The year was 1999. I was but a mere 10 years old. While walking around Al Muthana Mall in Kuwait City with my dad, we entered a games shop store. “What’s the latest PS1 games?” I asked, one of the most common ways of finding out what new games are out back in the day. He showed me a myriad of games but only one caught my eye. On the cover there was a young boy with red clothes and I thought that he looked cool. Turning it around and reading about the game sparked my interest even more, you can recruit 108 characters? Create and build your own castle? Awesome 6 player battle system? I was sold and bought it right away.
That game was Suikoden 2.
Suikoden 2 is what is known as a JRPG, a japanese style game where you role play as the main character, gain experience and level up by fighting monsters in a turn based battle system and fight crazy hard bosses! I loved JRPG games when I was younger, especially Final Fantasy and Breath of Fire, but this JRPG somehow touched me in a way other games haven’t before. It was probably the first game I can remember where I got really emotional about the story and characters in the game.
I don’t want to go too in depth with the story, but the basics are that you and your best friend, named Jowy, are caught up in a huge war where at first you were by each others sides but through fate are divided and become enemies. The third main character is Nanami, your older sister who’s personality is easy to fall in love with. The game is full of great dialogue, fascinating plot developments and gripping story telling. When someone asks me to show them a game with a great story I always point them towards Suikoden 2.
The music is breathtaking. The main theme and most of the music in the game is orchestrated. The melodies and themes are gripping and really lend well to many of the scenes from the story. I urge you to have a listen to my favorite track called Reminiscence which is played at the start of the game:
The character designs in this game are so fun. Many of them are cool, some of them are comedic and lots of them are really interesting. I found myself laughing tons of times during the game and it shows that they knew when to make you laugh for comedic relief.
You can actually recruit 108 characters in the game. Think of it like Pokemon where you’re trying to catch as many as you can. Some characters join automatically, while others are tough to recruit with certain requirements needed to be done before you can get them, like getting your castle to level 5, or already having 100 characters recruited. You can easily replay the game trying to get characters you missed, or even trying to recruit all 108. To this day, I have never completed the game after recruiting all 108 characters, which is what brings me to this blog entry.
You cannot get the “true” ending of the game without collecting all 108 characters before a certain event towards the end of the game.
I played the game when I was 10 and I recruited around 80 of the characters so I didn’t get the true ending. I replayed the game in 2007 when I was 17 and I recruited about 100 of the characters and still didn’t get the true ending. I felt this hole in my heart, like I would always have the burden that I never beat the game and got the true ending. I had to do it. It was my fate, just as it was the fate of the characters in the game to do what they had to do.
I put my nerd glasses on, downloaded a PSX emulator, loaded a PS1 save of Suikoden, where in the game if you do that you get special side quests related to the first Suikoden game as well as a handful of stat and equipment bonuses for characters from the first game, and started up Suikoden 2 again.
I rode a nostalgia trip. The beautiful orchestrated music, the fun battle system, the amazing characters and my very own castle. I seriously had so much fun replaying this game for the third time, and guess what, I did it. With the help of a guide on the Internet, I finally recruited all 108 stars of destiny and got to play and watch the true ending of the game.
I got tearey eyed while watching the true ending.
I highly encourage all those who enjoy RPG games to give Suikoden 2 a chance and you will easily see why this game is so great. Thank you Konami for making such a fun and well made game. It has a special place in my heart that I will cherish forever.