Suikoden V is the last in the series that will be appearing on the PlayStation 2. Your character is the Prince and they cunningly insert your name into the text, so there is an opportunity for some crude humour at least. It rolls out as a classic adventure style game – you talk to everyone, slowly building up the picture and wandering around.
Once you have endured the opening 20 minutes of cutscenes and tiresome conversation you finally get the chance to do something. Strangely, there are various loading breaks between the cutscenes before it launches into another snoozefest of mundane conversation.
This is an RPG based around themes of politics and corruption and your ultimate task is to build up alliances and try to make some sort of progress around the Queendom of Falema. Fans of the series will see some returning characters they are familiar with and similar concepts to previous chapters – there is nothing too challenging to get you playing.
There has been some tweaking over earlier versions to change the combat modes, allowing parties of up to six to be controlled in the scrap. Things get a little more interesting when it comes to the fighting, where you need to think about what you are doing and there is some skill to it. Once you have got the control options sorted, you can quickly deal with enemy you encounter.
The graphics are all you expect from an RPG, afterall this is about story and strategy, so don’t expect anything too dramatic visually. The soundtrack seems to be a continuous drone, which is unremarkable in all senses. Again, it goes some way to set the scene, but doesn’t contribute much.
Fans of RPG and the series will of course be right at home in Suikoden V but for newcomers, you need to know what you are getting yourself into. This is not a game for a quick fix – it is a long-term thing but whether it has enough to hook you in will be down to your taste in games. For us, it was a little too slow, but fans of the series will be salivating like a rampant dog.