Suikoden Tactics

Suikoden Tactics
Suikoden Tactics is a turn based RPG that involves an odd collection of cel-shaded characters. Told in chapters, the story stretches through chance meetings and colossal battles.

Suikoden fans will really appreciate this venture into their world with new storyline and background filled in. The gameplay itself in battle is pretty standard for a turn based RPG. You have a grid overlaying your current map, and each character can move a certain distance each turn. Depending on the armor and weapons, the attack range and damage varies. You can set down an element on an area of the map - for example thunder - which would then affect people who are sensitive to that element.

While the graphics are not stellar, they are also not half bad for the PS2. The menu screens have a soft, colored-pencil look to them that is easy to work with. You customize your various characters, giving them skills and equipment as they gain experience and level up.

On the other hand, the in game graphics usually involve blurry figures nodding their heads at each other and striding through a room. It's almost a shame that they didn't spend more time on that aspect (especially the club-hands!) given how nice some of the character drawings are.

The real disappointment here is with the voices. They are some of the worst I've heard in a game. The dialogue is sappy enough, but every time someone speaks you have to see a dialogue box pop up, then wait for the voices to come in and speak the words for you in a less-than-dramatic fashion. The discussions seem to run on for HOURS. I love storyline, and some of my favorite games are story-heavy. However, there's a difference between compelling drama and long, inane, badly spoken conversations.

I think the game had great potential - the battle mechanics are fun and the menus are easy to nagivate and nice to look at. I'm not quite sure what happened here. It's like they had a great game near completion and turned it over to some group to finish the details like the voices, and that group ran out of time to do a good job on it. If you're a Suikoden fan and can tune out the voices and ignore the main action graphics, it's well worth playing for the gameplay and story, and once you finish the game you can replay it loaded up on cool items, skipping through the cut-scenes.

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