Suikoden 2 cover

The Avocado Plays Suikoden 2! Part 0

There’s been some interest recently amongst Avocados in the Games Threads about playing the classic PS1 RPG Suikoden 2, and so today I wanted to kick off our “game club” for the game. So please join us in playing (or replaying!) Suikoden 2. We’ll be breaking the game into three chunks for discussion, to provide a chance to talk about the game as it unfolds, and hopefully provide a mix of structure and time for everyone to play.

What is Suikoden 2?

Released in North America in 1999, Suikoden is a critically acclaimed RPG by Konami. The franchise is inspired by the Chinese epic The Water Margin, a tale about the gathering of 108 Stars of Destiny to form an army. In contrast to the more epic in scope RPGs of the era, Suikoden games are often smaller in scope, with a heavy focus on political drama. Think Game of Thrones more than Final Fantasy. The game is 2D, featuring some great and incredibly expressive spritework. Unfortunately, released in the wake of juggernauts Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 8 and the golden age of PS1 RPGs, Suikoden 2 didn’t find an audience and became a cult classic rather than a high seller. However, in the years since it has found acclaim as one of the all-time RPG greats.

The story centers on two friends, each given a piece of a powerful magical artifact, who get caught up in a war between the City-States of Jowston and the Kingdom of Highland. You must try to unite the Jowston city-states against the forces of the mad prince Luca Blight. The game features 108 characters to recruit (some playable in combat, others providing other bonuses as you grow your army). Along the way you will build a base, fight a vampire, and possibly stop a cult of chefs who hope to use their food to take over the world.

There are three major forms of combat in the game: Most battles are classic turn-based RPG battles, featuring teams of six. Similar to Chrono Trigger, some combinations of characters can execute combo attacks for increased damage or range. Other battles are large scale tactical battles in the style of turn-based strategy RPGs. The third form is one-on-one duels, rock-paper-scissors style combat in which you must predict your opponent’s move based on their dialogue.

Do I need to play Suikoden 1 first?

No. Unlike Final Fantasy, the Suikoden games are set in the same world, and so there is some crossover between the games. Suikoden 2 takes place three years after Suikoden 1, in a neighboring region of the world. While there are recurring characters (and some neat bonuses if you transfer your save), Suikoden 2 is a standalone plot that does not rely on knowledge of the original game.

How will we be dividing up the game?

How Long to Beat pegs Suikoden 2 at roughly 30 hours. We’ll be tackling the game in 3 chunks, which should roughly be a third of the game each (hopefully – I am working off memory of a game I haven’t played in probably 15 years). We’ll have discussions every two weeks, so we’ll discuss the first section of the game on September 30.

I know this schedule may not work for everyone, but it seemed like the best balance of time and pacing. Here are the breakpoints for each section:

Part 1 (September 30): Through the Hill Top Summit

Part 2 (October 14): From after the Hill Top Summit through a major battle sequence in which you must assemble three different parties to tackle a challenging foe

Part 3 (October 28): After that major battle through the end of the game

How can I play?

Suikoden 2 is a bit frustrating in that availability is limited. Originally released for the PS1, it wasn’t commercially successful and so original copies fetch quite a high price on the secondary market. Konami did release the game on Playstation Network, so it’s most easily available for the PS3, PSP, and PS Vita. You can purchase it for $10 on PSN (in America, at least). There may also be… other methods of acquiring it, if you’re so inclined.

Questions about the game or the format? Post below! Hope you will join and dive into one of the best RPGs of all time!