The entire RPG genre seems extremely targeted to a select group of gamers, and do not cater for the casual gaming masses. This can probably due to the fact that they require a great degree of time and patience, and certainly would not appeal to those looking for a quick fix. I remembered clocking well over 100 hours on Xenogears and Suikoden III, getting fully immersed on all that the games had to offer. Well today we are going to check out another game out of the hugely successful Suikoden franchise, which is Suikoden Tactics for the PS2. So can Suikoden Tactics keep the series alive and well? Read our full review to find out!
Previous Suikoden games have really been known for their stories, combined with great strategic turn-based RPG gameplay. The main draw of the series has always been the characters, 108 of them to be precise. The problem with that huge of a cast is that many are not at all developed, with only a simple paragraph or so justifying their inclusion into the game. You don’t certainly feel any degree of attachment to a whole lot of them, unlike say character-driven games like Final Fantasy. This has been the staple of the series since the beginning, and one that only fans will love and appreciate.
The actual core of the gameplay takes the typical Suikoden style and kind of tinkers around with it. The game basically has some different elements, which of course gives the whole offsetting factor that many RPG games are noted for. The different elements in the game are all given a specific color to go along with the elements and this in turn makes it easier to see which characters have the elements, since the game give you a lot of characters to handle.
The actual gameplay itself is still a big game of Risk or Stratego in my opinion just in a different environment. You will be moving your characters along these environments, trying to gain strategic advantages while making sure the elements match up. This is important because, if heaven forbid you did get on the wrong element, you will quickly see your health start fading away. Of course start to do well in the game and then you will begin to be able to allocate skill points, which although is not a main part of the game is still important nonetheless.
One of the other neat features that I have not yet talked about with Suikoden Tactics is the co-op feature, which allows you to partner up and go for huge hits during the game. Although this also is not a huge new improvement, it is something new to add to the mix and doesn’t take a whole lot of skill to learn. These have to be timed perfectly and although they can be turned into a huge gain for your side, they also can do the exact opposite if you’re not careful.
When I look at my time in Suikoden Tactics, I have to say that my experience did feel a bit bland and that brings me back to the story of the game, which is literally just a complete waste of time. The story is just downright boring and it really takes you away from the actual good parts of the game. Unfortunately the good parts, which is the gameplay, gets the job done but don’t try to be more than that. While the gameplay is good, I just felt that there were some serious missed opportunities in this game.
Suikoden Tactics is one of those games that could have been a great looking game but then again just never tried to improve upon the Suikoden visual style that has been in place for quite sometime now. The environments are pretty bland and don’t have any real strong qualities to them, as the environments don’t really do much for the overall feel of the game. Suikoden Tactics also kind of lacks in the character models, as they are not all that detailed either. Overall the visuals could have been much better than the final product.
Suikoden Tactics has some really severe ups and downs that cause this game to be both great and terrible all in the same game. You have the story, which is just plain awful, and then you have the gameplay, which is actually quite good. The gameplay has quite a bit of strategic value to it and does take some time to master. I feel that while the gameplay has some good quality to it there also is plenty of room to take this game further. Suikoden has had some great games in the past and all though this game is good it certainly isn’t great.
RPG fans will definitely enjoy this game for a lot of its strategic elements that help the game move at a very consistent and entertaining pace. This game may not be the best RPG experience out on the market, but it’s also one of the few that have come out this holiday season. If you’re in the market for an RPG, Suikoden Tactics comes highly recommended as a rental.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.