Just finished the game today after spending about 60 hours on it.
My comparisons when brought up will be to Suikoden 1 and 3 since those are the only other ones I've beaten so far.
- Lazlo is my favourite silent hero, much above Tir. I like his character quite a lot, especially his trips through the Rune's memories and his death. I liked that he had a heroic ending.
- I liked the developement of the Rune of Punishment and all the timeline stuff given with all the people who had possessed it before.
- Pirate Brandeu was one of my favourite villains in all the Suikodens I've played. Shame I didn't get to see more of him.
- I like that this game went with a unique approach for your headquarters and different world map setup. Change is key to interest, and experiments/variations from the norm are always nice. I like that it was vast while being easy to get around, as well.
- The best graphics of the three games I've played. I liked them a lot.
- Some original villages/locales for the series, primarly the Nay-Kobold Village and Deserted Island. A few new types of characters (the cats and mermaids), ect.
- The ghost ship level was a really nice addition, and I loved the Fog Ship Guide. It picqued my interest majorly...shame I didn't see more of that as well.
- TED! This game made me love his character, now I won't dislike him whenever I replay #1.
It would have been nice to have seen a little more interaction between him and Aldo, though.
- The best duel animations yet.
- Ship battles were a cool idea and nice twist on the strategy battles, a welcome experiment away from the norm that fit the theme and tone of the game well.
- VOICE ACTING!!!! Is so much better than silent.
- Seeing the dead governor's body at the end amused me.
- Elenor. That is all.
- The magic effects and combo/special attacks seem...less cool than #3's. They're mostly pretty lame, with a few exceptions, namely the Soul Eater spells and Lazlo's 4th level spell.
- The sidegames and activities were better than #1 but nowhere as good as #3's. They largely bored me. The confessional room was a cool idea but largely boringly executed. The comment box letters could have been better also.
- Along with underdevelopement in certain story/game points, the characters as a whole were underdeveloped. There were certain cool plot points and ideas brought up, glimpses of the souls behind the characters, and we never got to delve into them or get to know them better. I don't feel like I know the characters as well as I did Geddoe, Chris, ect. That said, I do like certain characters a lot.
- ...But others not so much. So many stars of destiny in this game were lame and useless. Then there were the cool designed characters who never got developed-#3 always gave you a good picture of everyone's personalities at least, whereas 4 just tosses them at you. Oskar, Helgo, Lo Threesome, ect...there were just a lot of throwaway characters in this game.
- The storyline flowed well as you played through it but there was no real build-up of the villains. The whole time you fought Kooluk fleets or Snowe and never got to get to hate Cray or Troy before defeating them. At the end I was like "oh yeah...I've seen these guys once before? Why are they evil again?"
- No explanation of the tree dragon boss whatsoever. It was cool looking, but...wtf was that again?