Suikoden III in set in a fantasy/medieval world where the Zexen Federation are run by a power hungry council and they start attacking other tribes and villages.The Zexen population consists mainly of humans and has an army of Knights,the there's other tribes/villages that consist of humans,duck humanoids and reptilian humanoids.
Zexen sends it's Knighs to attack a tribal village named Karaya and burns down the village,as well as sending knights to attack the reptilians and it looks like war is going to break out until the nation of Harmonia start attacking Zexen and the other villages and Harmonia have a more powerful army than Zexen and the villages combined,which means they must join forces to fight Harmonia.Harmonia make the people of the nations they conquer into slaves.The Harmonians plan to use the power of magic runes to give them god like abilities.
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You'll see the story from the perspective of 3 different characters,which are Hugo,Chris and Geddoe.
Hugo is a teenager from the Karaya village.Chris is captain of the Zexen knights and
Chris killed Hugo's friend named Lulu and Hugo hated Chris at first.However,Chris didn't want to attack the Karayan village,but she was reluctantly following orders,and Lulu attacked Chris first and she killed him in self defence.
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Geddoe is a mercenary from Harmonia but he isn't a member of their army and doesn't really care what happens to the world,as long as he makes money but eventually he gets caught deep in the middle of everything and realizes he can't allow Harmonia to get possession of the runes.
Suikoden 3's battle system is turn based.Occasionally a character will be able to land 2 or 3 hits in succession but it's all luck.Instead of buying new weapons,you'll keep the weapon you already have but will keep upgrading it(so you don't waste lots of money on weapon upgrades only to change weapons later).The weaker spells can be performed in one turn,but more powerful spells require the caster to spend a turn charging up their spell and if they are attacked while they're casting that spell,it will stop the spell from being casted.The powerful spells can inflict a lot of damage to multiple enemies,but if the character who is casting the spell gets hit by an attack and cannot cast the spell,it makes them waste a turn,but it makes the battles more unpredictable.
The gameplay also has what's refered to as dueling and commence battle segments.Dueling is 1 on 1 turn based battles that use a scissors,paper,rock system.Commence battles are when you use an army and fight against an enemy army,and you use groups of characters and use turned based strategy and it makes you be strategic in where you place the groups of units on a map,because some mission objectives might only require you to survive for a certain number of turns,or you won't want your weaker units engaging strong groups of enemies in battle either.
Another unique feature about this game and Suikoden games are the 'Stars of Destiny' (108 playable characters that you can add to your party of characters)some of them are automatically given to you but many others require you to find or earn them by doing certain tasks.The stars of destiny(SoD) can be from a variety of different races(humans,elves,reptilians,duck people,griffins,dragons)and from a huge number occupation(knight,chef,bodyguard,butler,mercenary,ninja,military strategist,amazonian tribe women,former Harmonian soldiers,store owner etc).
If you find all the stars of destiny,you'll get a special ending.Some of the SoD can be helpful because they will have good armor,or helpful spells,and there's a lot of party variation you can use.
The game might seem easy at first,but some of the later boss battles can be very difficult,even if you spend a lot of time levelling up.
You can learn or improve skills such as increasing your chances of blocking or evading an attack,and doing multiple hits in one turn or even increasing the chances of a character reviving themselves after being Koed.
The game's opening presentation have great looking anime scenes with breath taking views of the green grassy plains.
The world has giant castles,beautiful grassy plains,forest,towns,caves and I like how the duck village is built over a swamp and has a nice tropical feel and has a fishermen's influence to it.The mountains make you feel like they get higher and higher as you travel across them,and there is beautiful waterfalls and an Arabian style village.
Zexen and Harmonian soldiers have their own type of armor and uniform.Karayans dress like tribal people and the duck people dress very colorful.
The Harmonian villains look very evil and emotionless faces(especially Sarah).
The opening presentation also has a beautiful female voice singing some sort of ancient world style language as you're shown wonderful footage of the grassy plains.When you travel across the grassy plains during general gameplay,you'll hear music that sounds like African tribal music.In the towns you'll hear music that suits the medieval world.In the duck village you'll hear relaxing music that makes you feel like you're in a tropical paradise.The village in the forest with the Amazonian style tribe women has music that makes you feel you're in harmony with nature.The Arabian style village has Arabian style music to match.
I also like how during the battles,sometimes your characters will walk around the area,even though the battles are turn based they don't always retreat back to their original position after they attack.
The negative things about the gameplay is sometimes the battles do rely heavily on luck and if you lose a commence battle segment,you might have to redo 1 hour's worth of work.
But overall it's a wonderful RPG with a great variety of races and characters and lovely places to visit.