Last modified on 15 March 2016, at 17:21

Suikoden III

Suikoden III
幻想水滸伝III Gensōsuikoden III
Suikoden III cover art.png
PlayStation 2 Japanese cover art
Developer KCE Tokyo
Released Sony PlayStation 2
Japan.gif July 11, 2002
United States.gif October 22, 2002
PlayStation Network
Japan.gif April 15, 2015
United States.gif June 23, 2015
European Union.gif June 23, 2015
Australia.gif December 7, 2015
Platforms Sony PlayStation 2
Sales Sony PlayStation 2
Japan.gif 397,442
Predecessor Gensosuikoden Card Stories
Successor Suikoden IV
Suikoden III (幻想水滸伝III, Gensōsuikoden III) is the third main installment of the Suikoden video game series and the sixth game released overall. It was designed and released for the Sony PlayStation 2.

It tells the story of the knight Chris Lightfellow, native tribesman Hugo and mercenary Geddoe as their loyalties and worlds are torn asunder by war, first between regional powers and later following an invasion by the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia.

Gameplay

Suikoden III built on the foundations laid by the first two Suikoden titles but did not maintain the same level of fidelity that Suikoden II did with its predecessor. The battle system underwent a great amount of changes, with battle teams now organised in three teams of two in which commands were entered for the group as a whole, with the AI providing support. The skill system made its first appearance here, allowing players to level up their characters abilities to counter attack and so on, as well as their elemental affinities.

The war system went under significant revision, with Suikoden II's grid battle being replaced with units being placed on a set of connected vertices. Army units engage in combat by one unit moving into a space occupied by a hostile unit and then the standard Suikoden III battle system is used, albeit an extremely sped-up variety in which battles are played through the AI.

The story was told through what Konami dubbed the "Trinity Sight System" where each perspective is chosen and played through a series of chapter, replaying certain events multiple times from different perspectives. The data transfer option seen in Suikoden II also returns, allowing a small number of characters to return with higher levels and improved weapons and adding references to the previous games provided the player has a late game save from Suikoden II on their memory card.

Plot Overview

Suikoden III told the story of three distinct groups, the Zexen Knights, led by Chris Lightfellow, the Karaya Clan, represented by Hugo and the mercenary group led by Geddoe, in the employ of the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia. Tensions run high between Zexen and the tribes of the Grassland, eventually leading to war after a disastrous truce meeting. Eventually, these events are revealed to be orchestrated by Harmonia in preparation for their own invasion.

Events are also tinted by rumours of the reappearance of the Flame Champion, Grassland's hero in a similar conflict 50 years prior to the events of the game. The three main characters each follow their own paths, eventually crossing paths and forging an alliance against the Harmonian onslaught. Even this war is eventually revealed to be the machinations of the mysterious Masked Man, who attempts to rail against destiny by destroying one of the 27 True Runes, an event that would bring unprecedented destruction. The various parties now unite to fight this new threat, but even in victory, the future remains uncertain for the region.

Legacy

Suikoden III garnered mainly positive reviews, especially in the North American market, yet the changes in gameplay and the Trinity Sight System divided fans. Suikoden III remains the highest selling Suikoden game to date with 377,729 sold copies by the end of 2002 in Japan [1] and about 190,000 sold copies in total in North America [2] and was the final game for original series producer Murayama Yoshitaka. Fan interest began to cool in the years following the release of the title although it still a point of contention whether that is the fault of Suikoden III or the lackluster reception to Suikoden IV.

It is the only title of the Suikoden series which has been included in Tony Mott's book 1001 Videogames You Must Play before You Die, praising its "surprisingly mature plot".[3].

References

  1. The-Magicbox.com 2002 Japan Sales chart
  2. "US Platinum Chart Games" The Magic Box. Archived from the original on June 17, 2006. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  3. Mott, Tony. 1001 Videogames You Must Play before You Die. London: Cassell Illustrated, 2010.