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All The Suikoden Games, Ranked

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  • Posted on 24th Sep, 2022 20:39 PM

The Suikoden series is rich in character development and lore. Which among them proves the best of the bunch?

p>Hailed as one of the all-time great JRPG series by those who played them, Suikoden set itself apart from the competition in several ways. Each title tasked its player to create an army to fight a war that alters the lives and destinies of everyone involved. The stories center on magical Runes that have the power to save, corrupt, and destroy in equal measure. The protagonists are required to find and recruit the 108 Stars of Destiny to maximize the ranks of their army. The 108 Stars of Destiny are characters in the game that bring something unique to the protagonist's castle or base of operations.

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These were unique gameplay mechanics in 1996, but Suikoden's character development and mature storytelling upheld such a loyal fanbase long after the series was thought dead in the water. In what was a surprise to fans at the Tokyo Gameshow, Konami announced that Suikoden 1 and 2 are getting remastered and will release sometime in 2023. It's the perfect opportunity to bring the series to a new audience and relaunch the Suikoden series. There were seven titles released in the West, and this list will rank them in order of the best. However, all games in the series have something great to offer JRPG fans.

7 Suikoden Tiekris

  • Released: 2009
  • Developer: Konami
  • Platform: Nintendo DS
  • Canonical Timeline: Alternate universe

A solid JRPG on the Nintendo DS, Suikoden Tiekris is ranked at the bottom because of its lack of significance in the timeline. Mechanically, it's a better game than Suikoden 4, but the story takes place in an alternate universe.

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The concept of alternate dimensions in the Suikoden series has played a big part with interdimensional monsters, characters, and enemies. Suikoden Tiekris takes this further, allowing new players to follow a different timeline and start afresh. It's an excellent JRPG in its own right, but the lack of connection to the mainline series doesn't make it essential.

6 Suikoden 4

  • Released: 2005
  • Developer: Konami
  • Platform: PS2 and PS3 via PSN
  • Canonical Timeline: In Solis 307 - Around 150 years before the first Suikoden

Suikoden 4 is regarded as the worst in the series by fans and critics alike. The lengthy ship journies that are frequently interrupted by random battles became frustrating. It felt like a backward step compared to Suikoden 3, a game that introduced three protagonists and a complex plot with excellent pacing.

Despite the uneven pacing, Suikoden 4's plot and characters are outstanding. As with its predecessors, the writing, interconnecting sub-plots, and the antagonist are some of the best in the genre. The pacing and random battles are fixable with a modern remaster and the same quality-of-life improvements the first two games are getting. Fingers crossed for more Suikoden remasters.

5 Suikoden Tactics

  • Released: 2005
  • Developer: Konami
  • Platform: PS2
  • Canonical Timeline: In Solis 302-310 - Around 150 years before Suikoden

As a companion piece to Suikoden 4, Suikoden Tactics' timeline takes place before and after the events of the fourth entry. However, it can only be appreciated when played together with Suikoden 4 to understand the circumstances and intricacies of the story.

Suikoden Tactics isn't overly complex like Final Fantasy Tactics, but it is an accessible title that fleshes out the history and narrative of Suikoden 4. The motivations for war and the power struggles touched upon in Suiko 4 are explored more in Suiko Tactics.

4 Suikoden

  • Released: 1996
  • Developer: Konami
  • Platform: PC, PS1, PSP, PS Vita, PS1, PS3 via PSN, and Sega Saturn
  • Canonical Timeline: In Solis 455

Unsurprisingly, being the first game in the Suikoden series, Suikoden does show its age in many respects - even when compared to Suikoden 2. However, its ambition and gameplay are undeniably fun and stand the test of time.

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Moreover, Suikoden's politically inspired narrative, where no character is safe, is mature even by today's standards. More revolutionary is the game features dialogue choices that can impact another character's fate. Finally, if one recruits all 108 Stars of Destiny to their cause, a secret ending will unlock, and they'll get a bonus for transferring their saved data to Suikoden 2.

3 Suikoden 3

  • Released: 2002
  • Developer: Konami
  • Platform: PS2 and PS3 via PSN
  • Canonical Timeline: In Solis 475 - The final year in the Suikoden timeline.

Canonically the final part of the Suikoden series, Suikoden 3 is held up as one of the best in the series. Unlike other entries in the series, Suikoden 3 does feature a silent protagonist. Instead, the story focuses on three protagonists with fully developed characters using the Trinity Sight system. This system tells Suikoden 3's story through the eyes of three protagonists weaving together a plot full of twists and turns. It's the kind of long-form storytelling worthy of shows like The Witcher or Game of Thrones.

In addition, Suikoden 3 is the first game in the series to utilize a 3D world. The visuals and animations are a bit dated by today's standards, but there's still something to love about the characters and their designs. Seeing the Kobold and Duck races realized in 3D is still a treat.

2 Suikoden 5

  • Released: 2006
  • Developer: Konami
  • Platform: PS2
  • Canonical Timeline: In Solis 449 - Six Years before the first Suikoden .

The last game in the mainline series, Suikoden 5 is set six years before the first game. After the mixed reaction to Suikoden 4, Suikoden 5 was a return to form for the series. It has a slow start but spends that time developing the characters and lore, building a world full of political intrigue and betrayals.

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To again draw comparisons to Game of Thrones, Suikoden 5 begins with the protagonist - a young prince - caught in a feud between two powerful rival families and a mad queen (his mother). These events happen in the game's prologue, but once Suikoden 5 opens up, it's easy to see how well-crafted the story can be. The scale is grandiose, and the stakes are high as the prince attempts to recruit the 108 Stars of Destiny to fight in the Sun Rune War. The beauty of Suikoden 5 is down to its replayability. There are 11 endings, alternate paths, and a new game plus mode, so players can see everything the game offers. It may be second behind Suikoden 2 on this list, but in many respects, they are equals.

1 Suikoden 2

  • Released: 1999
  • Developer: Konami
  • Platform: PC, PS1, PSP, PS Vita, and PS3 via PSN
  • Canonical Timeline: In Solis 460

The series' crown jewel will always be Suikoden 2. It's a perfect sequel that improves over the original game in every way. At first glance, they look very similar, but the mechanics are better, there is a run mechanic, the animations are more expressive, and the towns and cities look more detailed. More importantly, the story is deeper and more moving than its predecessor.

Players take on the role of an orphan in what begins as a coming-of-age tale of friendship and companionship. Of course, the story takes a dark turn as the hero deals with the impact of loss and betrayal as he finds himself in the middle of the Dunan Unification War. The scope and the scale continue to grow as the protagonist tries to rally 108 Stars of Destiny to fight in the war. Additionally, thanks to some returning characters that were vital in the first game, several loose ends get tied up with characters like Victor, Flick, and Clive making an appearance.

Suikoden 1 and 2 Remasteredwill be available for the PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One in 2023.

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