Suikoden 2 was one of the most requested games that fans wanted to be re-released on the PlayStation Store. After years of trying, Sony finally launched the digital version of the JRPG on December 9, 2014, in North America.
So, is the classic game worth playing on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita? Let’s take a look at a few factors before coming up with a conclusion.
About the Original Release
Suikoden 2 came out first for the PSOne on September 29, 1999, during the middle of the golden era of JRPG releases following the massive success of Final Fantasy VII. The second Suikoden game ended up getting lost among more popular games in the genres, including those that were released in the same year: Final Fantasy VIII, Grandia, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and Star Ocean: The Second Story.
While word eventually got around that Suikoden 2 is an excellent experience, Konami only released a limited print run of the game in North America and never reprinted the product. Because of this, it quickly became a rare title that rocketed up in price.
You can check out its current price tag for the physical release with this link on Amazon.
About the Digital Version
There were apparently some kind of issue that held up the digital re-release of Suikoden 2 in North America. Eventually, Sony was able to work out the problems to launch the downloadable version on the PlayStation Store for the PS3, PSP and Vita. So, instead of paying the absurd price for the original disc copy, you can play the role-playing game via the much cheaper digital option.
What Makes Suikoden 2 So Special
So, what makes Suikoden 2 so special that many gamers are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to play it?
One of the biggest factors in the story. You start out as the protagonist, who doesn’t have a name, in the brigade from the Highland Kingdom. Eventually, you will end up going to war in an epic political struggle with an added emotional and personal touch. You are also going to encounter some of the most memorable characters in any role-playing game, including the ruthless Luca Blight and noble Jowy Atreides.
The battle system in Suikoden 2 is pretty basic as you can attack, cast rune magic in addition to using items. With that said, the fights against regular enemies last pretty quickly, especially if you use the “Auto-Battle” command. Not to mention that you will be able to increase the levels of your under-leveled characters rapidly as well. With that said, some of the boss battles in the game should provide plenty of challenge. Unlike other turn-based systems, the combat is Suikoden 2 has aged pretty well over the years.
Aside from the regular battles, the game includes two other types of combat systems. The first is the one vs. one duels where you basically have to play rock-paper-scissors (in this case, wild attack-attack-defend) against an opponent. The other will allow you to partake in massive skirmishes, which effectively turns the game into a grid-based tactical role-playing game. These two types of battles not only make the experience more diverse but also add emphasis to some of the fights.
One last notable feature that makes the game unique, especially if you haven’t play the other Suikoden installments, is being able to recruit 108 members to your army. These individuals will help you out in one way or another, whether during combat or outside of it. Not to mention that your base will get bigger the more recruits you get while the true ending, which is definitely worth getting, is going to be achievable.
As great as the second Suikoden game is, it is not exactly perfect. Even when it was released, the sequel was not much of a looker with its 2D sprites, which can get especially blocky when the camera zooms into the action.
The other major issue is the translation. As great as the plot is, the dialogue is plagued with errors that will take you out of the otherwise immersive experience. Even with these problems, the game is still an excellent ride, especially for fans of the JRPG genre.
Should You Also Play the First Suikoden?
Of course, you might want to buy the first game too if you are planning to get the second one. A lot of the positives we mentioned above can also be applied to the original title, only it wasn’t as well realized when compared to the sequel. Not to mention that you can also import your save data from Suikoden to Suikoden 2 to unlock several bonuses, including a special party member.
Last but not least, a lot of the characters from the first game also re-appeared in the second. So you will be able to appreciate some of the cameos even more in the sequel.
The gameplay and story elements of Suikoden 2 hold up extremely well even by today’s standards. If you are a fan of JRPGs, the game is definitely worth playing if you haven’t already.
To get the full experience, we also suggest playing through the first Suikoden (which is also available on the PlayStation Store for the PS3, PSP and Vita) and then importing you save data to the sequel to get the complete experience.