Suikoden II

The second game in the Genso Suikoden series made by Konami. Find the 108 Stars of Destiny, upgrade your headquarters and lead thousands of soldiers into battle against the neighbouring land. This all and more in Suikoden II.


The story continues where the first Suikoden ends. You must first name your character and the game begins. Not much is explained in the intro movie. The hero and his friend Jowy must escape to their hometown after an ambush on the military camp where the boys worked. At this point the real story doesn't begin yet. But after a while, you get a headquarters. That's when the story really begins. You must follow the storyline in order to continue the game. But there are also side quests that you can do while following the storyline. The story is much like the one of the original Suikoden, but with some improvements. But that doesn't mean Suikoden II is a bad game. No, actually it's far from being a bad game. It's a good sequel to Suikoden.


Yes, the sequel to Suikoden. So, what exactly are the improvements? Well, most of them lie in the gameplay. The idea is similar to Suikoden. You play the game until you get the headquarters, you gather soldiers, you go on missions, you fight in wars, you complete the game. Ok, this sounds boring, but it really isn't. The improvements make Suikoden II different from it's older brother. For example, the battle window has changed, and takes up less room on your screen. There are a lot more things you can do in your HQ now. Stuff like fishing, farming, view stage performances etc. Yeah, those things aren't really important, but as you can see you do have more options. Also the menu screen has improved. You now have a backpack to carry party items instead of the characters carrying everything. The layout of the menu has changed too, and I think it's better now.

The big wars have changed from a rock/paper/scissors game to something that's much like an SRPG (Strategy RPG). Because of this, you have more control over what you do. Plus it's more fun.

Magic isn't something natural to your characters. Magic is learned by equipping Runes. As long as a character has a rune equipped, and you have some magic power left, you can use magic. I say "magic power", but it's something different than MP. Each level of runes (1, 2, 3 and 4) has a number of uses that increase with the MAG stat of the character that uses the Rune. If you have 4 level 1 spells and 2 level 2 spells, it will look like this : 4/2/0/0 See? You have the full magic power for your current MAG stat. Let's say you use 1 level 1 spell.... 3/2/0/0 The number decreases, but is be restored while you sleep during the game. Some characters can equip 2 or 3 runes instead of only 1. It doesn't matter which rune you use, the magic power is for all your equipped runes that require the numbers to be used.

The game is challenging for the ones playing it for the first few times, but when you figure most things out, it's rather easy with the exception of a few bosses. The game isn't very long, it's possible to finish the game within a week or two if you know everything. But when you play, the game seems longer. And that's a good sign, right?


The graphics of Suikoden II are a little better than the original. Ok, so they're not as good as the Final Fantasy VII graphics, but they're good enough. The battle animations look a lot better now, and so do the character portraits. The graphics in the movie that plays if you don't press START on the title screen are good, though they're only drawings that move, not really moving characters. Not much else to say about the graphics than "above average."


The music of the game is well done, and gets along well with the situations in the game. I noticed myself humming some tunes of Suikoden II while I was cleaning my room, along with some other RPG tunes. Some tracks can stay in your mind for quite a while, which is more enjoyable than it is irritating.

The sound effects aren't spectacular, but they do their job well enough. I think some sounds are used better in this game than in the original.


Characters play a big role in RPGs. In Suikoden II you have a lot of characters who are available for recruitment. Only a small portion of the characters play an active part in the story. You have 3 types of characters:

  1. Characters who can fight battles with you (and maybe a HQ function);
  2. Characters who don't fight battles with you, but who have a HQ function;
  3. Characters who you can recruit, but who do not have a real function.

All three types can be recruited automatically in the storyline, or be recruited by you. For most of the optional characters, which is the biggest portion of the characters, you must do what they ask, say or do the right things etc. to get them to join.

The stats of each battle character are better than in Suikoden. Now you can use most characters to complete the game, instead of just a few. Each character has a weapon type. It can be "S" , "M" or "L". "S" means the character can only attack from the front row in battle. Most enemies will have to hack through the front row in order to hit the back row. "L" means the character has a ranged weapon, so is used best from the back row. He/she can attack from the front row. "M' means the character can use his/her weapon from both the front row and back row.

But where to put a character depends mostly on the stats. For example, the wizard Luc has an "S" type weapon. But he'll die easily in the front row because he has low Defense and HP.

When you gather a lot of characters, your HQ changes. After a change, you can recruit members you couldn't recruit with the previous HQ form. Also, check the towns after a big storyline event. You can even recruit a detective, who can give you hints on where you can find and how to recruit optional characters.

Suikoden II is a good game, and certainly better than the original Suikoden. Perhaps not that challenging for the hardcore RPG gamer, but still worth your money. You must buy Suikoden II if you liked Suikoden. And if you've never played any of the Suikoden games before, I still recommend it.


Suikoden II is a good game, and certainly better than the original Suikoden. Perhaps not that challenging for the hardcore RPG gamer, but still worth your money. You must buy Suikoden II if you liked Suikoden. And if you've never played any of the Suikoden games before, I still recommend it.


Reviewed by LanceVarsconi on 25 February 2003.