Bigger, badder and better than Suikoden I.
After being sold out by their own forces, Jowy and Riou, two teenagers at the service of Highland's military, become outcasts and become embroiled in a war between nations. There're plenty of poignant scenes, epic battles, epic villains, turns, twists and even flying squirrels. The story is pretty darn fantastic, dealing with subjects of good, evil and what's in-between, having armies duking it out not because of morality, but because of different perspectives. It's a very engrossing story, despite the sometimes spotty translation, and the characters that the game opted to focus on are fairly memorable. There're plenty of returning characters, and if you transfer your old Suikoden savefile, you'll get a few bonus extra lines from them. Luca Blight is the game's only real villain, and what a villain he is, stealing every scene he's in, and the last battle against him is fantastic, and it doesn't even mark the end of the game!!
Random encounters play out the same, with a party made up of up to six different units, and they play out in turns, same old, same old. Duels are the same, you must figure out what the enemy is gonna do in a rock-paper-scissors fight according to what they say. Strategic Battles feel more like an SRPG than before: You move each and every individual unit on your army over a map, and then engage in battle or cast spells. It's fairly mundane, and most of these feature a few twists and turns so that they are over pretty fast. Still, be worried, as death of a unit might mean permanent death for some of the defeated characters.
Suikoden 2 is fantastic. Riou and Jowy's plight to end the war, the different roads they take, the people that gather around them and fate itself will put them at odds with each other. It's an engrossing tale, and the gameplay is a fine tuning of what came before it. While its explosive price was kind of prohibitive, its PSN rerelease means there's no excuse for skipping it.
9.0 out of 10