Suikoden Tactics takes the series in a different turn with unique strategic combat based around a solid storyline.
Now following in your father's footsteps you are on an adventure to find rune cannons especially the type that killed your father. After some time you find yourself working for the Island Nations going into Kooluk to find out what they are doing with rune cannons. You then run into these fish monsters again and find out there is a secret motive behind them. This is where Kyril's adventure truly begins and his quest to find the secret behind these unique rune cannons and get revenge for his father.
Although Suikoden Tactics is a completely separate game I see it as a continuation of Suikoden IV's storyline. With it centered in the Island Nations and Kooluk, you even get the hero from Suikoden IV on your team if you have a save file with all 108 stars from Suikoden IV. The story is somewhat different from all of the other Suikoden games although it still has the large amount of cameos and returning characters that the other Suikoden games have. Unlike the other games which are based around a large scale war enveloping an entire country this one is just based around an adventure more like most RPGs do. Although not as good as the numbered Suikodens the story is still enjoyable and entertaining.
Obviously the game is a strategy RPG using tactical battles to fight off your various foes. You fight on a grid with a set amount of allies dependent on the level similar to most SRPGs. Although in Suikoden Tactics you have elemental panels on the grid that dependent on your characters strengths and weaknesses can make or break your victory. Using your strengths and your enemies weaknesses to your advantage is the secret to defeating your enemies.
The Suikoden games use a magic system based off of runes. There are a wide variety of runes varying from unique runes, magic runes, stat boosting runes, melee runes, and runes that effect elemental panels. Through this system you can customize your units and your team dependent on how many rune slots you they get ranging from a possible 1-3. Utilizing different character types there is a well made and very entertaining strategic combat system that makes the gameplay very unique and lots of fun.
There are optional dungeons, treasure hunting, and a mission system based on ranks that allows a large amount of extra things to do before or after you beat the game not including collecting all the various partners you can get. Although it is understandable because it is not the same as the other Suikodens and it wouldn't be right with the storyline I missed collecting all 108 Stars of Destiny as you can usually do in all of the Suikoden games. Graphically they went with a somewhat cell shaded look with thicker outlines that they have not previously used, although somewhat odd looking it works fairly well with the strategic gameplay. The game also has good attack and spell animations making the games graphics seem smoother.
The music in Suikoden Tactics is fairly good it has some similar tunes from Suikoden IV and some other classic Suikoden music. In the end the game is a fun and unique strategy game that is a continuation of Suikoden IV's storyline. I would rate Suikoden Tactics a 8.7 out of 10 for great strategic gameplay with a Suikoden storyline. Although a lot of people don't like Suikoden Tactics from what I have seem I found it a lot of fun and any Suikoden fan or SRPG fan I think would find it the same so try it out for yourself.
This review will show up as a 8.5 due to Gamespot unfortunately not allowing a 8.7 to be selected.