Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.

Transcript:

Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!

Most JRPG fans have been asked, at some point, the question of what JRPG a newcomer should start with. Many point to their favorite Final Fantasy game. Many others point to classics like Chrono Trigger or even Secret of Mana. One game, though, is often unrecognized in this category and yet inspires such praise and respect from fans as to be overwhelming. Today’s game is Suikoden 2, developed by Konami and released on the Sony Playstation in 1998.

Suikoden 2 is a sprite-based JRPG on the original Playstation which uses many elements from SNES JRPGs but takes advantage of the improved hardware to incorporate many new features and even methods of combat. The story takes place in the Dunan region, a neighboring empire to the Scarlet Moon Empire from the first game, and occurs three years after the events of the first game. 

Like the first game, you play as a player-named character who is part of a youth division of the Highland Army. The prince of their nation, Luca Blight, has organized the killing of this Youth Division in order to blame the slaughter on a neighboring nation and justify war. The main character and their best friend Jowy escape but are separated.

While the story takes its time getting going, you will eventually find yourself in a leadership position within your rebellion army. This means you must recruit allies, build up your base, and complete missions with the ultimate goal of defeating Luca Blight. The majority of the game is made up of turn-based battles similar to those in most JRPGs but with a six person party, larger than most other games. However, you will find yourself occasionally fighting in one-on-one duels or even large scale tactical battles as well, throughout the game.

One of the key aspects of Suikoden 2 is the recruitment system which sees the player trying to recruit all 108 Stars of Destiny, which are different characters around the world that will fight for your cause. You can recruit people through all different means from simply finding and talking to them, having a certain character in your party, completing a small quest, or any number of other options. Recruiting more players not only gives you more potential party members for your team but also builds up your army’s base and gets you closer to the true ending, which you can only get if you get all 108 characters.

Suikoden 2 actually received fairly average reviews at the time of its release. Since it was a sprite-based game coming out in 1998, the graphics were seen as dated and the game was mostly written off. Since then, the game has only increased in popularity and respect though, and is now often regarded as one of the best JRPGs ever made in hindsight. The middling sales made Suikoden 2 copies exceedingly rare, with full copies of the game still costing a few hundred dollars to this day. The first three games in the Suikoden franchise have since been released on the Playstation store but oddly only for the Playstation 3 and Vita, not the Playstation 4. Still, if you are a fan of JRPGs, Suikoden 2 is well worth the effort.

Thank you so much for listening! If you want to hear about the spiritual successor to Suikoden and other news stories each week, go listen to the TGO Podcast, the weekly gaming news podcast I do along with Adrian Simple from The Gaming Observer. You can also follow me on Twitter/Instagram for up to date schedules for everything I’m working on @vg_oftheday or by going to videogameoftheday.com. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.