Hello and welcome to The Starlight Megaphone’s playthrough of Suikoden II, a JRPG released for the PlayStation in Japan on 17 December 1998, in America on 31 August 1999, and finally in Europe on 28 July 2000.
At its launch, the game did not meet with immediate financial success, hampered partly by Konami’s limited pressing for the game discs. Although it built upon the original release of Suikoden, the sequel remained largely faithful to the original’s gameplay, with a smattering of improvements meant to improve gameplay and flow. As time went on, consumer word-of-mouth helped to establish Suikoden II as one of the best games on the PlayStation system, and even as one of the finest JRPGs.
Clear protagonists and antagonists are the hallmark of the series, and Suikoden II is in many ways responsible for that distinction, with its character arcs that pose situations which were, at the time, almost unique in JRPGs. Instead of facing cut-and-dry representations of good and evil, the hero experiences the motivations for those actions and must even confront his own childhood friends, all within a game world that is only a few years removed from the events of the original Suikoden.
Suikoden II garnered an immense reputation in the years following its release, and the limited availability of the disc meant that, for some time, it was one of the most expensive titles to purchase used for the original PlayStation. Since then, however, the advent of digital releases–and Konami’s interest in leveraging existing franchises–has seen the release of Suikoden II on the PlayStation Network for PSP/PSV/PS3 at a bargain price. This, in turn, has helped to reduce the cost of the discs for those who prefer a physical edition.
The return of existing characters from the original game means that players of Suikoden II will benefit from prior experience with the series. And, Suikoden II established the series tradition of allowing players to load their completed save file from the previous game in order to gain benefits. If a player loads a completed 108 stars playthrough save file from Suikoden, then they will gain the option to recruit the original game’s hero as a playable character in Suikoden II, where the hero’s name will be ?cDohl, with the ? replaced by whatever the first letter of the hero’s name was in the original save file (e.g. if the Suikoden hero’s name was “Caspius”, then he would be “CcDohl” in Suikoden II).
As became typical of the franchise, Suikoden II is a traditional JRPG which features three kinds of battles: typical JRPG battles, large scale war-game battles, and personal one-on-one duels. The events in these battles can change the outcome of the game, even making possible to lose (or impossible to recruit) some characters. The hero seeks to right a terrible injustice, and fights against an oppressive and tyrannical power–along the way, he will recruit 108 Stars of Destiny who will populate his base of operations, expanding it and bringing to his party and base new talents–blacksmiths and innkeepers are joined by archers and fighters alike, giving players a vast array of options.
Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, secrets you have uncovered, and what characters you are using in your playthrough. Do you feel that the Suikoden series has held up since its initial release on the PlayStation? Or do you think that it is no longer relevant to modern gamers? Do you find the world immersive, lacking in direction, or constricting? Would you support a re-release of the series, or an entirely new game in the franchise? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.
The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game in three weeks:
– Week 1: Reunite at South Window.
– Week 2: Rescue Teresa.
– Week 3: Liberate Greenhill City.
– Week 4: Complete the game!
Please join in, even if you are behind on the playthrough. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series (use SuikoSource if you need a helping hand). Comment and tell your friends!
Without further adieu, it is our pleasure to invite you to join The Starlight Megaphone’s staff members and readers as we return to the Suikoden series for the first time since the summer of 2011 in The Summer of Suikoden II!