Well, let's see. In order from least importance to greatest
This was actually a little strange for me, since even though this is a later installment in the series, the graphics werenâ€™t actually as good as IIIâ€™s. I personally found this strange, but it was nothing to complain about.
Wow. Way back when it was first announced there would be VAs for IV, many people thought that, since hiring people to do voices for 108+ characters is expensive, Konami might skimp out and get okay VSs for one or two and then have random other people do the rest. This actually wasnâ€™t the case; the VAs were actually quite good. Everyone had great VAs, but what really stands out to me was Elenorâ€™s. Whoever that was did a wonderful job; she actually sounded like she had been boozing it up for years. Kudos to whomever it was.
I tend to hear a lot of complaints about the music, which I find odd. Yes, some of the music wasnâ€™t something that will stick with you, but man, when Masahiko Kimura is good, heâ€™s GOOD. Ones that particularly stand out are â€œLa Merâ€ (Done by coba, I know), â€œBattle on the Sea 1,â€ â€œBattle on the Sea 2â€ was especially good and is one of, if not THE, best war theme in the series, â€œFated Confrontation,â€ â€œMagnificent Swordsman,â€ â€œConfession Song,â€ the Ritapon theme, and, my personal favorite, the beautiful yet simple â€œRune of Punishment.â€ Kudos upon kudos to Kimura
The minigames in Suikoden IV were nothing short of divine. Ritapon was fun, the Confessional Room and all of the barrel-dropping it gave was my baby <3, and Pretty-Princess-Dress-Me-Up with Snowe was nothing short of The Best Thing Ever.
And you donâ€™t even have to PLAY Chinchirorin to get Gaspar. <3
Okay, people tended to complain about this aspect especially, mostly how the ship was too large and complicated, or that the battles were a pain.
I donâ€™t get these people.
First off, the battles may have let you put less people in your party, but letâ€™s face it: In this game, less people were useful. Once youâ€™ve got Kika and her incredibly broken Falcon Rune, hardly anyone else was needed. Further gaps were closed when and if you got Ted, who has a nice enough combo with Aldo. It seems the designers knew that lots of the Stars were utterly worthless in battle, and so they made less space so players wouldnâ€™t have to complain about it. Sadly, it backfired.
The Rune of Punishment also seems to get a bad rep. To be honest, I canâ€™t see why. It, like the True Fire Rune, made you think about how you would use it best so you would end up causing Lazlo the least amount of harm while doing the most amount of damage.
Second, the ship and the control thereof. Granted, it took me a good five minutes to wonder why the heck my ship wasnâ€™t moving despite my consistent twirling of both the analog sticks and the D-pad buttons, but once I figured out that the map controlled everything, the ship was easy to use and manipulate. There may have been a high amount of random battles, but people, this is the SEA weâ€™re talking about. Thusly, SEA MONSTERS can swim along the ship and creep up whenever hey felt like it. Itâ€™s actually more realistic than the other games, where random rabbits holding axes or animated holly leaves came and ambushed Tir/Riou/[Your Flame Champion Here]/Faroushadour when they should have seen them coming and sidestepped. (What I find most annoying about this complain is that people who love Suiko because of its realism go and bash this, even though itâ€™s more realistic).
I loved the characters in this game. They were at times deep and compelling, interesting and speculative, and funny and cool. Yet, they are often said to be flat and uninteresting. Letâ€™s take a look at some:
-Snowe: Snowe here is either loved or hated by fans of the series. But letâ€™s take a look at HIS past and how it formed the man we know today:
Snowe was a noble, raised by his father to become a Knight, the new leader of Razril, or both. Obviously, the expectations forced upon him were undoubtedly more than any of us have ever had. Snowe developed an obsession to prove himself the best and felt undermined when Lazlo, his SERVANT, ever got the limelight and he didnâ€™t. He constantly felt the need to prove himself, not to bolster his ego or because he was an attention hog, but so he could feel wanted and appreciated and not looked at as Snow Vingerhut, son of Vincent Vingerhut, but as Snowe Vingerhut, an accomplished man who wasnâ€™t living in his fatherâ€™s shadow. His obsession got the best of him on many occasions, even to the point where he would sacrifice his own friends to save his life so he could prove himself later. Though Snowe was really a sweet boy who just wanted to be loved for who he is underneath it all, his obsession with proving himself would set the entire game in motion, which would, through Lazloâ€™s help, allow him to gain his own personality, his own being, and be himself.
-Lino: Lino, too, is an interesting character, though the fanbase isnâ€™t half as divided on him as they are Snowe. Still, he is often, once again, bashed for being uninteresting. Iâ€™m not sure why, considering heâ€™s somewhat like Barbarossa in his backstory.
Lino is the king of Obel, not to mention a Single Father Trying To Raise A Rebellious Daughter. His wife, the Queen of Obel, died tragically when she used the Rune of Punishment to save the kingdom and his son (Lazlo) was also lost in the process. After losing the love of his life and his only son, any normal man would be distraught and never get over it. And yet, Lino takes it and suffers with it quietly, putting a smile on his face and running the kingdom despite the unbelievable loss heâ€™s suffered.
-Elenor: One of the more subtly deep characters Iâ€™ve seen.
Elenor was a brilliant strategist for the Scarlet Moon Empire, as well as the mentor to Graham Cray. However, she was disgraced due to Crayâ€™s reported actions in the noble slayings and was banished from her home, never to see her friends and family again. As a result, she spent the next few years drinking her problems away on Hermitage Island, with only Agnes to keep her company. Fallen from grace, she was recruited by Lazlo, who saved her from her pitiful existence. Though her mind had lain unused for years, she still proved to be a brilliant strategist, effortlessly winning battle after battle for the Liberation Army. Even though Elenor died in the gameâ€™s end, she most likely found solace that her life was saved before she died, and that the man who ruined everything she had ever known was going with her.
-Lazlo: Our Hero.
Lazlo, unknowingly Linoâ€™s long lost son, in a riches-to-rags story, was found outside Razril and brought up as a servant in the Vingerhut household and as a playmate for Snowe. Despite his status, he proved himself an able warrior and so was trained to be a Knight of Gaien. After his graduation, the Dread Pirate Brandeau attacked and nearly sank the ship Lazlo was on. However, Commander Glen saved him and the Rune of Punishment was transferred to him instead of Lazlo. After Glen died using the Runeâ€™s powers, it was transferred to Lazlo, ultimately dooming the young man. To top it all off, he was betrayed by Snowe and was exiled. Despite this, Lazlo was able to escape death numerous times and eventually became the leader of the Island Liberation Army, even though he knew he would have to use his Rune, killing him faster. Despite this knowledge, he presses on, winning battle after battle and bringing hope to those who had lost it.
At the gameâ€™s end, when the Rune Cannon in El-Eal explodes, Lazlo makes one final act when he single-handedly saves the lives of his friends by using the Rune, which kills him.
Like nearly everything in S4, the plot is bashed, only more so, and itâ€™s usually for not being as deep as the others, Especially Suikoden II Which Is Apparently The Best Game Ever. I couldnâ€™t disagree more.
Suikoden IV was not about finding your own path (S1), family and friendship (S2), unity (3), or standing up for what you believe in (S5). It wasnâ€™t focused on a group of people.
No, it was much deeper, much different than that.
Suikoden IV was about the life of one man. It was about one man doomed to die, but despite the odds, he still triumphed. It was about one manâ€™s struggles against impossible odds and trying to win, even though he knew from the start that his fate was unchangeable. It was about how one man, one individual, can change everything. It was about hope and despair, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness. That, ladies and gentlemen, is DEEP.
Overall, I loved Suikoden IV. I thought it was a great game that had a deep and compelling plot, only it was much more subtle about it than the other games.