Suikoden for PlayStation

America - Front

America - Back

Review Scores

VGChartz Score



Alternative Names

Gensou Suikoden






Other Versions


Release Dates

12/01/96 Konami
12/15/95 Konami
04/01/97 Konami

Community Stats

Owners: 132
Favorite: 15
Tracked: 4
Wishlist: 4
Now Playing: 1

Avg Community Rating:


Suikoden Review

17th Mar 2019 | 150 views 


User Score

Presentation - 7.5
Gameplay - 8.0
Value - 9.0
Konami's PS1 JRPG

Graphics/Art Direction 7

Suikoden looks like an early SNES game. This isn't always a bad thing, but Suikoden's sprites try to show too much detail with too few pixels. Sprites barely have discernible facial features. Portraits of characters looks grainy, and environments are sometimes very basic. Had the game went for a more cartoonish art style facial features would have been more clear. Final Fantasy 6's spritework is a good example of this. Instead of trying to look like an anime, Suikoden tries to make its portraits look like its awful North American cover art. Other than those issues, the game looks fine. Enemies have interesting animations like when an enemy character warps through a giant playing card. Spells and attacks are satisfying to watch. Instead of waiting for their turn all of your allies attack nearly at once. This makes battles fast, and is a sight to see. The camera pans in and out to show critical hits, dodges, and counterattacks. 

Related imageAn example of how facial features are difficult to spot. The hero characters' eyes for example are hard to see. 

Just an example of how bad portraits look in this game. 

Sound 8

Suikoden has respectable music and sound. Village theme songs are a little generic. At times the music will fit the story spot on. At other times it really feels like Konami just grabbed a song at random off a shelf. Battle themes are tense. Most of the sound effects are typical of the 16 bit era, but they work fine. One exception is where an elephant trumpeting is used for the sound of a dragon roar. It just doesn't work and is borderline comical. 

Controls 8

This controls just like any other JRPG with a few hiccups. You can't walk diagonally, so you'll often find yourself walking sound, and then west in a quickly alternating pattern to reach a village to your southwest. You have to manually move items around in your inventory, and organize them yourself. The menu system is very basic ala Dragon Quest games, before DQ11. There's no cursor memory so you have to manually choose spells and attacks every turn of battle. 

Gameplay 8

Suikoden is a JRPG, with 108 playable characters. You have to find and recruit these characters to build a small army. Recruiting characters often involves doing a small sidequest, or having the right item in your inventory when speaking to them. Your army inhabits a castle, that starts out as little more than a cave. As you recruit more characters your castle grows and improves. Different merchants, blacksmiths, and artisans move into your castle. Eventually it is a sprawling hub with plenty of things to do. 

Many characters in the game have unique abilities. If you put two or three characters that have a bond into the same party you can perform combo attacks. These combo attacks are called unity attacks, and are fun to watch. They also deal extra damage. For example if you have all three Ninjas in your party one Ninja will suplex an enemy, and the other two will follow up with shuriken attacks. 

With 108 party characters in the game you'd think that leveling them up, and purchasing equipment would be a real grind. But Konami did an excellent job with handling XP, and money gains. For XP, the lower your level the more XP you gain from winning a battle, and the higher your level the less XP you gain. This means you can get a new recruit up to snuff in four to five battles. For money, you can recruit a character that sets up a gambling hall in your castle. This makes it almost too easy to raise money, to buy new equipment. 

Characters can be customized by equipping runes and accessories. Runes either, enable a character to use certain spells, allow a character to use a special move, or give a passive  effect such as increasing critical damage. Accessories will boost stats such as defense, magic, skill (for dodging and counterattacking), speed, or luck. There's also the ability to enchant weapons, but the items required to do so are extremely rare. At best you might be able to enchant five weapons for the entire game, while you have 108 character weapons in total. You can have up to six characters in your party at once, but the game usually forces you to have two or three characters for story reasons. This isn't a bad thing though, because it gives you a chance to try out characters that you normally wouldn't have tried. 

Suikoden follows the traditional town, dungeon, town format of older JRPGs. In between this however are army battles. These battles are basically a game of rock/paper/scissors. Archers beat mages. Mages beat soldiers. Soldiers beat Archers. Each turn you order your army to attack with either archers, soldiers, or mages. The enemy commander does the same. Damage done to your army and your opponent's army depends on which attacks each commander chose. 

Story 8

In Suikoden you start out life as the son of a high ranking general. You have several servants, that have raised you since birth, as well as a best friend. Your father goes off to command the government's army against local rebels, and eventually you find yourself fighting for the rebel side. Your character and his servants find themselves fighting against the very country and father you were raised by. The story makes good use of this dilemma for emotional effect. 

Many of the recruitable characters have stories of their own, which play out alongside your own. One character seeks revenge against a vampire that destroyed his village. An elf wishes to protect his home village from the war. A anthropomorphic dog, wishes to become the best fighter in his village. When the game ends there are a series of credits that roll by telling you the fate of each character. For example your merchant might open up a new shop, or your wild warrior might disappear to seek new challenges. The game has multiple endings depending on how good you are at recruiting characters, and keeping them alive. On the downside there are about four characters that can be missed, and cannot be recruited at the end of the game. This means if you want the best ending you'll have to look up these four characters, and recruit them in time. 

Replay Value 9

Once you've beaten the game, Suikoden is easy to get through a second time. Knowing exactly where to go, and how to recruit characters on the second playthrough speeds up playtime significantly. My first playthrough took be about 25 hours, and the second playthrough was 10 hours shorter. Trying out different combinations of characters keeps the game feeling fresh. 

Reviewer's Tilt 8

This is just a little number representing how much I personally enjoyed the game overall. I'm using the old GameSpot review format, because I feel that it forces reviewers to compartmentalize each aspect of a game, and review them individually. 

Official Score 8 (This is an average of the above scores.)

A niche game that is a must play for fans of the genre, but skippable for everyone else. 

Sales History

Total Sales

Opinion (12)

Kai Master posted 18/12/2011, 02:59
american box arts are -always- horrible ! That's a known fact this at least the NES !
Message | Report
Kai Master posted 18/12/2011, 02:58
loved it, i still remember that night playing it late up to 3 o'clock and my mother telling me to go to sleep ! Damn, some games never disappear from memory !
Message | Report
Mordred11 posted 10/09/2011, 09:52
lots of great time with this one
Message | Report
MrT-Tar posted 17/02/2011, 05:31
WTF happened with the US cover, at least Konami had sense with the European release
Message | Report
Beoulve posted 05/03/2009, 09:38
The American box art is horrible! *shudder*
Message | Report
Dogs Rule posted 06/01/2009, 04:46
What a fantastically well spent 6$ on the PSN! Loved every moment of it. I spent about 10 hours a day over the past weekend (and Monday) devouring everything the game had to offer. My last saves are too late for me to be allowed to recruit all characters, so I'll have to figure out how to get the best ending. I hope 2 makes it to the PSN and soon. BUY IT! :)
Message | Report
View all