2002 had a number of RPGs and for the most part all were good. But none stand out as clearly as Konami’s Suikoden 3
. After viewing this game at E3 2002 I was at first a little worried. How would the game transition in to 3-D? How would the Trinity Sight system work? Would the story be as good as past games? Would I be able to beat it in less than twenty hours and still find all 108 characters? Well after sitting down and sinking a good fifty plus hours in the game I must say that everything I love about Suikoden is present in this amazing RPG.
If you’ve played past iterations of the Suikoden series then you know the story has heavy political overtones with war looming on the horizon. Nothing changes here, although this time it revolves around the territories of the Grasslands, the Zexen controlled areas and the nearby holy city of Harmonia. If you’ve played Suikoden 2
then you’d remember the short amount of time Harmonia participated in the final wars of the game. If not you won’t be missing much, you’ll be brought to speed on everything. The story follows the adventures of three key characters; Chris Lightfellow, the leader of the Zexen Knights, stubbornly dutiful and always looking to help Zexen. Next we have Hugo a young man from the Grasslands, which is a collection of six towns spread throughout the region. He is the son of a great warrior-chief; Lucia, she was also present in Suikoden 2 although much younger at the time. And lastly there is Geddoe, captain of a frontier defense unit for Harmonia. Each character has their own unique storyline to follow that is divided into chapters. After you complete a chapter you are free to stick with that character or choose another.
Each character is trying to search out the True Runes, which are the ultimate of runes, granting untold power and eternal life to their bearers. The search for the runes will eventually lead the characters on a search to find the legendary Flame Champion, a hero of fifty years ago who helped create peace in the Grasslands. To keep the game as spoiler free and dramatic as possible I recommend going through the game one chapter at a time for each character. As for the other characters in the game there are some most interesting individuals this time around along with a few people returning from the past games that you should immediately recognize. You’ll find that recruiting new members this time around will be a lot easier. Not like that whole bit of trading you had to do in Suikoden 2 just to get one character. You’ll find that most are quite ready and happy to join.
Now the graphics of this game are not visual splendor like that of Final Fantasy X
but Suikoden was never known to be flashy. The transition to 3-D graphics was handled quite well, although one very minor gripe that I have is that the character animations have a spot where they are trying to reset and it looks a bit choppy and can sometimes mess with the framerate. It is especially noticeable when riding a horse. But this is me being incredibly picky. However, to counteract this is perhaps the best anime introduction sequence ever to appear in a video game. The character art is up to standard Suikoden quality and all the character designs are well done.
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