By: Matt C. on December 8, 2002
As a newcomer to the popular Suikoden series, I wasn't quite sure what to expect in Suikoden III. I've certainly heard good things about the two previous games on the PSX, but I've never actually gotten the chance to sit down and play one of them until now.
Suikoden III starts off 15 years after the concluding events of Suikoden II. Instead of taking on the role of one main character, Suikoden III offers players the chance to experience the storyline between three unique characters -- Hugo (son of the Karaya Clan Leader in Grassland), Chris (leader of the Knights of Zexen), and Geddoe (commander of the 12th unit from Harmonia). Konami calls this the "Trinity Sight System" and it is definitely a welcome addition to the game.
Being able to view the main storyline through the view of three characters' perspectives is really refreshing and I wish that more RPGs did this as well. The interweaving story is confusing at first, due to all of the stuff that you have to keep track of for each character, but the confusion starts to wear off after a couple hours into the game.
Suikoden III also offers 3 styles of combat: party battles, one-on-one duels, and army battles. The party battles are turn-based just like most other RPGs, but you control 3 pairs of two characters. You can only enter in one command for each pair, so the formation of your team is very important. The majority of the combat takes place via "party battles", but the occasional one-on-one duels and army battles keep things interesting.
As for the 108 Stars of Destiny, it has made a return in Suikoden III. Being able to recruit over 100 playable characters is truly awesome and it adds depth to the game. I've personally spent hours upon hours just trying to recruit and build up as many people as possible so that I could customize my own elite battle team.
Despite being released almost a year after Final Fantasy X, Suikoden III looks nowhere near as good as Square's 2001 masterpiece. Don't get me wrong, Suikoden is not an ugly game, it just looks dull when compared to FFX. On the good side, the anime-inspired character models look great and some of them have humorous personalities.
If you have the patience to wade through the slow beginning, there is no doubt in my mind that you'll find Suikoden III to be a rewarding RPG. Definitely a game worth asking for this Christmas. Highly recommended.
Graphics: 7 Sound: 8 Replay Value: 6 Ingenuity: 7
Overall Score: 9.0
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