GameSpite Quarterly 2, #20: Suikoden II

20. Suikoden II
The fact that Suikoden II — one of the finest RPGs ever made — is not available for download as a $6 PSN title while it sells for $200 or more on eBay is a sign that publishers exist to make people miserable. But if you can find a way to acquire it (preferably in a legal manner!), you owe it to yourself to play one of the most brilliantly understated masterpieces of all time.

36 thoughts on “GameSpite Quarterly 2, #20: Suikoden II

  1. Yet again, I am thankful that I got this game when it was first released. To this day, I hunger for a full cooking game inspired by Hai Yo’s story segments. With real recipes. Ah, a ma bo bun would be nice about now.

  2. Top notch game. I didn’t even really play through it all the way until a couple of years ago, but my brother did… which reminds me of the sequence of events by which we obtained the game (wow, that makes it sound special or something).

    We had already spent a lot of money on another RPG on one of our infrequent trips to the mall (in a town 100 miles away), and we happened to walk into the Software, Etc. there to look around. Lo and behold, there’s a copy of Suikoden II there (preowned) for $25. My wallet felt pain. I cited the fact that we had just spent most of our very limited funding on another game, and we were about to leave it, until my brother wisely asked, “What if the game disappears and we never see it again?”

    Yeah, it got bought. And boy, am I glad we did. It was almost prophetic, because in all the time since then, I’ve never seen a copy in the wild.

  3. The fact that Suikoden II — one of the finest RPGs ever made — is not available for download as a $6 PSN title while it sells for $200 or more on eBay is a sign that publishers exist to make people miserable.

    The fact Contra: Legacy of War is rated and presumably ready to be put up reinforces this.

  4. The biggest tragedy here is that they didn’t release Suikoden 1 + 2 for PSP.

    They still could, though. Konami? You listening? Put that sucker on the PSN store. I’ll forgive you for Suikoden IV, I promise.

  5. I almost got this game when it was still in stores, but passed it up for, I think, Vandal Hearts 2 or some other crap I sold off later. Spent $80 on an eBay copy about 6 years ago and have never regretted it.

  6. I love Suikoden II with all my heart – easily one of the top three games of all time for me. But I don’t want it as a PSOne original download. If we’re going to introduce new people to this hidden and lost gem of the 32bit era, we should do it right.

  7. I saw this used on the shelf back in late ’99 for $35, but at that point I was damned and determined to locate the original game first, which happened at a Kay*Bee store a month later. No points for guessing what happened to the copy of the sequel in that time.

    (Also, this is just personal druthers, but I’d say BoF4 was the last great traditional RPG, chronologically. But to each his own)

  8. I agree with SonicPanda: BoF4 came out over a year after S2 and is an excellent game. However, the characters are (extremely well-animated) sprites but the backgrounds are polygonal, so it’s not exactly a 2D RPG.

  9. Yah, I don’t quite get why the internet is so eager to romantacize Suikoden 2 as much as it does while turning a blind eye to its atrocious localization. It really is bad. Its so bad that whever a person gets poetic about the game I honestly question if they’ve actually played it.

    The in-game instructions for the dice game misspells ‘miss’ as ‘piss’. Hilarious.

    Someone also ‘forgot’ to put in a song, so when you recruit some singer her sprite does a singing animation and you hear nothing.

    Konami dropped the ball really hard on QA for this game.

    Good game tho. Not $200+ good.

  10. Oh wait, the game has poor grammar and some incidental glitches that appeared in localization? Never mind, article revoked. Suikoden II sucks a fatty. Sorry about that, everyone.

  11. Wow. Finally, someone willing to speak the truth. It is the worst game ever. The only thing that could make it worse is if it took place in a Japanese High School… Then it would’ve been BORING on top of being full of poor grammar and having ‘why does NIS still have fans’ grade oversights.

    High prices don’t account for taste on ebay. People were spending over $9000 for Dragonball GT and it is remarkably terrible.

  12. Jesus, guys. All he did was say the QA was botched and the game is good anyway. I’m the one you really hate.

    I played these games back to back in college and kept waiting for them to get interesting or good. I think if more people had played them you’d hear more counterarguments to all the selling points, since I found them to be mostly exaggeration. It tries to do a lot of things differently, but ultimately just trots out the same RPG cliches.

    I never understood how this game was supposed to be doing anything special. It just has the same boring “too many characters” problem as Chrono Cross (on a much higher scale) and some lip-service to moral neutrality that’s never fulfilled.

    Not that I’m trying to tell anyone what to think, but please stop acting like people who don’t like this game are idiots with bad taste. Maybe then I’ll stop acting like people who do like it are just proud of themselves for having played it.

  13. Why do articles about good games turn people into such frothing, bi-polar freaks? I can only imagine it’s going to get worse as this issue’s latter half makes its way online. This makes me sad.

  14. It’s all your fault, man. You pen a line like “Suikoden II was a simple folk ballad that captured the essence of the human condition and moved its audience to tears with nothing more than lilting words and acoustic guitar. A decade later, the truth will out: Time dulls the cutting edge, but piercing sincerity forever cuts to the heart.” and you’re really asking for it.

    “Oh wait, the game has poor grammar and some incidental glitches that appeared in localization? Never mind, article revoked. Suikoden II sucks a fatty. Sorry about that, everyone.”

    That didn’t help, either. That was pretty much the first strike in the bipolar war.

  15. I have to agree. This was a rational comments section until parish overreacted to someone pointing out some minor flaws in the game.

    I loved the first Suikoden. The Suikoden 2 doesn’t work for me: the storyline is obvious and the music is dire. I expect I’m in the minority, though.

  16. For the record, Suikoden II is definitely worth $200, flaws and all. That the story mostly makes sense and the game is still so good in spite of how botched the translation was is a testament to the shier excellence that this game stands for. But I revere this game so strongly that I want it to receive proper justice if a re-release ever happens.

  17. the music in suikoden 2 is probably the best soundtrack in any video game ever. so much so that konami made a dozen amazing arranged albums based on it.

    i’d love to hear any arguments to the contrary.

  18. Suikoden 2 is one of the happiest game purchases I’ve ever made, and an enduring example of how to make an interesting, engaging long form game.


    The cooking game is great.
    Chinchirorin is great.
    The castle is great.
    Totally different styles of gameplay mashed together are great.
    Subversion of cliches is great.
    Actual character development is great.
    Huge worlds with lots to do but plenty of mystery left at the end of the day are great.
    Enthusiasm is great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Huh???????????? Cohirancy?????? I have five of that.
    Enthusiasm is maybe not always great . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    I trust my biases are pretty clear. There is just a lot to love about Suikoden 2. There is just a lot to Suikoden 2; the scope of the thing still impresses me. There’s so little filler. It’s a big game because it’s a big game, not because someone decided it would be big and pumped it full of padding. That’s always been a rare thing.

  19. “and you’re really asking for it.”

    That’s exactly what I’m talking about: the idea that dozens of people have voted for their favorite games ever, a group of writers then expounded on how those games are worthy of those accolades, and it’s somehow an open invitation for others to express their contempt for the game and, often, everyone who launched the game to that position. Someone makes a metaphor for the game’s merits and is therefore asking for it. If this were the first time it had happened, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but it KEEPS HAPPENING, and it’s just so old.

  20. “I wonder how many people really love Wild Arms 2”.

    Me, for one. Although I’ve never had the good fortune to find a copy of Suikoden 2 (although I have tried, yes), WA2 holds a special place in my heart and definitely has a number of parallels to Suikoden 2: the translation was similarly botched in a most spectacular way, the soundtrack is phenomenal, and they both include some of the most dramatic boss battles ever seen in RPGs.

    The final battle in WA2 still remains one of the most uplifting moments I’ve ever experienced in gaming, these many years later.

  21. Gonna have to disagree on the “last great traditional RPG” bit. There’s been quite a few since, you just didn’t play them/consider them when writing. Skies of Arcadia being the most major, glaring flaw in that statement.

  22. People just can’t have fun these days…

    At any rate, I played S2 and never really noticed the translation, as most are pretty bad so, I kinda dont care. The story made sense to me, and it was fun as hell. Plus you can get a Unicorn in your party!

    Anyone ever notice how similar the story is to Tactics? Or am I insane?
    Delita = Jowy
    Ramza = S2 hero?

  23. “Traditional” in this case refers to the technology, not the structure or mechanics. Hand-drawn. Sprite-based. 2D. The point is, Suikoden II was the last RPG of the 2D type to be invested with a full staff/budget/etc.

  24. Suikoden II is one of the few (the only?) RPGs that has actually brought me to tears, localization notwithstanding. There, I admitted it.

  25. This was, as stated, the last great traditional RPG. I’ve been waiting and waiting for a DS or PSP RPG to come close to matching it.

  26. I am happy to be alive in spite of seeing this. Therefore I’m going to have to try really hard not to say things like, “I hope I die before I see the day it becomes fashionable to kick around the corpse of Suikoden 2. I hope I get hit by lightning before it comes to that. Just take an ice pick to my brain and feed my remains to the hogs.”

    Also, small nit to pick: if I recall correctly, Suikoden 3 has some short (horrendous) 3D CG cut-scenes. Hopefully this won’t disqualify it as the last 2D great. I think it shouldn’t, since in my own personal, subjective ranking Star Control II is still the greatest game I have encountered in spite of my playing it without the movie file scenes originally included in it.

  27. I liked Suikoden II, but I don’t think I liked it as much as most people did. I just can’t get into games with that large a cast, I think. I mean, one of my knocks against Final Fantasy VI is its unwieldy cast, and Suikoden II has about 9 times that. Feels too… I don’t know, “gotta catch ’em all”ish?

  28. Onomarchus: I loved Suikoden III, but I think it falls into the 3D camp pretty easily. I seem to recall most of the game being in 3D.

  29. Oh dear, I’m such an idiot. Sorry, I meant to type 2 there. Suikoden 2 had a few 3D scenes.

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