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Review: Suikoden Tierkreis

I remember, over a decade ago, going over to my friend Clarke's house. Clarke and I had very similar tastes in just about everything; music, books, and most importantly, games. When I went over that fateful day, he thrust a game into my hand and said "I know you'll like this." Without any other explanation, I started to play this game with a funny name, Suikoden. As soon as I started the game up, I was sucked into the characters and the story. Since that fateful day, I've been a die hard Suikoden fan, taking in everything the world had to offer.

I say "the world" very literally. Unlike most RPG series', the Suikoden games all take place in the same world, albeit different parts of the world at different times. Not to bore you with too many details, but the important things to realize are that in this world there are magic runes and 27 True Runes from which everything is created, and there are tons of wars over said runes. There are also huge scale army battles mixed in with your standard RPG fights. When I first heard that Konami was making a Suikoden game for the DS, I was thrilled. However, after I learned that the game would not include the two things that every Suikoden game had - the aforementioned runes and world for continuity - I was very skeptical.

Thankfully, my fears were for naught. Even without the continuity of the previous games, Suikoden Tierkreis is an excellent addition to the franchise. However, there are a few caveats worth mentioning. The game takes a ridiculously long amount of time to get to the nitty gritty of things. In Tierkreis, you're wandering around for damn near two hours before you feel like you've started the game. Compare this to, say, Final Fantasy VII, where the action starts right off the bat, and you start to get a bit nervous. For a game that has absolutely everything to prove to fans of the series, this is a huge mistake. The characters are also ugly, blocky lumps who all look the same. Then there's the voice acting, which even by video game standards, is god-awful. The characters talk extremely fast and it sounds as if the voice actors weren't even aware that other people would be having conversations with them. And finally, the game isn't really that difficult, and for the most part, you don't even need a strategy other than "attack" to defeat the enemies.

Despite these shortcomings, there's something addicting and hugely likeable in Suikoden Tierkreis. It could be that the story (once it gets started) is actually really interesting, or the pacing (again, once it gets started) makes you feel like you've always got something to do. Finally, the music is simply incredible. The Suikoden series has always been known for its amazing soundtracks, and Tierkreis is no exception. I actually started playing with headphones because the sound quality was so much better that way. I truly hope that this game sells well enough for Konami to realize that Suikoden is a viable franchise to continue to support.

Players:1

Platform(s):Nintendo DS

Developer:Konami

Publisher:Konami

ESRB:E 10+

Rating:

TestFreaks: 8/10 MetaCritic: 7.7/10 GameRankings: 7.7/10