Konami released Suikoden III via PlayStation2 Classic on the PlayStation Network.
Set roughly 16 years after the events of Suikoden II, Suikoden III takes place in the series’ Grasslands realm, North West of events in the second game. The Grasslands are overseen by six clans, and is under constant siege from the rulers of the large Harmonia nation to the East. An uneasy alliance exists between the two, following a huge battle 50 years hence. During the conflict, a warrior known as Flame Champion unleashed the power of the True Fire Rune, resulting in horrific casualties which ended the conflict.
In a first for the series, Suikoden III is presented using three main characters – with its ’Trinity Sight System’ offering three very different viewpoints of the world and the events that unfold. There is no ‘right’ side in Suikoden III and players control characters that have their own political views and divisions. Thus, the game is seen through the eyes of Hugo of the Grasslands’ native Karaya clan; Chris Lightfellow, a Knight of the Merchant nation; and Geddoe who is a border guard for nation of Harmonia.
Central to Suikoden III, and familiar to fans of the series, are the famed 108 Stars of Destiny – useful characters that will prove essential in events in the game’s fourth and fifth chapters. Players can use each of the three central characters in any order with the story allowing for any rotation of Hugo, Chris and Geddoe as they wish. Each character has individual traits and skills that prove vital, and ultimately work together to find out the true conspiracy behind the conflict.
The three heroes are free to explore Suikoden III’s stunning game world and are charged with a series of tasks that bring them into contact with other characters. Information can be gathered, runes collected and mastered for magic purposes, skills learned, and equipment bought, with the recruitment of the 108 ‘Stars’ focal to progression. Improving each character’s abilities is also central and the player must select raiding parties of six people to explore and take on specific challenges. Each party should balance the various skills required to progress, but should all six perish the game is ended. Battles in Suikoden III also show huge advances over those of the previous two games. They take place on a continuous field of battle as opposed to the static rows of the first two games, with the player selecting two characters at once within each attacking or defensive move.
Suikoden III represents a huge advance for the series and grows the beloved world of its predecessors. Character development is cleverly woven into the game and variety is assured within side-missions and a wealth of sub-games, while combat and magic-casting are more intuitive and essential to progression. The game is rightfully seen as a stunning continuation of the ever-popular series and represents value at just $9.99 USD for PlayStation 3.