Suikoden V: New Game Plus’n it

, | Game diaries

One of the reasons I prefer the PS3 to the 360 is that I can copy saved games to and from the system with a USB stick, no need for some third party doo-hickey (caveat emptor: PS3 games won’t let you use other people’s saves, sans hacking them to work on your system). There’s also the fact that Blu Ray lets me play Assassin’s Creed with Italian dialogue, and play Uncharted 2 with the leads talking in French so I don’t have to hear the smarmy American voices, but let’s save that for another time. It’s one of the reasons I prefer the PSP to the DS too, aside from the non-tiny screen. I was able to expedite my playthrough of the Scott Bakula-Agent Smith inspired action RPG The Third Birthday with cleared game data, sometimes referred to as New Game+.

After the jump, what does any of this New Game+ business have to do with Suikoden V?

The term New Game+ comes from Chrono Trigger. It means starting the game over after finishing, with the items, money, and experience you gained the first time through. I foolishly forgot to check if Suikoden Vee had this before starting; I got past the palace coup before noticing New Game + was metioned in the FAQ I was reading. Shit! The FAQ mentioned it made one of those mandatory failure battles winnable, although of course the outcome is still the same. Some people will just “Youtube” optional content in a long game. I’m going to “New Game Plus” Suikoden 5 to save time. So off to Gamefaqs I went to download some clear data.

Unfortunately all they had was a save near the end of the game. So then I fumbled through the final battle, picking characters who looked like high level mages for my team, and some high level guys who looked like good front row fighters. At least there were no big surprises ruined. My aborted first playthrough meant I already knew the identities of the villains.

Annoyingly, you can’t rename the prince when you start over in this game, so I’m stuck with “Arriss”. But it’s worth it. The game carries over everything except experience points and skill levels. And even better holding down the L2 button makes the prince dash across the screen faster, like someone’s fast forwarding the game. This is a big help, because the areas are huuuuge. In addition to the top notch armor and 500k of potch in the bank, I get two other magical items that expedite my playthrough: the fortune and champion orbs.

The person who uploaded the save didn’t have these in the party inventory, but thankfully he left them in storage. Once I reach the character who handles storage (Suikoden is very stingy with inventory space; the amount you carry into battle is realistic for a six person group), I can finally equip these beauties, or “attach” as the game calls it. The fortune orb doubles the XP gained in battle. In Suikoden, when fighting clearly outmatched random encounter enemies who give jack in experience, you can choose the “let go” option to skip the battle. The champion orb stops these annoying random encounter from happening in the first place. Combine these two orbs, and random encounter are suddenly much less frequent; I shoot through the early levels and quickly outlevel most enemies. Boss battles usually give me enough XP to outpace future random encounters.

Both orbs take up valuable rune slots, but no big deal. I’ll just throw both of them on a front line hitter who doesn’t have much use for magic anyways. I use them on Kyle at first, then two hours later the game takes him away for plot purposes, removing him from the roster and taking my orbs with him. Shit! Fortunately he’s back as soon as I go to the next briefing with Lucretia. But I’ve learned my lesson and I replace Kyle as orb carrier with Shigure, an optional character. I figure since Shigure is one of the many permanently missable recruits, the game would never take him away for plot purposes.

Many hours later the game takes Shigure away for plot purposes.

Shit! The detective Oboro brings his two assistants Shigure and Saigiri with him for a false flag op where they spread rumours in town that the Godwins are going to repeat their tactic of setting fire to buildings, then start an actual fire to instill panic. I guess these scenes would have to play slightly differently if I didn’t recruit those characters. I do the next battle first thing so I can get my orbs back, then toss them on Lyon, something I should have done in the first place.

This is the biggest twist in the whole game

Lyon is a non-optional party member since she’s the prince’s bodyguard. On the exploration screen she’s always obediently walking/running behind the prince. She’s even a sort of in game hint system. She tells you what to do next whenever you turn around and talk to her. The game doesn’t force you to use crap characters. Lyon is a rare hybrid who’s good at slicing and casting. Since she’s usually attacking anyways, she’s a good candidate for orb truck. Of course, even Lyon gets sidelined after she gets wounded in the line of duty and starts bleeding sparkles (to keep the game’s Japanese equivalent of the T rating, I guess?). But I’m prepared this time because I read ahead in the FAQ and have already removed the orbs so I can attach them to Miakis, who fills in for Lyon afterwards.

What the hell does that girl drink?

Speaking of characters who inconvenience the player, Aunt Sialeeds will permanently leave at the same time Lyon is wounded. The game blatantly telegraphs this development by showing Sialeeds conversing with Gizel’s right hand man and assassin, Dolph, on two occasions. Some may wonder why the game doesn’t try for more subtle foreshadowing of a major plot twist. Anyone who’s actually playing the game will just be grateful for the warning: Remove any valuable orbs or runes from Sialeeds ASAP.

Up next: 108 samurai (or knights, ninjas, riflemen, whatever)
Click here for the previous Suikoden V entry.

Sapper Gopher is a private pilot, he operates out of the Gemini Sector. He flies a heavily modified Tauras.