Top Ten Most Memorable Moments in Suikoden IIApparently I made a list three whole years ago outlining memorable moments from Suikoden, which still is my favorite game in the series. But II is usually seen as the best, and why not talk about it. More spoilers so if you haven't played all the way through, you gotta stay away from this list.
An RPG favorite, the actual assault against mad prince Luca Blight by Riou's entire army, sending in a lot of arrows as well as up to 18 characters, then a final duel. It takes a whole lot to get rid of the mad prince for good, and this is only the halfway mark of the game.
While Luca is obviously a main villain here, we need to know why he's so cunning and vile, and what better way to show that than the first FMV cutscene that plays during the game, which shows that Ryube, a village you come to in-game, gets destroyed. We then see Luca Blight murdering citizens, even letting one act like a pig before slaying.
Not necessarily the army battle, which is still somewhat memorable, but rather the confrontation that Riou and Jowy have. It's interrupted by head of Rockaxe, Gorudo, who cares less about the two and lets the arrows fly. One of these arrows hits Nanami, incapacitating her for the rest of the game and potentially killing her if you don't go for the best ending. Immediately after the arrow hits, both Riou and Jowy, enemies until now, engage in a much-needed team-up against Gorudo.
Sometimes, one of the more memorable moments is something you see in the beginning. Riou and Jowy are both involved in Highland's Youth Brigade, which is then betrayed by Rowd and slaughtered by Luca, a ploy by the Highland Kingdom to blame the city-states and kicking off the main plot. They're just a bunch of kids, for crying out loud. Only Riou and Jowy make it out from this alive.
At the end of the game, Luca is dead, Seed and Culgan, along with Han Cunningham, have perished, and Highland's at its knees with only King Jowy pretty much all that's left. While Jowy flees anyways, Riou and his elite force have to confront the final boss the Beast Rune, a multi-target boss that is quite challenging.
If you ask me, Neclord is just shoehorned fanservice. But they still managed to wrap up a side story which, isn't really a side story per se since you have to go for it, but it's at a time after you're finished with Luca Blight and the plot demands we fight someone. Neclord of course had already been confirmed alive by the middle of the game but having to kill him again involves Viktor getting the Star Dragon Sword back, the intervention of vampire hunter Kahn Marley and the Moon Rune's true owner Sierra Mikain to fully seal Neclord away for good.
Mayor Annabelle of Muse basically tries to get the city-states to act against Highland, but fails. What makes her assassination worse is that it is by Jowy, who now betrays the trust of Riou and Nanami and joins Highland. In the chaos that unfolds, Muse is occupied, and that leads to the next item.
Later on we find our way back to Muse, only for the Beast Rune to be unleashed, where citizens are apparently sacrificed, another showcase of terror that Luca Blight creates. Making things worse is that Gorudo does not take action for Muse, instead more concerned about his own border. Making things EVEN WORSE is what happens next, where refugees, attempting to cross to the Matilda border, are then slaughtered as they try to escape. Much of this is completely out of the control of the player, for the record.
The return of Leknaat offers the pair what actually is the Rune of the Beginning, which is split into two other runes. These runes of course lead to the separation of the pair and the ongoing conflict between the two.
Now, this is actually a sidequest, and won't ever occur unless you load savegame data from the original Suikoden, but it's worth it to see and get to play as the main character from the previous Suikoden. This also allows for a special sidequest where Riou and Tir help out a boy from a Poison Moth boss, where they can use their true runes in tandem. And then McDohl, perhaps the best optional character overall in Suikoden II, becomes a party member.