Just short of 104 hours spent on this game...
Anyway Suikoden 3 is of course the 3rd game in the highly popular main suikoden series. Released around 2002 on PS2 in america and japan but unlike the other 4 games in the main series it didn't get a PAL release for some reason. That is until a few weeks ago when, in following Suikoden 1 and 2 getting a PSN release allowing them to be played on PS3 and vita (and for a lot less than the £60+ they were going for on ebay) they also brought Suikoden 3 to the PSN store!!!
For anyone (probably most people here) not aware the suikoden series as a whole basicly consists of diffrent regions/areas of the same world either at or on the brink of war normally caused by or influanced by the power of the 27 true runes or the people seeking thier power.
The main character gets caught up in this one way or the other and must gather thier 108 stars of destiny (Party members/support characters), build an army and defeat the enemy force.
That's a very vague and simple way of doing it but it gives the general idea. Suikoden 3 is set mostly around the Grass Lands, an area that contains diffrent clans such as the Duck clan and lizard clan instead of one unified nation and thier war/border disputes with the Zexen Confederacy, a state formed by merchants. The game starts out with potential for peace talks. (At the start of the game? good luck)
One of the biggest diffrence between Suikoden 3 makes its self apparent at this point making you choose between 3(Arguably 4) main characters.
Hugo(The guy at the very front of the above image) - The only child of the Chief of the Karaya Clan, one of the Grasslands 6 clans. He is sent to the Zexen council as a messenger,
Chris(The girl to the left of Hugo) - New commander of the knights of Zexen and one of the 6 great Knights, she and her knights are sent to the peace talks in place of the council.
Geodde(Guy with the eye patch) - Leader of a band of mercs working for Harmonia(A large powerful nation that show up often) as a border force on the grasslands, sent to investigate the return of "The Fire Bringers"
and then there is Thomas(guy between hugo and geodde) who is this games Tenkai Star (Chief Star of Heaven) what is the first star, the star normally held by the main character and the one who unites the 108 stars. So I count him even if not really.
The game uses a chapter system where you can select what character to play as and play thier next chapter with Hugo, Chris and Geodde all haveing 3 taking place around the same time (making it best to do everyones chapter one before doing someones chapter two but you don't have to. Just depends how you want to view the story) with Thomas getting his own optional two chapters (what add to the story)
Each character gets thier own party members as well as some overlap in the optinal ones however, except for the shops, untill late in the game characters can only be used by the person who recruits them (so if Hugo recruits X then Geodde can't put X in his party) What in part leads to or causes one of the biggest issues for me or failures in the game.
of the 108 characters you recruit, while some run shops or are there for support, you still end up with like 50 odd party members. Of these characters there will be ones you like and ones you don't. In the other games you are have your main character and maybe 1-2 party members forced for set party members but that still leaves 3-4 open spaces to use characters you like. 3 how ever has manditory partys for most of the game especially during story missions where all party members will be set to the point that more than once I was told to pick a party then 20 seconds later it changed it to a forced party for the story.
This isn't so bad if you like the characters you have to us like Geoddes party but there is normally people you would rather use. Some of the avaliable characters include Ducks, Lizards, a dog, Elves, a Dwarf, a griffin, A dragon that can be mounted, a giant bug, a wooden robot that can turn into a giant mecha, A guy with a talking sword, a berserker, ninjas, a grim reaper like guy, a traveling circus/music group and a little girl who fights with a hand puppet.
But no you have to use 6 knights. D: oh ok.
The battle system for the most part is a simple turn based one however you can see on the bar how long each move will take before commiting to it, some actions if untrained can take 2 turns, allowing you to be knocked out of them. The turns also don't simply play out with the character swinging thier sword and the enemy takes damage but the character must run up and strike the enemy what isn't 100% as the enemy can get in the way, forcing your character to strike them or even your own characters can get in your way, especially when they are larger like on horse back or the dragon for example what can prevent you from attacking at all.
Your party of 6 is also split into 3 groups of 2 instead of just being a 6 person party like normal. Of course it's better to put mages in back row, tanks in front row, some characters can use unite attacks if paired together in groups of 2 while other larger unite attacks are full party things. (Unite attacks are normally strong attacks that use up multible peoples turns what cause a negative effect such as unbalanced meaning you can't do anything next turn (unless you use items or runes to counteract the negative)
It's all quite simple and easy enough to beat with any party you may have. There are some other occourances though.
The most obvious one being Duels and Stratagy battles.
These are both story related battles for the most part.
Duels are simple one on one battles using a rock paper scissors style battle system
Attack > Defence > Deathblow > Attack
each turn your opponent will say something suggesting what they will do next but it isn't always clear. If you go into these with low health (what can happen as there's no warning) it can easily lead to a game over.
Stratagy battles are the true evil however as stratagy battles are the place you are most likely to have your characters die.
Yes die. Suikoden has perm death and you need to keep all 108 alive for the true ending and as the game goes on the stratagy battles get bigger, meaning you need to use more characters to fill out your battle units so you really need to spend a good time grinding (I spent like half a day) or prepare for them to die.
The battles themselves play out in an automated version of the normal battle with the option to retreat. You need to move your 4 man units around the changing maps using attacks and retreats to achieve the overall goal what can be escaping, lasting X turns or beating a boss. In truth it's not overly complicated or that hard just the risk of death.
Graphics wise...well it's a PS2 game. It doesn't look too bad for a PS2 game and the more you play the better it seems but still. Few games from that or current gens have aged well. In the chase of of better more realistic graphics the result is just becoming games that look horrible half a year later while many sprite based games with diffrent art styles still look nice.
So yeah conclusion. It is a great game. Highly enjoyable. 7/10 wouldn't have played it for 100 hours if this wasn't the case, spending ages leveling up characters. It is, however not as good as Suikoden 1 and 2.
I mentioned an issue I had with it above. it's minigames also weren't as good. Suikoden 3 has horse races...except you can't race anyone, just run in a circle jumping boxes... while suikoden 2 has an iron chef contest where you must battle against evil chefs winning recipies you can use as you do so. WHERE'S MY IRON CHEF CONTEST 3!?
another thing I should note is Suikoden 3 continues on from Suikoden 2 in allowing you to load the previous games save. What allows you to obtain some extra items, have some characters come at higher levels and say some diffrent things. However, as this is apparently the only PS2 game to load PS1 game saves, the function wasn't included in PS3 saves...so you need to get an edited save online for this to work.
So yeah good game, 7/10, recomend it, Recomend playing 1 and 2 first but yeah. And with that I will leave you with this...
(ment to start at 4m29s but isn't so jump there)