Top notch adventure
For followers of classic Japanese-style RPGs like Breath of Fire, this followup to the original Suikoden is a must play. Although it lacks the sheer epicness of its predecssor, it improves on most aspects to create a superb all around adventure that deserves to be in any genre fan's collection. The story here follows the adventures of a young lad who serves in the Highland army and who finds his camp under attack one night. After escaping with his friend, the two manage to get caught up in a complex political struggle which sees an insane and bloodthirsty prince attempting to take over the land. The two friends' stories are closely intertwined but which path of destiny will they follow? The gameplay here is similar to the first game, and includes a variety of combat types, including traditional party- and turn-based sequences, as well as duels and larger scale army-sized fights. Over one hundred characters are available for recruitment to your party, each with different roles, while you also get to build a castle from which to plan your development. Other gameplay elements include familiar top down exploring, item collection and classic RPG character development. Suikdoken II really is a superb entry into a crowded genre. It's got a gripping and well told story, that is brought to life well through its excellent cast, while the visuals are nice and charming in that old-school way. Gameplay is quite varied, with a good mix of combat, exploration and other elements, and everything is put together well. All in all, a fine RPG that is definitely worth picking up.