|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konami||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Mar. 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The Suikoden series may not be one of the most popular RPG series of all time, but its previous iterations on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 certainly made an impact on fans, catapulting this franchise into cult status. Although the main Suikoden series has been exclusively console-focused in the US up until now, Suikoden Tierkreis takes the Suikoden formula and squishes it into a handheld form.
For those unfamiliar with the Suikoden series, each game has several key features in common. Most notable of which is the presence of 108 playable characters, known as the 108 Stars of Destiny. These 108 stars will remain dormant until a great evil brings them together to fight in an immense battle. Though the characters and situations change, the games all feature this same storyline. It may sound redundant, but fans of the series have come to love this formula, and it is an essential part of any Suikoden game.
As you can imagine, squeezing a game with 108 main characters into a handheld game sounds like a daunting task. Although Suikoden Tierkreis keeps most of the core elements the same, series veterans will probably find this title lacking. Conversely, if you are new to Suikoden, Tierkreis provides a very nice entry-level title for the series and works well as a standalone RPG adventure.
You begin the game as a user-named character who is going on an adventure to rid his villages countryside of nefarious rodents. However, when a forest magically appears and no one seems to notice, the 108 Stars of Destiny start to come together. This is when we learn of an evil plot involving a ruler known as the One King, who wants to take over the world. Although the story and premise is certainly familiar, Suikoden Tierkreis does take place in an alternate universe, so fans of the series will be able to see alternate versions of some of their favorite characters.
But story aside, what really shines in this title is the battle system. While some of the intricacies of the bigger console versions have been lost in Tierkreis, I have to say I was impressed with it overall. True to form, Tierkries has you plan your moves before each turn, which allows you to plan for enemy counterattacks as well as your own special attacks. Once a turn begins, each character acts out your commands and the enemy retaliates. Although this format doesnt give you a lot of flexibility mid-battle, it does a good job of emphasizing the need for a good defensive strategy.
Attacks come in two varieties: star and physical. There is only one physical attack for you to use, but the strength and scope of this attack is affected by the type of weaponry you have equipped as well as your own personal stats. You learn very early on that equipping different weapons (such as swords, bows, and cudgels) has a direct effect on how effective your physical attack is against certain enemies, so learning about enemy weaknesses early on is definitely a boon when you are trying to master the physical attack.
The other type of attack, the Star attack, is similar to magic attacks you would find in other RPGs. Each character develops an affinity for a certain type of power (which is related to their star mark of destiny) and as your character grows, you will unlock new star powers for your character.