It’s a miracle that we actually managed to review Suikoden IV in time for the ‘Summer of Suikoden’ fan-led event that’s currently pulling together to celebrate the series legacy and to try and convince Konami to release the remaining games onto PlayStation Network (or perhaps reopen the series for new instalments), what with the release of the game on digital services in Europe being plagued with an error that meant that the game wouldn’t load and after being pulled from PSN a complete delete and reload of the reissued game was necessary. Luckily we were able to pull our PlayStation 2 out of retirement and boot up the original disc to get the game going instead.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel turned out to be one of the PlayStation 3’s late-great games and certainly one of the best JRPGs to have seen release in recent memory. Its cliff-hanger ending left players clamouring for more however, and with the long translation times for games in this series the wait has been sheer torture.
Many experienced gamers will tell you that the Suikoden series peaked with Suikoden II and not to bother playing past the first two instalments. I feel genuinely sorry for those who did so, because Suikoden III is a hidden gem that the UK has only just managed to get its hands on over a whole console generation later than its original release.
Sequels should always out-do their predecessors, it’s a simple rule that many games fail to live up to. Where White Knight Chronicles II succeeds isn’t just in upgrading graphics and tweaking the gameplay, but in presenting a free copy of the original game at the same time that also features those same upgrades, improving the overall series experience. It’s a model few companies have ever done and is to Level 5’s credit.
Level 5 had a great run of RPGs on the Playstation 2 that kicked off with Dark Cloud and ended with Rogue Galaxy. When the Playstation 3 was announced a lot was made of the additional graphical and processing power it contained, and in the game dropped just two years after the launch of the console it was the first title to really take advantage of it.
Sequels to titles in the Final Fantasy main-line series used to be non-existent, so when a direct sequel to Final Fantasy X on the Playstation 2 was announced there was no small amount of interest from players at the time. I personally picked up ‘Unlimited Saga’ largely for the bonus disc with the ‘linking’ short animation they included with that game. To say that people were intrigued with what could happen AFTER the world had been saved was putting it mildly.
After the high standards set by Square on the Playstation the expectations were high for a Final Fantasy title on the Playstation 2. Final Fantasy X launched to a wave of hype and manages to push a number of impressive firsts onto the players for the long-running series.