So Suikoden 1 is supposed to have been released on the UK and European PSN stores in January and it’s now February so I’m pretty pissed off right now, (EDIT: IT WAS OUT ON FEB 4TH AND I AM NOT PISSED OFF ANYMORE) but if they suddenly turn around and tell us it’s only on PS4 then I’m going to be really pissed off because SUIKODEN IS AMAZING.
Well, actually, Suikoden 2 is amazing whereas Suikoden 1 is slightly less amazing.
But it’s still pretty good even though there are some really glaring problems with it but we have to let it slide just a little because it is the first foray into this genre for Konami who would go on to produce a barrel of other Suikoden games and then Vandal Hearts 1, which was amazing, and Vandal Hearts 2, which ruined a perfectly wonderful game system, but let’s at least forgive them for creating Suikoden 2 because Suikoden 2 is clearly the most amazing RPG ever created aside from maybe Final Fantasy VII but that’s a completely different can of worms and I’m not going to argue with myself on that one.
And as such we plough headlong into the story of this groundbreaking title with the introduction of a nameless, mute main character and his annoyingly talkative friends/companions/family/whatevers. You can name him whatever you want, which is usually half of the fun of games like this because you know there will easily be a ‘I can feel you, Fart’ gag somewhere in there but for the sake of any further arguing, I suppose we’ll just call him Mutey. So Mutey turns out to be the son of one of the nation’s most beloved generals and he’s oh so proud of his wonderful son and surrounds him with three major bodyguards, one of whom is the most pansy-ass-prim-and-proper characters to ever stalk the face of videogaming who is almost obsessively creepy in terms of his ‘oh my, don’t do that’ shenanigans. There’s also the token lady guardian who actually, strikingly, doesn’t fit the usual female character mould and doesn’t come across as the damsel-in-distress mould either. She’s not a stereotypical female character, she is just simply a female character so NOT SEXIST AT ALL.
And then there’s Pahn.
Oh Pahn, you moronic piece of shit.
If anything, everything to happen in this game is because you’re just a fucking idiot.
Yeah you did. You done fucked it all up.
So basically, Mutey gets invited to become part of the nation’s army and some awful snivelling twat is told to look after him and he’s the typical bullying creep who’s like: “how can I get rid of this cretin for a week or so, so I can live it up with wine and bitches?” and is basically an example of corrupt politicians at work which is totally relevant even now OH NO I DIDN’T GO THERE. So yeah, he’s a twat and his sidekick’s a twat and they basically manage to cause the death of one of your best friends who happens to have lived for about 900 years because he has a True Rune and TRUE RUNES are better than not true ones because this type of NOT-FALSE RUNE means you get to not age so Ted, because that’s his name, has been alive for 1200 years and looks about 12 and has done for 1500 years. He gets attacked by the corrupt politicians and the EVIL WITCH WINDY – seriously, her name is Windy, you don’t need to make up any more fart jokes cos she’s got them allllllll covered – and he gives you his rune through some really primitive 2D graphic animation called THE RED RECTANGLE OF TRANSFERENCE.
And then he dies.
But yeah, it’s not a huge spoiler when it happens an hour into the game. Anyway, Pahn turns you in because he’s a GIANT MORON who fucks up and eventually he comes crawling back because he’s just a giant moron who can’t make up his mind whether to be loyal to you or loyal to the empire and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT HAPPENS.
Actually, he just changes his mind and you let him. No biggie. He just inadvertently caused the death of your best friend and caused you to become fugitives so yeah, no big deal at all.
Anyway, you’re on the run and you meet Viktor, who’s basically the giant ONE-HIT-KILL character of the game and his merry band of rebels who all wear capes, apart from one of them which isn’t the slightest bit suspicious at all now that I think about it, is it, Sanchez? Why don’t you have a cape? You should have a cape. Or will that make you look TOO rebellious? You don’t want to be in the cape gang, Sanchez? Fuck you then. Go have your not-cape party on your own. No one likes you, Sanchez.
So you meet Odessa. Odessa’s the big cheese of this merry band, and everyone loves her. She takes you under her wing but another guy called Flik is like ‘whoa, he could be a spy’ and ‘whoa, we don’t know this person and therefore I hate them’ and ‘wah, why does everyone say I’m immature when I don’t ate like a spoilt brat at all, wah’. Odessa wants you to help her take some plans for an attack to a little mountain town which has literally a dozen people living there and yet they, along with every dozen-populated town, say ‘oh my we don’t get many visitors’ and no offence, but it might be because YOU’RE ON THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN. WHY ARE YOU EVEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Just get on with your role of plot development and stop complaining. No one currrrr.
You come back to the hideout after a lengthy trip back and little bit of night time bonding with Odessa, who basically has you picked out as her successor even though she doesn’t plan to die anytime soon, which is obvious writer’s talk for ‘GOING TO DIE SOON’, and when you get back there, she dies.
DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING.
Well, it takes a while for her to die and everyone’s just so sad about it. She tells you to dump her body in the river and to take an earring to her brother in some village because otherwise everyone will lose hope and if that doesn’t sound like the start of the major storyline, I don’t know what will. Mutey runs off with everyone and then suddenly people who are obviously not dressed as NPCs are dotted around the place and inexplicably decide to join you on your quest and eventually, you get 108 of them all together and that’s the game.
You collect 108 characters. That is Suikoden’s thing. Yeah, there’s some 6-on-up-to-6 monster combat and apparently you can bride the monsters – sorry, that should be bribe but the translation in the early copies was apparently so poor that you thought you can marry the monsters, which range from annoying bees to pink balls of fluff to holly leaves that jump up and down really slowly and then run away because they realise that “OH MY GOD WE GON’ DIE” but it takes them an AGE to run away and you might as well boil the kettle at that point, that’s how long it takes for them to bugger off screen.
Eventually, you find a massive map of places to visit and the story gets a bit complicated and you have some weird rock-paper-scissors style battles against armies and it’s only hard to win if you don’t actually use a character to sneak a look at what your opponent is going to do next. One or two characters are like “THE OPPONENT’S NEXT MOVE IS… I’M SORRY I DON’T KNOW BECAUSE TEE HEE HEE GAME LOGIC” and you really hope that somewhere along the line they get shot in the face with the next wave’s barrage of arrows. Characters you collect can die and never come back and then you can’t complete the game properly with the proper ending but you can still complete it, you just can’t fight with them anymore and to be honest you feel no sense of loss because there’s so many other characters that big whoop, you’ll never notice. Plus, you mostly only speak to each character once when you get them unless they sell you stuff.
Deep down amongst the whole shebang, there’s some political intrigue and betrayal and fucking up on a grander scale, more so than Pahn’s fucking up, and while a lot of time is spent wondering how the hell to get Clive to join your party when HE NEVER APPEARS and whether or Quincy is a male or a female and why they don’t fight with a bow even though they talk about using their bow as their tool of justice or why they’re a shit character even though they won’t join you until you have 80 characters in your roster. What even is that?
But yeah, Suikoden is fucking ace for what it is. It’s pretty ugly by comparison to its sequel and a lot of the characters are collected haphazardly or through way too much effort even though they do NOTHING to advance the story or help out – Sarah needs some one-town fetch quests completing and all she does for you is your washing which, if it had a true bearing on the story, would have meant everyone was wearing only dirty clothes and clearly dying as a result, IN REALITY HAS NO BEARING ON THE STORY OR ANYTHING ELSE. Why must you torment us like this?!
Either way, Suikoden is like a set-up for the sequel which is a billion times better and I played that one first which means I’m clearly spoiled because 1 was rubbish by comparison and yet it’s still bloody good. I suppose back in 1995 (or 1997 in the EU), having 108 characters was a massive accomplishment so everyone was like “WHOA, 108” and yet no one bought it either way because 2D was out by that point even though Virtua Fighter was basically made up of squares and polygons looked rubbish when they first started coming out but 2D was so early 90s and by then we were mid-90s which is TOTALLY different like what even are you doing wearing that colour in 1995, that was so mid-July 1993, DUH.
Also, Pahn fucks up. A lot. Mutey still takes him back though so Mutey pretty much fucks up by proxy too.
Goddammit. You suck. You control Mutey so you suck. I suck.
THIS GAME DOES NOTHING FOR MY SELF-ESTEEM.