RPG Review #38: Suikoden III

NuMetalManiak Huh, I've never expected to take a short time with any RPG, but the previous one (Sailor Moon: Another Story), was incredibly short. With that said though, I invested almost two months worth playing this particular Suikoden title, the very first one on the PS2. It's radically different, yet the main concepts remain the same. For the most part, it was quite enjoyable too. Onwards!

Gameplay: The standard navigation on the world map is less like the previous Suikodens and more like Grandia or Breath of Fire 4, just going places on a drawn map. It's a rather taxing change, I guess. The area navigation is aided by a map, but unlike other RPGs that play in 3D, you can't rotate the camera. That's one of my main gripes which separates this from, say, Wild ARMs. You end up running into walls when the camera automatically moves while moving. Also, you pretty much have to always enable running, as the walking speed is VERY slow.

The three main battle systems are entirely the same for the most part, with some twists. For the standard 6-man combat system, each is split into two pairs, with a front and a back controlled simultaneously. You've got standard attack, defend, retreat, rune usage, and unites when applicable. The battlefield is a lot more active this time around, where characters actually move to position to attack targets. Magic casting is a definite difference, where it takes some time, sometimes even more than one turn. That can be a problem in some cases, because the spellcaster can be attacked and stop chanting if it happens. Or certain spells are area effect and can hurt your allies in range. Oh, and general combat is the hardest I've seen in a Suikoden game, as it's incredibly easy to receive large amounts of damage, especially from magic, yet your enemies will take a ton of hits to bring down. It can be downright frustrating at times. Duels in the game are pretty much the same, with an advantage bar being the main difference, not like it affects much. The war battle system here though is my favorite. It avoids unnecessary RNG and opts for moving units on graphs through vertices, and regular combat ensues when a unit attacks. Characters in units act on AI though, so I guess there's some RNG involved. But I like this new system of war battles. Like previous titles, there are a few unwinnable battles, as well as a few where winning or losing doesn't really matter that much.

As far as anything else goes, shops are the same, the standard hardware, rune sage, inn, armor, blacksmith, trading shop, restaurant, etc. are around. But what's new? The skills. There are physical skills which can really improve a characters physical prowess in combat, which are trained by a bujutsu teacher ingame. The magic skills are handled by a tutor, in the same deal. Both types of skills require skill points, earned after every battle, and only expended when growing skills or adding new ones. This certainly adds to Suikoden III's diversity. Certain times, there are boss encounters, they are either rare encounters which are really tough but provide experience and skill boosts, as well as treasure bosses which are fought at the end of certain areas; they are all souped-up monsters which will be hard to kill and offer treasure chests, with lots of loot for reward. You can fight them again if you get everything too.

Gameplay Grade: A-

Characters: You know this is my favorite section when talking about anything Suikoden. With 108+ characters, there's sure a lot to talk about. One thing to mention is support characters. All characters who don't directly participate on a battlefield have support abilities that benefit usually after a battle.
#1: Thomas: Characters under the 1st star are usually the main hero of the game. This one is the only exception. Thomas by no means is an amazing hero, he's just the master of the castle that eventually becomes the main HQ of the game. As a battle character, he sucks, quite frankly, but he does have a lot of skill points for growth potential
#2: Sasarai: Characters under the 2nd star are usually skilled generals. Our first familiar face from Suikoden II, except that Sasarai is a minor character there. Here, he joins rather late, and is an enemy up until that point. His best qualification is that he excels as a mage, especially an earth mage due to his True Earth Rune.
#3: Caesar Silverberg: Well that's a familiar surname. Caesar is like the other Silverberg-related characters in that he's a military strategist, but his appearance doesn't really show him as one at all. He only has a very minor support role as a support character.
#4: Luc: Yep, he's got this star three games in a row. But in this one, his role is ENTIRELY different. Otherwise, his combat abilities are the same.
#5: Dupa: It's not a Suikoden game without different races. Dupa is chief of the Lizard Clan, fierce damaging warriors. In battle, Dupa has a permanent Fury Rune attached, adding to his damage potential, but he only reaches one swing with his weapon.
#6: Yuber: Oh boy, the one Suikoden game where you play as Yuber! But only in the bonus chapter sadly. He is a formidable opponent on the battlefield, fought several times, and can get really annoying due to his power, evasion, even magic. He has a unique true rune known as Eightfold Rune.
#7: Shiba: Characters under this star tend to be strong, and Shiba, another Lizard, is definitely strong. He's physically the strongest of the Lizard warriors, but his permanent Warrior rune leaves a lot to be desired for customization's sake. Also I think it's unintentional, but Shiba is the Korean word for f**k.
#8: Lucia: Another familiar face, Lucia was a minor antagonist from the second game, but has a more defining role in this one as Hugo's mother. She is a great battle character with good skills, three rune slots, all-around good.
#9: Yuiri: Leader of the all-women Alma Kinan tribe, she's generally good-willed, and is a crossbow-wielder with a permanent Killer rune. Her Wind Affinity shines.
#10: Salome Harras: Strategist of the Zexen Knights, he's alright in combat, but only gets one swing. He works as a support mage with good marks on Water and Shield magic.
#11: Jimba: Has a past which ends up crucial to the plot. There is a very specific time frame in Chapter 4 where you can use him in combat, and he's basically a magic swordsman type. Aside from that, he is one of two story characters to die no matter what.
#12: Juan: Oh wow, Juan is a fighter. He gets a ton of attacks, and Continual Attack skill allows him to move onto another enemy when finished. His downside is his permanent Waking Rune which starts his battles asleep. Outside of combat he is the main bujutsu teacher, and if he's in your party, can access bujutsu training anytime.
#13: Sgt. Joe: A duck, another weird species. He's the best duck character in the game though, as he has good marks in water magic and heavy damage.
#14: Hugo: Not to be confused with Hugo from the first Suikoden, Hugo is one of three main heroes in the game. He'll end up as a true rune bearer, but his physical power is excellent due to multiple swings, heavy damage, and continual attack. Best of all, he can mount on Fubar and be an offensive powerhouse.
#15: Bazba: Last of the lizards, the weakest physically, but his permanent Cyclone rune allows magic.
#16: Yun: Only seen in Chris's Chapter 3, Yun doesn't do much as a support character, but she's the other star in the game to die in the plot.
#17: Edge: The newest wielder of the Star Dragon Sword, Edge is very serviceable in combat, and is more like Flik instead of Viktor.
#18: Yumi: Her skills are a lot like Yuiri's, but with Earth magic.
#19: Fubar: Hugo's griffon, it's pretty powerful, but Hugo can mount on Fubar and do tons of damage.
#20: Nash Clovis: The characters under this star tend to wield the True Holy (Godspeed) rune, but not Nash, sadly. He accompanies Chris in his chapters, and is alright fighting and with a water rune. Notably, I'll check out the Suikogaiden games, where Nash is actually the main protagonist of both.
#21: Aila: A Karayan girl who accompanies Geddoe's party, she's good with Earth and Shield magic, and does okay for an archer.
#22: Hallec: Characters under this star are beastly fighters (Fu Su Lu and Hanna from previous games). Hallec is definitely this, with dual ax-wielding, lots of damage, and he gets an S rank in swing too. He's awesome.
#23: Chris Lightfellow: One of three game heroes, Chris is the leader of the Zexen Knights, and is capable of dishing and taking damage well. Her magic is the worst of the three main heroes though.
#24: Estella: She works as a mage with three rune slots and great magic all around. Storywise, she is a liar who tells unbelievable tales.
#25: Cecile: Guards Thomas's castle as well as Thomas himself. She actually is a tank character in some way, but doesn't get any free slots to use, plus she takes awhile to build up.
#26: Geddoe: The last of three heroes and definitely my favorite. He's already seen the likes of war, and has a burden to bear, plus the eyepatch is cool. Combat-wise, he's excellent with lightning magic, and is okay physically, with his accuracy suffering implied by his eyepatch.
#27: Melville: Leader of the Saint Loa Knights, him and his two buddies are little kids with young hearts. Not that he's good at combat though, he's not. He's the "Swordsman of Rage"
#28: Ace: A member of Geddoe's group, very well rounded, and his Double Tusk rune can do tons of damage.
#29: Alanis: The "Silver Maiden" of the SL Knights, she's using magic most of the time
#30: Queen: Another member of Geddoe's mercenary squad, Queen's got heavy damage and can tons of it easily. Surprisingly, she's got good wind affinity. I didn't care much for her Ripple rune though. The stars under 28 and 30 tend to be a duo.
#31: Elliot: The "Swordsman of Gale" of the SL knights, Elliot doesn't actually participate in battle, but he's a support character with the best Potch Find in the game (at a C, but no one is better sadly). The stars under 27, 29, and 31, are a trio.
#32: Franz: Mantor trainer, he joins late in the game, but I never found him useful unless he's mounted on Ruby.
#33: Iku: Another late joiner, she's alright as a support character. This star and 32 tends to be a boy/girl pair.
#34: Scott: Runs the trading shop in the game. The stars under 34 and 35 tend to be a duo.
#35: Ernie: She's the main tutor for the game. As a support, she functions as a mobile tutor as well.
#36: Dios: Characters under this star are usually trusted advisors to #2. Dios is this to Sasarai but that's about it.
#37: Albert Silverberg: Oh joy, another Silverberg, except he's on the enemy's side the whole time.
#38: Mua: One of my favorite characters for being a straight-up tank. He is so strong defensively that he barely takes damage. He gets two swings, as well as counter-attack and two rune slots. I used this guy a lot.
#39: Dominic: Runs the armor shop, and like other games, armor you see in other stores becomes available at his shop.
#40: Jeane: As usual, Jeane's in every game, running the rune sage. She's probably the best support character in the game, as not only does Rune Sage skill allow for mobile rune shop, but speeds up spellcasting time and increases magic damage.
#41: Shabon: A traveling busker, she's an interesting one. Her defense and HP suck, but her magic is servicable and she can get a ton of hits on enemies that could make most regular fighters blush.
#42: Fred Maximillian: Carrying the legacy of his grandfather from the first two games, Fred is the lovely knight who boasts about his faction. He's another tank combat-wise, but is a little less customizable.
#43: Rico: She's (yes it's a girl, even though Rico is a boy's name and she looks like a petite boy) Fred's squire. In combat they can do the Maximillian Unite, and she fights with a hammer. She works as a support mage, and has Fighting Spirit in her skill set, allowing her to avoid unbalanced status.
#44: Percival Fraulein: One of the Zexen Knights, the Swordsman of Gale, he's good with water magic but not so much in damage. Only one rune slot too, but he can equip the heaviest armor.
#45: Borus Redrum: Another Zexen knight, he and Percival occupy the stars that are the "Pretty Boy Knight Duo" or so. Borus is a bit disappointing in that he can't really equip magic at all, but he's heavy on damage and armor.
#46: Twaikin: A dwarf with a lot of emphasis on defense and HP, he's definitely a tank character.
#47: Nadir: Interesting, there's a theater aspect in the game and this guy runs it. Give characters roles in plays and act them out. Sometimes it's hilarious, but this is certainly a minigame, if you can call it that.
#48: Duke: Leader of the rival mercenary squad against Geddoe's squad. He joins late, but combat-wise, he's only really another fighter, not too good with magic either.
#49: Barts: He runs a garden where you can pick medicines and trading items and such. Support-wise, he's actually good.
#50: Bright: Remember that dragon that Futch hatched? It's all grown up, and Futch can mount it in this game dealing all sorts of damage.
#51: Toppo: Another traveling busker, he's rather silent, but he can attack with darts and use the Jongleur rune, which can provide status buffs to other party members as long as the caster keeps chanting (there's unique skills for this)
#52: Beecham: Lucia's lieutenant, he's more or less another magic swordsman
#53: Gau: One of Duke's members, he's another fighter, but he's the only one who can equip the Lion God Ring accessory.
#54: Reed: One of Lilly's subordinates, another fighter
#55: Samus: Not that Samus, another of Lilly's subordinates. Despite the wind rune, he's not good with magic.
#56: Mio: A nurse, with a good Healing skill making her a worthwhile support character.
#57: Tuta: All grown up from the second game, Tuta's got the best Healing skill as far as support characters go.
#58: Futch: Yep, Futch is back, and this time with the sword Humphrey used to have. He's certainly a lot better, and he can mount on Bright to increase his overall power.
#59: Lilly Pendragon: Another all grown up character, she takes Reed and Samus along with her and is, well, another fighter. She's funny though.
#60: Jefferson: A drill sergaent who can be used to give "appointments" to other characters increasing their skill power. He looks like John Cena.
#61: Sarah: Characters under this star tend to be powerful mages. Sarah is very powerful, and does well with Rage and Flowing runes, but is only playable in the bonus chapter. Not to be confused with the laundry lady from the first Suikoden.
#62: Watari: The star here is occupied by ninjas. Watari is a cool ninja with speed, multiple hits, and three rune slots. His defense is pitiful
#63: Ayame: Another star occupied by ninjas, except in the first game. She has the same qualifications Watari has except without rune slots. She has the Shrike rune though, and I like that.
#64: Sebastian: Runs the inn at the castle. Characters under this star are innkeepers.
#65: Shizu: Builds the elevator for the castle, and characters under this star are elevator inventors.
#66: Hortez VII: Interesting individual, his horrible sense of direction makes it take awhile to recruit him. When recruited, he does the same thing Raura did in the second game, turn runes into scrolls.
#67: Elaine: A beautiful member of Duke's squad, she's like Queen and Lilly in skills and combat, but lacks Heavy Damage in place of good magic, especially lightning.
#68: Jacques: Another member of Geddoe's squad and my personal favorite character ever. His gun is huge, and his silent yet silly nature is the reason I love him.
#69: Joker: The oldest of Geddoe's squad, he fights with fists but is good with magic too. 68 and 69 are another duo by the way.
#70: Wan Fu: A half-naked man who fights with a pole arm but is rather inaccurate. He gets an S in Adrenaline Power, which is kinda like Guts skills in other games.
#71: Eike: Castle librarians inhabit this star. Eike's the creepy one.
#72: Leo Gallen: Iron Leo is probably the best of the Zexen Knights. He's the only tank character in the game who doesn't have a shield, and his best skills go up to an S. He's cool
#73: Roland Lesaurus: The elf of the Zexen Knights, so he uses a bow. Alright at most.
#74: Sharon: Dragon knight and daughter of Milia from the first game. She wields a shield and spear.
#75: Nicolas: Last member of Duke's group and the most defensive. His shield and armor make him impossible to die in combat, but he gets zero rune slots to use.
#76: Gadget Z: A more souped-up version of Gadget from the second game. With some unites, this thing has some hilarious animations, and as usual, has a ton of physical defense.
#77: Nei: The only other elf in the game and a traveling busker, she does excellent in magic of any kind and can even work physically if so chosen.
#78: Viki: There's always Viki, and she's one to teleport the player to places. In combat, she's like she was in Suikoden II, serviciable mage, but you'd watch out for spell backfiring. I guess she's better in this game though.
#79: Viki: Viki again? This one is actually a younger, but smarter version of Viki, but is otherwise the same.
#80: Augustine: Characters under this star are the fashionably-dressed narcissists. Augustine might be the best one so far, as he can equip Rose Brooch accessories and that boosts his swing stat. He's actually good.
#81: Belle: She's Meg's daughter (for those that don't know, Meg is the one that looks like Sailor Jupiter and had that other Gadget), and is painfully average. Characters under this star tend to be young girl tricksters.
#82: Koroku: A dog that can be adopted. Characters under this star are actually a member of a five-animal group (not in the first game though). The other ones are non-stars, but none of these dogs are useful in combat, even with their unite. Koroku can actually be controlled in the castle and there are some funny reactions from others, especially when he opens doors.
#83: Arthur: Wants to publish reports on things. His star tends to be occupied by reporters.
#84: Kidd: Like Richmond from the second game, Kidd's one to talk to for investigating several members. As a support, he has the best Treasure Hunt, which helps for those pesky random drops.
#85: Apple: Returning for the last time is Apple, helping out with strategy whenever possible.
#86: Kenji: Weird guy, he's a gymnastics trainer, but most of his stats are bad.
#87: Mel: Characters under this star are usually teenage girls with animal companions. Mel claims she's a ventriloquist with her puppet Branky, bashing it into the wall sometimes. She's kinda like Belle in combat though.
#88: Peggi: Characters under this star are the main blacksmith for the castle. Thankfully, Peggi comes early.
#89: Martha: Runs a lottery stand. That's something new in Suikoden III, it's a pretty weird way to gain money but at least can be savescummed. She's got the best Discount skill for support characters, so shoppers would want her along.
#90: Wilder: A duck warrior, he wields a halberd-like weapon. Ducks have good attack power but low defense.
#91: Rhett: The other duck warrior, he and Wilder take up the stars that are a duo of nonhuman species.
#92: Louis Keeferson: This little kid is a squire with the Zexen Knights, and you have to take him along in some of Chris's chapters. Sadly, his support abilities are bad.
#93: Mamie: The cook for the castle (this star is occupied by cooks), you give her ingredients to make unique food items. There's no "Iron Chef" style minigame here though.
#94: Ruby: That's the name of Franz's mantor. Alone not much, mounted with Franz, better.
#95: Muto: The castle's storage keeper, and a friendly Kobold (or perhaps just a dog person thing).
#96: Landis: The only Winger in this game is this creepy guy. He's okay as a fighter (there are a lot of those). The way to recruit this guy is actually the same way to recruit the squirrels in the second game.
#97: Kathy: She's a horse tamer, and talk to her for a horce-racing minigame. That's fine and all.
#98: Emily: Characters under this star are powerful female fighters, and Emily is no exception. She's actually Ronnie Bell's daughter (from the first game) and can get a ton of hits along with heavy damage. She's a lot like Juan.
#99: Billy: He's the father of Melville and Kathy, and is a gambler (this star occupied by gambling minigame players) who is recruited upon playing a betting card game.
#100: Mike: Oh wow, another card game player. This time he plays some form of blackjack for recruitment.
#101: Luce: The characters under this star tend to be maternal. Luce is a caregiver, but doesn't have much role other than being a mother to her son Lulu. Lulu of which isn't a Star of Destiny, but is otherwise a lighter version of Hugo.
#102: Sanae Yamamoto: The daughter of Freed and Yoshino from the second game, she wields the same naginata and is generally good.
#103: Anne: A Karayan woman who wants to have a tavern. She's important in that she's the one to talk to to change party members.
#104: Goro: The bathmaker of the game, in competition with his father. The Bath support skill heals both HP and status and is pretty good.
#105: Piccolo: An old man who is a frail mage at most, with Lightning magic. He's also a fortune teller.
#106: Rody: A wizard apprentice of Estella, trying to go full Harry Potter by flying on a broom. Otherwise, he's a good mage in combat.
#107: Guillaume: A robust man who is dueled at least three times before recruitment. He actually runs the appraisal stand.
#108: Gordon: This is a DIFFERENT Gordon than the previous game. He's just a well-dressed man running the hardware stand.

As usual Suikoden's characters are aplenty and are all pretty decent. A little less memorable than some of the previous titles, but eh, it's the nature of Suikoden to have a ton of characters. Grade: B

Plot: RPGs need good plots, they are one of the reasons anyone would play them. It gets even more interesting with multiple viewpoints on the whole thing, and Suikoden III does just that with something called a Trinity Site. Here, the player chooses to play a chapter involving Chris, Hugo, or Geddoe, and several times the paths intertwine. There's also two optional chapters involving Thomas, a joke one with Koroku, and a bonus chapter upon gathering all 108 stars of destiny in the game (or at least 104 of them). The order really doesn't matter; by the time Chapter 4 is in, everything comes together. The character that is named by the player is the Flame Champion, but unlike other games, this is someone of legend who is never controlled.

Hugo Chapter 1: I started with this chapter. Hugo is sent by Lucia and Jimba to the Zexen capital to deliver an offering to the knight captain. He takes Sgt. Joe, Fubar, and his friend Lulu along with him. At the capital, he delivers his message, but things go wrong and he's a wanted man in the city. In his escape, he returns to the Karaya village seeing it burn down, and Lulu is killed when attacking Chris.
Chris Chapter 1: Known as the Silver Maiden and a war hero in Zexen, Chris deals with some moral issues. She's loved as a hero but is in disdain over the Zexen Council as well as the Grasslands clan. A peace offering goes wrong and she ends up in the middle of a major battle along with some of the knights. They find themselves being the ones destroying Karaya village, and the same scenes in Hugo's story happen here, except from Chris' point of view.
Geddoe Chapter 1: He and his group of five (named after playing cards, Ace, Jacques, Joker, and Queen) are finding out rumors of a resurging Fire Bringer. As he finds clues, Geddoe is witness to the Lizard Clan chief's assassination and the attacks by the Zexens. At Karaya village, the Karayan girl Aila spots a suspicious mage named Sarah, but also her village being burned down. With nowhere to go she joins Geddoe's group as they head back to their hometown of Caleria.
Chris Chapter 2: She fights another major battle against the Karayans and Lizards, who are still in anger over moments from the last chapters. After collapsing on her way home, Percival offers to take her to his hometown, Iksay, where Nash shows up. The village is then raided by Karayans and Lizards, and Jimba duels Chris, telling her to seek the Flame Champion. Nash helps her leave the Zexen Brass Castle and she goes on a journey with him to seek the Flame Champion.
Hugo Chapter 2: Hugo meets Lilly and her subordinates on the trail of the Flame Champion. They also find the mysterious group trying to open a sealed door in an ancient highway, where Yuber fends them off. At the Great Hollow (home of the Lizards), Hugo is met heartwarmingly by Lucia and surviving Karayans, and Dupa talks about the Flame Champion of legend. Jimba tells him to go to Budehuc Castle as well.
Geddoe Chapter 2: The mercs find themselves in Le Buque, a sky town of Mantor (giant bug) trainers, and Geddoe is suspicious of a new masked bishop of Harmonia. After confronting him and his intentions, Geddoe's group returns to Caleria.
Chris Chapter 3: Chris and Nash get help from Maximillian Knights Fred and Rico as well as Rhett and Wilder to head to Chisha Village. They meet Yumi and Yun, and are thrust into a battle against Harmonian forces. Hugo ends up helping along the way, but doesn't really forgive Chris. She then travels to Alma Kinan, the women-only village where Yun makes a sad sacrifice and dies despite Chris' protests. She then travels to the Flame Champion Hideaway and meets Sana.
Hugo Chapter 3: Hugo reaches Budehuc, but are in the middle of a squabble where Thomas' castle is about to be evicted as Zexen territory. Caesar and Apple show up at this point too, and help them get away safely. Lilly's group leaves Hugo, then they go to Brass Castle where Hallec and Mua join Hugo's group. At Chisha, Hugo arrives in time to help in the fighting, even though Chris was there and all. He duels both Yuber and Sasarai at the village, and eventually winds up going to the Flame Champion Hideaway as well.
Geddoe Chapter 3: The mercs head back to the Zexen capital, staying at the inn for a bit, then Geddoe meets Salome in a cavern to the north explaining a situation going on at Budehuc castle. The group indirectly helps Thomas out in his dire situation, and it's here that Geddoe reveals that he is the bearer of the True Lightning Rune and that he has lived through the first war involving the Fire Bringer. He then decides to go for the Flame Champion Hideaway as well.
Thomas Chapter 1: Thomas's chapters are optional, but this first one is just Thomas getting acquainted with his new status as master of Budehuc castle. He also runs a few errands.
Thomas Chapter 2: The events of Hugo and Geddoe's Chapter 3 involving Budehuc happen here, except from Thomas' point of view. Thomas tries to defend his castle from a rather annoying Zexen councilor, and it ends up succeeding.
Chapter 4: This is where it all comes together. In this chapter, Sana reveals that she's the Flame Champion's wife, and that he decided to give up his True Fire Rune and live as a mortal. Yet here is an important player decision. Chris, Hugo, or Geddoe gets to inherit the True Fire Rune. Canonically, it's Hugo, but I decided to test out all three characters with being the new Flame Champion. If Geddoe takes it, Hugo immediately gets his True Lightning Rune. The masked bishop attempts to take the rune, but he fails. Later, Salome tries to get the Grassland clans and Zexen to cooperate against Harmonia, and the battles that ensue result in defeats for Chisha and Duck villages. At the Zexen Brass Castle, the chosen Flame Champion makes a speech, inspiring everyone to win the next battle. Then, everyone moves to Budehuc castle (you can rename it, just like in other games), and then Jimba runs off. The Flame Champion follows his path to the Cyndar Ruins, where the True Water Rune goes out of control. Chris is the one to go inside the rune, then she inherits it (or Hugo does if Chris is Flame Champion). Jimba also dies here.
Chapter 5: The final chapter has Franz coming to the castle to request assistance. Geddoe takes his merc squad there to aid, but in a fight with Luc (who is the masked bishop revealed at the end of Chapter 4), he loses the True Lightning (or Fire) Rune. Chris helps Yumi, but it turns out to be Sarah in disguise, and she takes Chris' True Water (or Fire) Rune from her. Hugo responds to a distress call at Brass Castle and Luc takes whatever true rune is left from Hugo, showing his motives as well. A series of major battles play out where everyone attempts to finally take out Luc's group, with some assistance from Sasarai, who had his True Earth Rune taken from him by Luc as well. At the Ceremonial Site, the True Lightning Rune is taken from Yuber, the water from Sarah, and then the chosen Flame Champion has to take on Luc's True Wind Rune incarnation as the final boss. After it's all over, the protagonists head home. Yay.
Bonus Chapter: This chapter is actually Luc's chapter, showcasing how his group, with Yuber, Albert, and Sarah, organized all the bad things that had happened over the entire game. It's got a very sad ending for the villains too.

Overall, I like the multiple viewpoints and this Suikoden is just as strong in plot as Suikoden II. Grade: A+

Music: Bleh, most of the tunes are honestly boring. I actually liked the 108 Stars of Destiny credit scores the most. Sorry. But then again, I didn't like most of Suikoden II's music that much either. At least there weren't any annoying tunes. Grade: C

Overall Grade: B

There's sure a lot to a Suikoden game and there sure is a lot here. As far as it goes, it's a long and frustrating game, certainly not as good as its predecessor games, but there were some enjoyable moments. Plot and character development shine above all the rest. Now I've heard quite a few bad things about Suikoden IV, so I might hold off on that for a bit. Plus I want to see more of what Nash does in the Suikogaiden visual novels, so expect that soon. I sure love this franchise though.