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Suikoden- A mature JRPG that respects your time (for the most part)

Content of the article: "Suikoden- A mature JRPG that respects your time (for the most part)"

Ever since I played chrono trigger I had been looking for a good JRPG for years, to the point where I started hating the genre. I had given up on more than a dozen jrpgs. The incessant grind, stories having maturity level of a poorly written high-school drama, excessive fan service etc turned me off. Yeah, it’s a matter of taste and I don’t judge people who are entertained by that but I figured chrono trigger was an exception to the genre and went back to playing western RPGs.

Recently got a vita to add to my handheld console collection and was finally able to play the much recommended Suikoden.

The pacing of this RPG is very similar to games releasing today, the story (although starts off with some cliches) hits all the right notes of a medieval drama. And then it progresses into a castle management-lite very much like dragon age inquisition ( why haven’t more western RPGs copied this concept earlier?). The plot seems so ambitious for a 2D rpg that it often feels rushed and some side stories feel truncated even.There are a lot of dark sub-plots involving chemical warfare, class divide, racism and genocide.

Villains aren’t just good or bad. You don’t have to kill all the bad guys but just when you feel safe that the choice of eliminating someone rests with you, it pulls the carpet from under your feet and you’re left staring at the screen in horror, as ur character ends up killing the one person you had hoped to spare.

There are two main problems with this game though-

  • The characters you need to collect(convince then to join ur army), 108 to be precise, that’s required to get the canon ending. But for someone who hates collectathon games, this was surprisingly easy. There is a list on Suikosource and it’s in order of the plot. Except for one character who requires a particular drop item with low drop rates, it was a breeze. The list has a fair number of spoilers but to me it felt like a fair trade off to get the canon ending. If this game came out today, it would have 108 map icons probably and that brings us to next problem

  • There is no map, not even a static one, till half of the game is done and even then it’s tied to a character you collect, which is optional in the first place.This was a bit annoying but you can google the image of the map and make do with it.

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Overall for a fraction of the cost I pay for modern single player games, I found myself enjoying a tight 20-30 hour game from 1995 which I ( a 30 year old with responsibilities and work) managed to complete in a week without any frustrations. Yeah it’s on the easier side (for a JRPG) thankfully. Looking forward to Suikoden 2.

P.S: Please do recommend similar JRPGS that have mature themes.


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