Konami has announced that Suikoden IV has shipped to retail stores and is now available for the PlayStation 2. The role-playing franchise first appeared on the PlayStation in 1995 in Japan and made its way to America in late 1996. The fourth installment of the series features enhanced graphics, recorded voice-overs for several of the game's many characters, and a revamped battle system.
Gamers will assume the role of a young hero blessed and cursed by the Rune of Punishment, a powerful source of magic that inflicts damage on targeted enemies and the user casting its magic. Following the ancient Chinese legend the series is based on, the hero will be helped by the 108 Stars of Destiny, characters of different creeds who come together to accomplish fantastic feats.
Suikoden IV's landscape is a bit of a departure from the series' normal mountainous terrain and great plains. Most of the game takes place on the high seas near an expansive archipelago that's filled with mysterious enemies and discoveries. In a Charles Darwin-meets-Hernando Cortes fashion, gamers will hop from island to island, gathering information, adding party members, and eliminating native monsters. The game will also feature naval battles between seafaring vessels, which will exploit the game's new dynamic camera system.
Suikoden IV is rated "T" for Teen and is available for the SRP of $39.99. For more information, be sure to sail over to GameSpot's previous coverage.