Glory, Tragedy, and 108 Stars of Destiny......that's right folks, Suikoden IS BACK!!
In the world of Japanese role-playing games, few have enticed games quite like the Suikoden series. In large part due to the sheer number of characters involved (through the classic "108 Stars of Destiny"), Suikoden games give players the chance to recruit party members to your cause. Always massive, always involving territorial fights for leadership; these are some of the few features the popular game series has maintained over the years. Although Suikoden III & IV have shown a lot of experimenting and in large part resulted in let downs for fans of the original Playstation games (Suikoden & Suikoden II), the fifth game in the series has managed to bring back the classic style. Partly due to the return of the original character designer, Suikoden V is also blessed with a truly fantastic story, with several twists and surprises as the hero, also Price of Falena, attempts to regain stature in his beloved homeland.
Boosting a large of number of lovable characters and original foes, this game is a total blast for fans of the series. From the hero's tactician, to a former gladiator champion, to the non-human, there is a little something for pretty much everyone in this tragic, yet glorious RPG classic. One of the best elements in V is the fast and varied game play. Of course you have tons of characters to choose from, but with military battlefield engagements and the addition of one-on-one fights, the game does not force players to spend too much time doing one specific task (namely dungeon crawling). The standard random encounters move pretty fast, compliments to several characters being able to attack at the same time (there is also an "auto" battle option which is a lot faster than selecting a move for 6 characters). Unfortunately, their isn't a large number of random monsters to fight, and random encounters can be a little boring except for the large number of runes (which of course are required to use any type of magic or special ability). The main flaws in V are in the form of bland visuals, large number of loading screens...both of which are easily forgiven based of the sheer amount of content found elsewhere in the game. If you want to get all 108 Stars of Destiny, players can expect a minimum of 70 hours of gaming, many players will wind up over 100 hours...and incredibly, it's completely worth it! There is also a number of different ending to experience, which helps a lot too, as players work their way towards the entire 108.
Suikoden V is a Playstation 2 classic, simple as that. Not rating it among the top 10 Japanese role-playing games for the PS2 would be a huge misjudgment. Especially fans from the original two games in Konami's feature RPG series need to take note of V. Much of the original attraction and interest has been revitalized, and things are definitely looking up for this once-in-doubt game series. After finishing Suikoden V, I now personally can't wait to see what lies in store for the sixth game in the series, which will most likely be a Playstation 3 game. Go out and buy this game now! You can thank me later.