“I don’t care about breeding. A sword doesn’t need a fine lineage, it just needs to be sharp.”Luca Blight, Suikoden II
Hey, everyone! Ayana here.
This time, I’ll be taking a break from airing out my thoughts as a frustrated writer and instead, share my thoughts as a gamer. What, you didn’t expect that? Aww… I’ve had my fair share of games that I played. Now, I may be a dedicated player but only IF I really like the game. I’m picky when it comes to my games, you know. 🙂
Very Important to Note: This is NOT A REVIEW of the game. These are purely MY THOUGHTS of the game. I don’t do reviews because I suck at making them. Sure, I may find some faults in the game, but if the pros outweigh the cons, then I just overlook those faults. Eh, I’m not that hard to please. Give me a good story line coupled with cute/cool characters and I’m down with the game. Hence why I don’t do reviews, because I tend to create some biases.
Since this is the first time I’ll be sharing my thoughts about a game, what better game to talk about than the game that started it all, right?
I’ve written about this before on my previous blog. When I was a kid, I used to watch my brothers play video games. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of games with the Famicon such as Duck Hunt, Circus Carnival and Bomberman, but back then, I wasn’t really into video games (I grew up playing outside with the other kids, lol). I still remember getting scared of the howling wolf, Belzebub’s corpse and the gigantic Galamoth as I watch my eldest brother play Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
Suikoden II is special though.
Sure, I first experienced the game by watching my brother. Though I was a spectator, I helped him figure out the game by suggesting what to do or which paths to take. Or if he missed any treasures, I call him out on this. I even act as his guide because I would remind him of the roads he had taken when he gets stuck on something. Yeah, I was his sidekick when it comes to games.
Suikoden II is special not only because I was my brother’s sidekick, but also because it was my very first game that I played on the PS console. It is the game that will always be my inspiration in writing war/adventure games.
Playing and experiencing Suikoden II myself at such a young age has created timeless memories that now, everytime I play the game as an adult, it takes me back to those beautiful days where life was just… normal. Those happy days, where I was still innocent and naive, only seeing the world through rose colored lenses and my imagination was still wild and vivid. Ah, those were the days.
Published by Konami, it is the second installment in the Suikoden series. Set two years after the events of the original game, Suikoden II tells the story of two best friends who got embroiled in a war and ends up fighting against each other.
Riou (original name in japanese media), the game’s silent protagonist, and Jowy Atreides, his best friend, are both members of the Highland Army’s Unicorn Brigade. The game begins on a peaceful night that turns into a massacre when the State army launches a “surprise attack”. Riou and Jowy run to escape the onslaught, but stopped short when Jowy suspected that enemies may be lying in wait since there was only one way to escape. They went back to their commander, only to find out that their royal prince, Luca Blight, was the one who orchestrated the surprise attack to use it as an excuse to invade the City State of Jowston.
Riou and Jowy escape by jumping off a waterfall cliff and the two end up separated. And then they get caught up in a war between the Highland Kingdom and the City State of Jowston.
There’s also the lore of the 27 true runes in this game (I’ve paid homage to this on my Illusion story).
Like any other JRPGs during its time, in Suikoden 2, you play as Riou (you can name him whatever you want to), where you lead an army, build up your castle as you recruit allies to join your cause and the 108 stars of destiny.
Suikoden II boasts 108 gorgeous stars of destiny, all with different personalities and backstories. Most of them can assist you in battle, but since I have my biases, I only stick to a limited number of party members.
Of course, my main stay mage is none other than Luc (my beloved Luc!), who would become the basis for most, if not all, of my mage characters in the story.
Then there’s my powerhouses: Viktor, Georg Prime and Pesmerga. Riou is a given; he’s a great support and has decent stats for a hero. But my all rounder character? None other than young master McDohl!
Don’t get me wrong. I love Riou, he has good stats. But compared to McDohl and his Soul Eater Rune? I ALWAYS go back to Gregminster just to pick McDohl back, lol.
Fun Fact: McDohl is the protagonist of the first game and you can only unlock him if you load a saved file of the Suikoden 1 on the final stage.
And then we have those that do not fight: the non-fighter stars as I call them.
These people provide support as they contribute to the growth of your castle slash headquarters. Characters such as Leona, who you can talk to to change your party members. Or Hilda, the innkeeper where you can restore your hp and save your game, and Alex her husband, the shopkeeper. Then there are also characters who offer side quests/games, such as Yam Koo, with his fishing game. Or Karen, the dancer, where you… dance. But my favorite side quest/game is the cook-offs with Hai Yo! Man, that side quest is a lot of fun!
Aside from these, you can always go see Annallee to listen to the game’s soundtrack. Or who knows? You might even see her and her troupe on the stage and you can get to listen to their performance.
Oh, and of course. A special mention to the gorgeous army tactician. Lord Shu!!
In addition to the 108 lovable stars, the game also has its fair share of NPCs, such as the town mayors and villains.
Which leads me to this guy.
Luca Blight, hands down, is the most bad – ass villain I’ve ever encountered as a gamer. Sure, most of the villains in other games possess powerful magics on their disposals or superhuman strength. But what I admire from Luca Blight the most is that despite being just human, he has this almost superhuman strength, not injected by anything or powered by any rune, whatsoever. It was just raw, pure strength. Yes, he is evil as he wants to wipe out the whole City State. But given his back story, one would understand where his hatred was coming from. In the game, you fight Luca Blight three times, with three different parties every time. Then even when he gets rained down by arrows, he survives and challenges you to a one-on-one battle. If that doesn’t make him a bad-ass, then I don’t know what will.
Even Luca Blight’s lines are epic. He refers to the City State as a country of dogs and the weak as pigs, lol. These are just a few examples that add to his evilness and hatred. And if you’re still not convinced, just refer to the quote I have up there. 😛
I used to hate him before when I was a kid. But now as an adult, I understand his complexities and his driving factor as to why he wanted to wage a war and purge the world of all its evilness.
There are three types of combat in Suikoden 2. Normal combat, where you pick a party of six people and bring them with you to your travels. You fight a lot of monsters in here too, aside from Highland soldiers and Matilda Knights.
Then there’s the tactical, strategic battles, ala Fire Emblem or FF: Tactics (or Vandal Hearts!) where you lead your armies in defeating the Highland army.
And last but not the least, there’s the one-on-one duels, played in a rock, paper, scissor style.
I love most of Suikoden 2’s OSTs. But there’s a few that really stand out and are my favorite.
Reminiscence is one. It plays after you jumped off the cliff and you are shown a flashback of Riou and Jowy’s childhood. It invokes some kind of nostalgic feeling whenever I listen to it.
Then there’s Theme of a Moonlit Night, that always plays whenever there’s a big battle ahead or when you watch the scene between Flik and Nina.
Orrizonte is another. I love the melody and though I don’t understand the sung words, I like the meaning of the song.
But my all time-favorite is this: La Passione Commouve La Storia. Pretty epic! The rhythm, the beat, the melody and the lyrics! Man, I love it all! Everytime I would write my war stories, I would always have this on my playlist just so I can feel that epicness it exudes.
P.S. Gothic Neclord is pretty bad-ass. Give it a listen.
Storyline… Wait, need I say more? After reading this long entry?! Lol.
Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the story too much, so if you want to experience Suikoden 2’s story, I suggest you play the game. It’s available on the Playstation store for $9.99 only.
Now if you want to get a copy of the original game, good luck. Last I checked on Amazon, the lowest selling price is $196 for a Japan Import. As much as I would like to get my hands on an original disc, I’m a poor admin that couldn’t afford to spare that much money, especially not in the middle of a pandemic.
Or if you’re that kind of person who would rather read/spoil the whole story for yourself, Google is your friend. *winks*
To sum it all up: Suikoden II is a classic masterpiece. It is a timeless tale of magic, friendship and betrayal.
And Ayana….. OUT!