Suikoden somehow blends the dichotomy of a tight, personal experience and a world-affecting JRPG. I was surprised to find that despite travelling the entire world, visiting dozens of towns and recruiting up to 108 characters in your posse, Suikoden clocks in at 20-25 hours of game - not that that’s a bad thing by any stretch. Suikoden has a clear beginning, middle and end without having hours of excess side content and grinding built in - something modern RPG’s could well learn from.
That 108 characters to recruit was a particular sticking point for me - I was sure that I 1) would barely recruit 50% of the characters, and 2) wouldn’t remember most of them anyway. Suikoden somehow endears every single character to the player, having the collecting aspect be a (quite fun) key part of the game. I used a guide for some - Clive and Jabba were a bit more difficult - but are 100% worth it for what happens toward the final battle.
The game has a real good flow to it - once you get into the thick of it, the rhythm of heading to a new area, moving through the localised story beats, hitting the crescendo of that area’s plot then having the downtime to explore and recruit is satisfying. I especially loved the storyline involving Neclord and the Warriors Village.
8 hours into Suikoden, I still wasn’t sure if I was getting into this game, which seemed damning. But at 10 hours, something weird happened with the save file on my Vita, causing me to need to rebuild the Vita database, delete the game and re-download it - at which point I breathed a sigh of relief at the game working. I realised just how bummed I was at the idea of not seeing Suikoden through to the end during this process, and how much I was really getting into this adventure. Also, reading this tips post at Kotaku really helped me right the rudder in those beginning to middle hours.
Early on, I was of the thought that maybe these PS1 JRPG’s are only great if you were really into them at the time. Having completed the game, I can safely say that they are still 100% worth going back to, regardless of if you were into them or not - they set the stage for what has come since, and stand as excellent stories (and fun games) in their own right. Very much looking to digging into Suikoden 2 some time this year - I hear that’s an alright game?
Games Left to Play: 110
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300