2, being older, mature, carrying a big sword, and taking care of Sharon, he’s just the “I’m cool, but I don’t know it.” Georg Prime (S5), he’s just simply a Badass on the level of Chuck Norris in the Suikoden World. Name feared and respected throughout the world, and always at the pinnacle of swordsmanship wherever he fights. Fredjadour Falenas (S5), the silent hero of the fifth game, and wields the Tri-nunchaku, and just a balanced character, and although thrust into the leadership role, he takes it seriously, to rescue the Queendom and his sister. Miakis (S5), the faithful bodyguard and Queen’s Knight for the princess, she is essentially Lymsleia sister, and the stereotypical bodyguard turned friend to the Princess.
Suikoden IV was just hogwash of a game in the series. I’ll quickly go over why. The story was flat, the characters not believable, in the sense of what had to be accomplished. And the main villain’s drive to be bearer of the Rune of Punishment again, after certain circumstances, and that was laughable. Seriously, you fight a Giant Tree as the final boss! The story did fit into the continuity for the whole, and giving more back story to various characters, but the game was badly done, and overall, just a letdown. I could go on for days, explaining every intricacy of why the game didn’t meet the standards for Suikoden. As for the other four entries, they all contribute to continuity as well, and explore the depths of the main silent hero with the actions that occurred during each of their stories.
Many ups and downs for them, and in some, you could choose to not take up arms against the corrupt, and the story would illustrate what could happen because you never stepped towards your Destiny. Each character, in Suikoden I, II, III, and V, had some kind of personal issue with the current situation at hand and wanting to change it. Admittedly, IV did have a few characters with an invested interest in the situation, but the total cast seemed to be just there. And this has been a negative for the games, each having so many characters, and showing they all have a vested interest for change brought on by Destiny and Time.
Some may consider Suikoden series as whole a relic, others, such as myself, and thousands others want Konami to stop making handheld version of the game and slapping the Suikoden name on it. And those never really being Suikoden games beyond name and 108 Stars of Destiny. But the game takes you on a ride, with political intrigue, war, double crosses, death, sacrifice, and so much more, and it delivers 4 out of 5 times. And that those bullet points are the reasons and many more, are why I love Suikoden. And I’ll leave you with the best opening for a Suikoden game.