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Preview -
Suikoden V
Previewed on 3/18/06

Good things come in Six Packs

Set to release March 21, Suikoden V is nearly here, and series fans could not be more excited.

Like the previous installments in the series, Suikoden V will feature 108 characters that players can collect throughout the game. Konami has also revamped the battle system to once again include six-character parties (along with four in reserve), and they have added a host of new features as well, including formations, which can give bonuses to attack, magic, defense, etc., short range and long range weapons, more co-op attacks, duels, and group based army type battles.

The aforementioned battle mechanics seem to have carried a lot over from previous titles. Duels are still a fairly rock-paper-scissors affair. Fans will remember that basing attacks off of what enemies say is the best way to win fights. The party based fights feature the aforementioned six characters again, and runes will once more play a major role. Skills can be equipped to expand the lethal options available to the player. Combination attacks are another tradition carried over from previous Suikoden titles, and Konami has promised fans that Suikoden V features many. Finally there are the army battles, in which players control armies. In this iteration of the series, the battles are played out in real time, and a seperate window comes up when the player's armies meet up with the enemy's.

The plot of Suikoden V places the player in the role of a prince from the Queendom of Falena. The prince, in traditional Suikoden fashion, is named by the player. A few years before the game begins, the Queen of Falena destroyed a town that was revolting. As the game begins, the prince is sent to the aforementioned town to see how everything is going. The plot develops from there. Konami, in a press release, promised the "Longest Suikoden storyline ever with fully voiced-over cut scenes, multiple endings, storyline branches and unimaginable plot twists," whether this is true or not remains to be seen.

Suikoden V's graphics feature a very anime-inspired look, as opposed to the realism that Suikoden IV seemed to be leaning slightly towards. The cut scenes look like they have a lot of polish, and what can be seen of the battle system seems to have some spectacular effects.

All in all, Suikoden V is looking like a solid entry in the series thus far. Look forward to it on March 21.

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-Joseph Wartick