Konami - Tested on the PlayStation by Kyle Swiston in 2000, reworked in 2019.
Before I say anything I must make one think absolutely crystal clear. The Suikoden series is THE MOST underrated series in history of role playing games. That said, Suikoden 2 is a step up in every way from it's prequel. It may not be the flashiest, or prettiest rpg in history but it certainly has the most heart.
By far, this would be the games strong point. Featuring over 108 playable characters, it is understandable that most of these were not fleshed out. However, the 20 or 30 key characters are both likable as well as being believable. By the end of the game you will find yourself VERY attached to your characters. That is what makes it so damn dramatic when something unexpected happens to one of them. A few times I actually felt like I lost one of my good friends. The antagonists in this story are also very well done. All too often, a game sets up the main antagonist as a power-hungry fiend, or a psychotic murderer. That is not so with Suikoden 2. I won't mention who the antagonist is (It would be a very large spoiler ^_^) but lets say that he has a very logical and maybe even righteous reason for opposing you. While he is kind hearted, he is not afraid to make sacrifices, no matter how grave, to achieve his goal.
Besides character development, this is a game that excels at dishing up the most unexpected events you could think of. Plot twists galore, sometimes it even plays like a suspense movie. Don't get me wrong, there are dull moments (as in any rpg), but I guarantee that you won't remember a single one by the time you finish..
The graphics are totally two dimensional sprites this time around. While I have no problem with this, they may seem a bit dated by today's standard. The Character portraits for the most part never change. This can be annoying at times, since characters who are mad or in shock often have the same old happy go lucky expression in their character portrait. I know this is nitpicking, but it would have been nice to have more variety. With the spells are well done without being overly long, the same can't be said about the few cg sequences throughout the game. They are horrible, strictly first generation psx quality. They should have went the Lunar route and offered anime cut scenes instead.
The music is excellent!!! Definitely some of the best in any game. You can hear so many cultural influences in it from Celtic to Japanese. My hat off to the composer. If I could find the OST I would Defiantly buy it. The sound effects on the other hand are sufficient but nothing extraordinary. But who cares!!! This is an RPG not Syphon Filter 2.
The combat system is great as well. The Magic system is easy to use, even if your a newcomer to the genre yet has many subtle details (like ability to sequence certain spell to occur simultaneously). Combat itself is just as straight forward. Pick your target and press attack. None of this combo memorizing or timed hits that are becoming more and more common now a days. You can also combine the turns of certain characters in order to do a more powerful Unite Attack.
My main complaint as far as gameplay goes is that you can only move in four directions in town. This can be annoying at times when you would much prefer cutting diagonally across longer distances. I would have also liked to see analog support.
Hmm.... Well I guess the story would be Innovative... If this wasn't a sequel, I would have lots of nice things to say here, but most of the real innovative segments can be found in the first game. Sorry, standard rpg fare here.
There is a variety of optional mini games throughout this title. The main one is in the form of a surprisingly addicting cook off game. Every time you beat the challenging chef, you get his secret recipe. Trust me when I say it is more fun than it sounds ^_^ There is also a dice game, a fishing game, and a rock climbing game that you can play in between the actual storyline if you ever find yourself getting depressed at a certain event. Also, the challenge of getting all 108+ characters (actually it is more like 115) will guarantee at least another play through Oh, I almost forgot, you can load your save file from the previous game when starting to unlock even more bonuses.
This is one of the best reviews I remember from old RPG WorldWide. We were all pretty hyped about Suikoden II and played it basically together. I was able to play the US version which I purchased on eBay, so we could play it roughly at the same time. We finished the game sometime in early 2001, and we both completely fell in love with the game.
The review is full of passion and shows how you can love a game. I added a few of my own pros and cons down below and added a score which I think fits the description of this original review well.