We get our hands on the Japanese import of the fourth chapter in this popular Konami RPG series.
Suikoden IV is the fourth entry in Konami's popular role-playing game series that features 108 characters in each title. We got our hands on the recently released Japanese import of Suikoden IV for the PlayStation 2 and checked out what's new with this entry in the series.
In Suikoden IV, you take the role of the main character, an orphan who worked as a servant for the Fingerfoot family, which governs the country of Gaien, where the game starts out. The young son of the Fingerfoot family, Snow Fingerfoot, has been your lifelong friend, and you are training together to serve in the Knights of the Sea army that protects Gaien.
The game begins as you and Snow go through your last training to become official soldiers of the army. After a night of celebration from getting accepted into the Knights of the Sea, you and Snow go on your first mission to guard a shipment of herbs. Snow discovers that the cargo isn't actually herbs but rather rune ammunition that's bigger and more powerful than anything he has seen before. What's worse, the ship gets ambushed by deadly pirates. Despite being assigned as the mission leader, Snow loses his cool and flees in an escape boat, leaving you and the rest of the crew to fend for yourselves. While you and the crew manage to beat the evil pirates and their vicious Captain Brand, Brand suddenly raises his hands and uses a mysterious force to turn everyone into ashes, except for you, for some unexplained reason. You're then left on the boat to duel with Brand. Fortunately, the army's general, Glen Cott, rescues you from the captain at the nick of time.
The story begins to take a twist from here. Captain Brand turns out to be the possessor of the Rune of Punishment, which is one of the 27 runes in the Suikoden series. The Rune of Punishment is bestowed with powerful magic, but it's also a bit cursed and drains the life of its user whenever it is used. The rune also has a distinct characteristic of picking someone nearby as its new host whenever its possessor dies. Upon slaying Captain Brand, Glen inherits the powerful, but cursed, rune. While the pirates are defeated and everyone is saved, the incident causes a rift in the friendship between your character, who stayed to fight, and Snow, who chickened out. After they return to land, a seemingly endless fleet of pirate ships attacks the harbor where the Knights of the Sea are situated. Having no option other than to back down against the pirates, Glen uses the power of the Rune of Punishment to annihilate them. But Glen dies as a result of using the rune, and you, one of the only two people nearby to witness Glen's death, become the new possessor of the rune. Snow, who was also witness to Glen's death and your inheritance of the rune, reports it to his father. Shortly after, you are charged with murdering Glen and are exiled from Gaien, which is where your adventure in the game begins.
Suikoden IV takes place 150 years prior to the first Suikoden. Some characters from past installments in the series will appear in the game, such as Jeane and Viki. Since your character is a solider of the sea, Suikoden IV takes place as much at sea as it does on land. The controls are fairly conventional. You walk around by tilting the left analog stick and talk with people or search nearby objects by pressing the circle button. Holding R1 while walking will allow you to dash faster than just tilting the analog stick all the way, while holding the X button will make you walk slowly. An addition to Suikoden IV that makes it significantly different from other RPGs is that while the game has quality 3D graphics, it lets you change the camera angle freely by using the right analog stick. Further, the L1 button lets you change the screen angle to a first-person view, so you can experience the game from the perspective of the game's main character.