Suikoden 3 has just hit the PSN stores for PS3, developed by Konami and released back in 2002 on the PS2, sadly missing out Europe in their initial release. Bring us back to 2015 and out now on PSN for all countries, being a port of the original game for the PlayStation 3 this game doesn’t have much changed to the gameplay or graphics and instead joins its brothers 1 and 2 on the network. Being a fan favourite release as well as one of the least favourites for others, can Suikoden 3 survive in today’s gaming world or will it fall to its age?
With the addition of “Trinity Sight System” the player can play the game as 3 different protagonists, Hugo who is a clan member of a local village, Chris who is a knight of a merchant force and Geddoe who is a member of the Frontier Defence Force. Along with these 3 characters you also have the option of naming the “Hero” of the game, who is the Flame Champion and a main plot point for the characters.
While playing Hugo you are sent to visit the Zexen capital and hand over a truce offer between his clan and the city. Though if it went well that wouldn’t be much of a story, so it falls apart shortly after and you are off on a journey of revenge and wanting to defend the clans of the grasslands.
Chris will find herself as acting Captain of the Zexen Knights, though her attitude to the council she follows is souring as her views on their methods are getting worse and worse. Tensions boil even more with the attack on the clans.
With Geddoe you will be the leader of a defence force unit, mostly mercenaries who work for Harmonia. Looking for clues on the Fire Bringer will bring him closer to new companions on his journey to defend the Grasslands.
The three characters will meet eventually and their conversations are something to look forward to, along with the decisions you will make as you chosen protagonist.
The main game can last you around 30 hours with minimal side quests and completion, but with all Suikoden games there are the 108 stars you can recruit into your team, unique characters with skills and spells to help you in fights or to join the side-lines. By clearing the side content and gathering characters you can reach upwards of 60 hours.
Gameplay in Suikoden 3 is both simplified and more complex than other RPG’s. You select a point to travel to on the main map and you will go to that screen on the world, mostly smaller in scale then an actual over world but it takes less time to go between place to place. While on a screen you can enter random battles, talk to NPC’s and enter your menus. Towns and villages are where you can sharpen your weapons to increase their damage, learn new skills and improve ones you already have like improved damage, higher critical chance etc.
Combat and party setups are done quite differently in this game then other RPGS, in normal Suikoden fashion there are 108 characters for you to recruit, most of them can join you in battles. Each character has their own set of stats and specific skills, like parrying or affinities for elemental attacks. You choose 3 sets of duo teammates that work together in combat, combining their skills and magic or hitting in one round together, these 6 characters are who you take into combat. Battles are in an always in motion battlefield, with characters moving around the space to get good vantage spots, and lining up their attacks, instead of the static 2 sided turn based system of other games.
Besides normal battles there are also Army battles where the game turns into more of a strategic genre set on a grid. Occupying squares for advantages and bonuses allows you an easier win and takes them from the other side. Placement of units is key as adjacent units can aid in attacking for assured victory, though the battle between units is the normal combat system with a sped up feel with AI taking over the battle for you.
Minigames also return for this release, with dice and gambling games including horse racing. These are mostly accessible in one location and that is for you to find.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
It has been around 13 years since this game’s first release and I am saddened to say the time difference is felt harshly. The graphics are rather outdated, along with the animations, and the game feels rather slow and old compared to other entries in the series. I couldn’t see many changes made to the game in this port, leaving it in its original state but in my view this doesn’t help new players want to pick the game up. While it keeps all the nostalgia of the series without updating it to today’s standard I can’t help but feel it won’t be received well by new players.
Music in Suikoden 3 is still top notch, from its clan tracks that fit well with the grasslands atmosphere and history, to the battle songs that really amp up fights. Music was free flowing throughout and I couldn’t’ find one space where they lacked a good piece of music to fit the scene or was left with silence.
Overall I give Suikoden 3 a 3/5, it was a great game in its time but it falls short in today’s market. Sluggish gameplay, at least till the later stages of the game, will put of players and really harpers on the story at times. Age hasn’t treated this release well and only fans of the original game, or Suikoden as a series, will enjoy this game.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.