Hold the phone and stop the presses! Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and whatever else the kids are playing these days? All those can wait! Konami is possibly bringing one of the greatest video games of all time to the PlayStation Network in an unexpected move that diehard fans have been asking for since the PS1 Classic line-up first started.
Editor’s note: Ron’s “best game ever,” not mine. – Joey
Konami has filed with the ESRB to bring Suikoden II to the PlayStation 3 as a PS1 Classic. Of course, this means nothing as of yet and is just a rumor until confirmed by Sony and Konami, but this tends to be a sign that good news is just around the corner in most cases. The game has been rated “T” and will hopefully be playable on my shiny new PS Vita, to boot.
Suikoden II was released in America in 1999, within a week of Final Fantasy VIII‘s highly anticipated explosion onto the American market. Needless to say, it was slaughtered by Squaresoft’s ultra-popular series, and it disappeared without a trace into the backdrops of the gaming world. A few years after all the Squaresoft hubbub began to die down, it finally started picking up the reputation it deserved, only the price tag indicated that it would cost gamers a pretty penny to dig up the classic.
The game started selling for a minimum price of $150 on Amazon and eBay after its limited run caused it to become a bit of a collectors item. The high asking price pushed a lot of enthusiasts to skip this one and press on to more recent games instead, and again, it faded into history.
Luckily, yours truly picked it up for $23.99 when it randomly appeared in an EB Games used games bin before the secondhand market price hike caught on. Actually, there were three copies in the bin, and I kick myself whenever I think about not picking them up as well. Ouch!
I was already a fan of the first game, but when I took this home and put it in, the game absolutely blew my fragile teenage mind. In an age of experimenting with JRPGs, Suikoden II established itself by playing it safe and perfecting 15 years of classic trends from the genre with superior PlayStation technology. This game can easily go toe-to-toe with Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger as the top-contender for the best sprite-based JRPG of all time, maybe even the greatest JRPG in existence. Its animation and art go worlds beyond what the competition offers, and its story is far more complex than the simplistic “let’s save the world” motifs which drive most JRPG plots.
Themes of friendship, destiny, war, it’s all there and handled so “maturely.” Despite how much I hate using the “M” word these days, there really is no other word that can describe Suikoden II‘s plot. With 108 characters to seek out and recruit, there is also no shortage of fun personalities to get acquainted with either.
Plus, the pace is lightning fast. For a 50 hour game, you genuinely get 50 hours. Not an ounce of padding to be found anywhere.
Sorry if I am coming off as a bit of a rambling fanboy in this article, but Suikoden II will crack my “Top 5” video games no matter what mood you find me in or what day of the week it is. In fact, it topped my list for PS1 classics that had yet to be ported to PlayStation Network, so I suppose there are still four to go. I’m too ecstatic to ask for more now.