|Suikoden IV (Genso Suikoden IV)|
|Release Date|| August 19, 2004|
January 11, 2005
February 25, 2005
Suikoden IV (released as Genso Suikoden IV in Japan) is a role-playing game. The game tells the tale of the Birth of the Island Nations and the story of the Rune of Punishment. It is set 150 years before the first Suikoden game. This was the first entry made without any known input from series creator Yoshitaka Murayama. Instead, creative duties were given to his long time collaberator Junko Kawano who took over the series after he left. Suikoden IV was the first entry to use voice acting and was designed to work with Progressive Scan TVs. It was followed up by the side story Suikoden Tactics.
Suikoden IV is a traditional turned based RPG like previous installments. Players control a party that explores dungeons and towns while completing quests and battling enemies. The purpose of the game is to collect the 108 Stars of Destiny while exploring the world.
Suikoden IV breaks from series tradition and reduces the total active party from six to four. Though, when you are traveling on the Dauntless, you are given the ability to create two additional teams of four that can be switched to during random battles on the ship. The game also introduces the Rush command which has your whole party pull their strength together to heal the leader of the party and unleash a powerful group attack without taking up the parties turn. After Rush has been used, its inactive until your party wins a certain amount of battles. Suikoden IV also does away with Suikoden III's Buddy System and Skill system, instead returning to the more straightforward systems of Suikoden I and II. The game re-introduces the Rune Piece weapon system from the first Suikoden and alters the Unite attacks by making players fight a certain number of battles with the proper characters before unlocking the Unite Attack, another new addition is that Unite Attacks can be leveled up if they are used enough times.
The Duel system also returns and largely plays the same as previous installments with its rock/paper/scissor mechanics. Instead, the game alters the cinematics of the duels, allowing for more stylized choreography thanks to the game incorporating more complex movement in character animation and the use of motion capture.
Army Battles are altered from previous games to incorpoarte the games naval setting. Players now control ships armed with Rune Cannons. The player chooses a Captain who affects movement and defense, party members with elemental runes can be assigned to the Rune Cannons and designates what type of Rune Shells the ships fire. The type of shells play an elemental rock/paper/scissor mechanics due to ships having the ability to counterattack while being attacked. if both ships use the same elemental type, the attacks cancel each other out, if they use elemental types that not weak to each other, both ships will be struck. If the one ships fires a shell which has an elemental strength over the other ships, it will neutralize the weak shell and strike the ship. The last section is assigning members to help with boarding a ship, certain party members get more underlings than others and increase health for the ship, but more underlings also affects the ships speed and lowers the amount of turns they get. Balancing speed, defense, and exploiting elemental weakness is important when deciding how to set up your ships.
Other changes in the game come from the introduction of a item crafting system in where the player can buy raw materials from Trading Posts or materials dropped from monsters, and have the ship's blacksmith/Tailor/Accessory Atelier build new armor and equipment for the player. Trading posts have also been slighlty altered by the introduction of the materials, and frequent trading will unlock higher grade versions of material which can be used to build better armor.
Suikoden IV is also the first entry in the series to not give the player bonuses for having a save from a previous Suikoden entry. This may be due to the game ultimately being a prequel to the first three games. A Suikoden IV save file does net you bonuses and extra party members in Suikoden Tactics.
Suikoden IV begins its tale with a training session (for both the player and the characters), where the Hero (named by the player in the game and identified in the Japanese novelization as Lazlo) and his best friend Snowe Vingerhut face off against their Commander and Vice Commander, Glen and Katarina respectively, out at sea. After the training concludes, the Hero and his fellow knight trainees head home to Razril, where they are to be pronounced full-fledged Gaien knights.
After the ceremonial Kindling Ritual and a night of feasting, the Hero awakens the next morning for his first duties as a new knight, including the task of escorting a man named Ramada to the neighboring island of Iluya. During the trip there, they are attacked by Brandeau and his pirates. Snowe abandons the ship after being fired upon by "rune cannons," while the Hero decides to brave the attacks and stay, thus inspiring jealousy in his cowardly comrade. Brandeau then boards the Hero's ship and challenges him to a duel, which the young knight unexpectedly wins. As a last effort, Brandeau unleashes the powe of the Rune of Punishment and attempts to destroy everyone, but a mysterious force shields the Hero from its might. Glen arrives to save his men, and in that brief moment, the Rune of Punishment is passed from Brandeau to Glen, after which Brandeau evaporates into dust.
Soon after, the knights retreat back to Razril. Several enemy fleets attack in succession, finally forcing Glen to repel them with the power of the deadly Rune. In the aftermath, the Hero finds the Commander dying, and unwittingly becomes the Rune of Punishment's next bearer. Snowe arrives just in time to witness Glen's evaporation and blames the Hero for killing him. Katarina, who assumes command in Glen's stead, believes Snowe's story and sentences the Hero to exile from the island. Drifting aimlessly on a small boat, the Hero discovers that two of his fellow knights, as well as a wandering merchant, have stowed away to join him.
As the Hero and his companions drift on the open sea, they come across one of the militaristic Kooluk nation's merchant ships, which takes them on board. However, the Hero discovers that the ship is actually a military vessel, captained by the Kooluk hero Troy, and that the Hero's former charge Ramada had been a Kooluk spy. Troy catches the Hero eavesdropping, draws steel and easily defeats him in a fight, but then allows the banished knight and his friends to flee. Adrift again, the companions wash up on a deserted island, where they forage for materials and eventually build a raft to leave. This time, they encounter a ship from the friendly kingdom of Obel, and are welcomed as guests.
The ship's crew inspects the Hero, recognizes the Rune on his hand, and sends him to meet with Lino En Kuldes, Obel's young and capable king. Lino En Kuldes hires the Hero, putting him in charge of recruiting new talent to help shore up Obel's defenses in the event of a Kooluk invasion. The Hero's first assignment is to meet and recruit the inventor Oleg. During their meeting, Oleg's invention (the world's first movie camera) captures Kooluk's Rune Cannon strike on Illuya. This prompts the King of Obel to take serious action, but too late; Obel is next on Kooluk's list, and the Hero, his friends, and Lino En Kuldes himself are all forced to flee in Obel's secret flagship (which becomes the hero's HQ for the remainder of the game). The Kooluk forces, with the backing of the arms merchant Graham Cray, conquer Obel with ease, establishing a foothold for their planned southern expansion.
In need of help, the Hero and company join forces with the pirate queen Kika, who suggests the recruitment of the tactician Lady Elenor Silverberg. Elenor is reluctant to help, but joins once she hears that Graham Cray is involved. She quickly forms a plan to liberate each of the Island Nations, then bring them together to face the Kooluk as a united front.
The Hero leads his forces from island to island, recruiting more and more along the way. Eventually, his campaign takes him back to Razril, where Snowe and his lord father have sold everyone out in the hopes of a peaceful takeover. The liberation of Razril succeeds, and Snowe leaves in further disgrace. (Later, depending on the player's actions, the Hero either tracks Snowe down and befriends him again, tracks him down and executes him, or just forgets about him entirely.)
As the company's forces continue to grow, Lino En Kuldes successfully leads the fight to recapture Obel. That leaves only Kooluk's regional base of operations, El Eal. Elenor devises a two-pronged attack, which ultimately brings both she and the Hero face-to-face with Graham Cray. Cray summons an enormous tree-like creature, both to dispose of the Hero and to claim the Rune of Punishment for himself. The Hero defeats the tree, leaving a wounded Cray in the now-collapsing fortress. As the company flees, Elenor stays behind to confront Cray — her former student — and apparently dies along with him in El Eal's collapse.
Just as the Hero escapes the fortress, Troy appears and challenges him to a final duel. They fight aboard a sinking ship, where the Hero claims victory. Returning the favor from before, the Hero offers Troy a lifeline, but Troy chooses to go down with the ship instead.
El Eal explodes, forcing the Hero activate the Rune of Punishment one last time, followed by the Hero passing out. It is not made entirely clear what happened after the Hero saves the fleet; however, the final, post-credits scene shows the Hero floating motionless in a lifeboat, presumably sent away from the Island Nations to remove the Rune of Punishment which had caused so much destruction from the region. If the player recruited all 108 Stars of Destiny, the Hero then awakens and attempts to flag a passing ship.
Lino En Kuldes then declares himself the leader of a new Island Nations Federation.
No official sheet music was ever made but several fan arrangements can be found online. Email email@example.com for more details