Written in 2006
Suikoden III was quite some revolution for the Suikoden fans. Gameplay, story, graphics and the soundtrack changed drastically compared to the games' predecessors. The old 6-characters-two-lines battle system was gone and replaced by a quite complicated combat system where you team up two party members in columns. Those party members share magic, items and so on (But now you could heal a party with just one "Drops of Kindness"-spell. There's also a skill system included where you can upgrade the specific skills of your characters individually. This game was also the first Suikoden in 3D, although the graphics engine wasn't too powerful. Framedrops are always present, although the characters significantly lack polygons - The backgrounds, however are pretty nice. The soundtrack is also different, although it always tries to keep up with the classic Suikoden tunes. The biggest innovation of Suikoden III, however was the "Trinity Sight System" which let you see the first half of the game from the viewpoint of the three main characters. This is not as neat for the gameplay as it may seem, but it really gives the story a chance to develop.
Fifty years ago, the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia tried to invade the Grasslands - their attempt was stopped when one hero and his friends, bearers of the True Fire Rune, True Lightning Rune and True Water Rune annihilated the whole Harmonian army in a gigantic firestorm. Harmonia then signed a treaty to not attack Grasslands again, at least for fifty years. Now fifty years have passed, but Grasslands' problem is not Holy Harmonia but the small Zexen Federation - at least so they think, apparently Zexen Knights killed the leader of the Lizard Clan, one of Grasslands' six big clans. So, during truce negotiations, war broke out once more, entwined are three different people: Chris, leader of the Zexen Knights after her late father, Hugo, son of the Karayan clan chief and Geddoe, mercenary from Harmonia with a long history. Soon they realize that the conflict was ignited by a force not from Zexen or Grasslands, could it be that Harmonia once more wants to conquer the Grasslands?
Main hero: Hugo, Chris or Geddoe
Main heros true rune: True Fire Rune
Countries involved: Grasslands, Zexen and Harmonia. Harmonia is the oldest country in the world of Suikoden. The High Priest theocracy began in IS 0, declaring the start of a new calculation of times. Zexen was founded in IS 420, they declared independence of Grasslands, a country consisting of independent tribes.
Suikoden 1: IS 455 (-20)
Suikoden 2: IS 460 (-15)
Suikoden 3: IS 475
Suikoden 4: IS 305 (-170)
Suikoden 5: IS 449 (-26)