Review by Taofeld
"A small step back in the right direction."
Considering Suikoden Tactics's quick production time and the fact that it links closely with Suikoden IV (considered by many to be the worst of the series), you might be a bit skeptic about this game. While it doesn't live up to the greatness achieved by the first three Suikodens, it does prove to be a nice distraction.
OK... this isn't the game's strong point. The main character and his band of followers are after these "rune cannons" that turn people into fish monsters. There's more to it than that, but not a whole lot. The plot definitely lacks the epic feeling that the other Suikodens have, but I suppose it serves its purpose. You'll benefit from having played Suikoden IV first, as it takes place just before the events in Suikoden Tactics and many of the old characters return.
Unlike Suikoden IV, the gameplay is the high point of this game. Like other Suikoden games, characters are made unique by the runes they carry. The rune system allows for customization as far as skills and spells go. One selling point of the game is the "elemental affinity" system, which is an alright idea. In addition to the standard tactical-RPG battle mechanics you'll encounter, you'll also need to pay close attention to the terrain your characters are standing on-- for example, characters with a fire affinity will be much stronger on a tile enchanted with fire than on a tile enchanted with water. You and your enemies have the ability to change the terrain in ways that add to the depth of the battle.
There's not too much to say here. The graphics are nothing special, including the spell effects. The character model detail isn't all that impressive, either. The character portraits are done in the standard manga/anime-style.
The music isn't bad. It's a shame you rarely get to hear the entirety of the town musics, because you simply don't spend enough time in them to do so. The voice-acting is alright, except for the main character. Not only should they have cast a male to voice him, but the chosen voice actor was simply poor.
The game has flaws, but you will be spending the majority of your time in battles (the best part of the game). Like all of the Suikodens, finding all of the characters can be an entertaining challenge, as well (although there are, sadly, not 108 characters this time around). The game has a fair replay value, and is a reasonable purchase for anyone who likes or would like to try the tactical-RPG genre.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 01/31/06
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