Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Suikoden IV (Playstation 2, 2005)

I've gone on record that I'm a big fan of the Suikoden series. The first three games in the series are good to great (though 3 is a step down from the others). I've never played the fourth... until now. This is because it sucks.

The intro of the game is full of grainy footage that looks like it was taken from someone's vacation, interspersed with imagery of dolphins swimming. Since I'm not on drugs, this isn't very impressive. 

The main character is a dude named Lazlo, but I give him a more fitting name. 

 Seriously, look at this guy. He practically screams "douchebag"

The game begins by throwing you right into every battle type: war, regular, and duel.

...and I immediately lose the war battle. You can probably win this if you know what you're doing (and even then I'm not sure). Going into it playing for the first time... it's likely the enemy will one-shot you quickly.

Time for the regular battle! If you don't lose to these guys, the battle just kinda ends on its own after a while. Yeah, you're not even allowed to win this one. It's really making the heroes look like chumps right out of the gate. 


Here's Ass' compatriot, Snowe. I'm not sure if that's a dude or a lesbian. Konami has gender differentiation issues throughout this series. 

Man, this guy is all over Ass. 

A DUEL~! follows. While I get a major upper hand early on (I was whooping him, as you can see), he got two hits on me and I lost. Again, this is a battle you could win if you know what you're doing, but it's a little bit tricky even then. Playing for the first time? Forget about it. Are they done burying the hero of the game yet? 

Well, Ass is done losing battles, but now it's time for a really long speech by Glen. Everything in this game is voice acted, and unlike most games, it doesn't let you skip through the text or speed it up in any way. You're stuck listening to the characters slowly speak their lines.

This is boooooring. I don't care about any of these people, there is nothing remotely interesting about any of this, and the speech just goes on and on. Hard to believe this came from the same developers who made the amazing original Suikoden.

As the lesbian doles out orders, it's interesting how much more unfriendly all of the text looks when people are calling your character "Ass" all the time.

What's up with the character models in this game? Seriously, why are their heads so tiny? They're like the Goombas in the Mario Bros Movie.

...or Chris Bosh.

Ass and Snowe set out for the beginnings of a glorious adventure. An adventure that is only tolerable for me because I can constantly giggle at the main character's name like a fourth-grader.

I like how Ass has one HP more than Snowe, just to let everyone know who the REAL badass is in this group. 

For a game that came out in 2005, these are some real Everquest circa 1999 graphics. Actually, I think that game had better graphics than this when it launched. Somehow, the graphics in this game are actually a step down from Suikoden 3

Snowe's last name is... Vingerhut? Ha ha...har... well, at least the mystery of Snowe's gender is finally cleared up. He isn't a lesbian, he's just a beautiful man. 

At this point Ass has to run through the city street lighting torches for people. I tried to just charge through, drive-by lighting everyone's torches by brushing by them, but it didn't work. No, I had to go back and talk to each individual person, hearing whatever boring shit they had to say, to light their torches. Well, onward... 

I'll give this game props for one thing: it brings back running sprites for the loading screens. One of the more charming aspects of the first two games in the series. Alas that it in no way makes up for the mediocrity surrounding everything else about this game. 

...seriously, what the HELL is with the tiny heads? This is really starting to creep me out. Actually, the entire upper body seems to be too small on these character models. 

My first battle - or at least, particularly winnable battle - is against some hooligans in an alleyway.

After getting some rest back at the base, noble Ass goes to the training grounds to train with other soldiers. At this point you can enter a battle with three soldiers, all of whom miss a lot and only do 1 damage even if they do hit. You can fight this battle infinitely just by repeatedly talking to one NPC. I sat here and pressed X for 10 minutes or so and went from level 1 to level 7. The exp wasn't slowing down, either, and I could have kept going. Since levels restore your health to full, if one had a turbo controller, they could probably leave this on overnight and vault the main character to high levels right out of the gate. Amazing to see a developer leave such an easy exploit in a game right at the beginning.

I try to get my party together as the game dictates, but no one wants to join me since Snowe isn't with me. No idea where Snowe is, guess I'll run around. Is it just me, or are all of these characters wildly unlikeable?

Behold. I don't know if I can get through this game when I constantly have to look at the MC's very visible buttcrack. Why do his baggy shorts have to be skin tight right there? Who designed these character models, and were they fired immediately afterwards? Nah, they probably got a raise while Konami fired all of the people who knew how to make a good RPG.

 Finally, the game lets me form a party. None of these characters are particularly descript. Reminds me of Lennus 2's early character choices, but not quite as bad. This game fixes Suikoden 3's idiotic system of only controlling three of your six characters at a time in battle; now you can control everyone, as it was pre-Suikoden 3. The problem is, they went and gave this game a different issue by limiting your party to four characters. It just doesn't feel like a Suikoden game without six characters. The limitation hits you over the head right from the start when it gives you six party members and only lets you bring four. Why even give the player six characters at this point? All that does is draw attention to the lame reduced party size.

If the sheer genericness of everyone doesn't bother you enough, the WHIRLING CAMERA will. Seriously, the camera just spins around the battles in a big circle really fast. It's frickin' nauseating. There's a camera option in the menu that might fix it, I'll find out later.

That concludes my one and only post on this game. I'll be playing more of it later on my own, whenever I can get over Ass' obnoxious crack.


All hands on Ass!

This guy is a real... jerk.

 That's right, lady. Give it up.


Suikogaiden Vol. I

Suikogaiden Vol. II


  1. Yep, this gets startlingly far away from what the series is supposed to be. I'm happy you gave the character this name, too, though!

  2. Vingerhut resembles the word "Fingerhut", the German word for "thimble", a hat for the finger.