Reviewed: April 20, 2009
Released: March 17, 2009
Suikoden as a series has been a big staple on the PlayStation consoles for years. The series now turns its attention to the hottest handheld of 2009 so far, the Nintendo DS. Konami’s famed series returns in an all-new spin-off titled Suikoden Tierkreis. In this RPG adventure, the player get to explore, The Kingdom of Salsabil one of the many worlds that inhabit the metaverse of Suikoden.
The story revolves around an unnamed hero who believes in the philosophy of “you don’t know until you try" which will entirely and inevitable pit you against some sort of evil. The ultimate evil this time is a totalitarian wack-job leader who seeks to control the world by spreading his doctrine that all fate is predetermined and all people have no control of their lives. So I now I give you my views of one of the deepest RPGs on the DS to date, with Suikoden Tierkreis for the DS.
Suikoden Tierkreis is your standard RPG fare with all the conventional rules and heroics that befit a Suikoden title. Tierkreis is a welcome sight for long time players as well as new comers to the series. The first thing that any previous player should know is that Tierkreis is not a continuance of the main story that has been going for some time. It is actually a spin-off that follows a different group of adventurers.
The main character, enter random name here, is an orphan from Citro Village where he been raised by the citizens. This small rural village is the home to the main trope of heroes who set out to destroy a bunch of monsters that are making “pests” of themselves. But as fate would have it they become entangled up in the affair of an organization known as The Order of the One True Way.
The genius running the Order thinks that by making everyone submit to one belief will make the world a better place to live in, free of war and conflict. He only needs to beat the tar out of anybody who doesn’t want to convert. Ah Politics how I count the ways that I just don’t get you. I any case this group’s ideas obviously clash with the main protagonists “free will and undetermined fate” campaign and everything goes to hell in a hand basket before you can figure who’s truly good and who’s you worst nightmare.
The folks over at Konami have changed things up in this new adventure. The Rune system has been removed as well as the one-on-one battles and mass army battles that are seen in previous titles. The magic system known as the Mark of the Stars takes the place of the Rune system in Tierkreis. Each character that touches the “Chronicles”, false or not, gain some sort of power. Each player is only able to possess 4 Marks at a time so it is crucial that you choose the ones that will aid you the best.
The combat system in Suikoden Tierkreis is turn-based and is for the most pretty easy to pick up on. However, unlike most RPGs, you choose your attacks or actions for the entire team before each move. So it plays out more like a strategy RPG. On the plus side, you can pull off attacks that will involve one or all of you team members to pull off. Some of them are pretty cool dealing lots of damage and the animation are cool as well.
The only complaint I really have is that you literally can’t take a few steps after each fight before you are sucked into another. The encounter rate is literally through the roof. You can also blaze right through many fights by setting the fight to “Auto Mode” where the team seems to just destroy every thing in the encounter. Not that it’s a bad thing it just takes the fun out of an RPG if you can speed through each and every fight.
Several aspects of the Suikoden series return better than before or simplified for this portable adventure. The trade system is better this time around and makes for a fun bit of supply and demand play. There is no weapons upgrading of merging this time around but the weapons are so varied that strategy is required to use them to their full potential. And much like titles like Tales of the World; Radiant Mythology the weapons and items do show up on the character that it is equipped on in the game.
The quest system also returns with quest varying from extremely short to long. These quests will take players to locales previously unknown or to places previously visited. It you plan on finding all 108 characters then you’ll be seeing a lot of different places that’s for sure.
Suikoden Tierkreis also makes use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connections or DS Wireless Communications to trade characters between players. This allows other players to get a taste of characters that they have not unlocked themselves. Players are able to call on traded characters to aid them in particular quests that require their skills. There are not many titles that allow this type of play so it’s definitely a plus.
Graphically, Suikoden Tierkreis is amazing for a DS title. The world is presented in 2D hand drawn locations with 3D models and detailed maps. The character models are well done for DS standards and they range from up close views of your team to a miniature model of the main character on the world map. The hand drawn artwork that is displayed in the top screen is very well done and changes depending on the time of day it is.
I particularly like the all the short FMVs that you find scattered through this 30+ hour adventure. The opening video is well done and showcases all of the major players in this amazing title. I particularly like the fact that all of the FMVs are fully voiced by the voice actors.
The one thing about Suikoden Tierkreis is that this title takes more to the anime feel and I think this will aid in introducing the series to younger audiences, though it may alienate veteran players of the series.
Despite the voice actors words not matching the written dialogue I think that they did a great job. Even if they were off, they got the point across on what they were trying to tell you. Sometimes it was funny to hear the conversations that were happening off screen or between two people in front of you. The music and sound effects also complimented the sound department of Suikoden Tierkreis. The music is beautifully composed and rich for a DS title. Most of my favorite scores are actually from console based RPGs such as Final Fantasy VII and anything from the Tales series, but luckily I really like this one. There is one small issue that bugs me and that would be the main character’s somewhat annoying speed-talking. It just bugs me a bit.
Value wise, Suikoden Tierkreis is worth every penny. Despite the changes and the rather annoying speed talking this is a RPG for the books. This 30+ hour adventure is fairly deep for a DS title. With the online mode, side quests and 108 playable characters, what’s not to love? Suikoden Tierkreis retails for around $35 dollars at most retailers.
So all in all, I was fairly impressed with this deep RPG, which is cramped on such a small cartridge. The voiced FMVs are nicely done, the voice acting is good despite one characters hyper speech, and it looks good to boot. Suikoden Tierkreis offers player’s hours of good RPG fun with various quests, online missions and a slew of playable characters to find and choose from. I highly recommend not letting Suikoden Tierkreis slip by your radar. Pick this one up whenever you can.