Tag Archives: Suikoden III

Finally seeing Suikoden III from some different perspectives

Ugh, I’m not doing too well on those gaming resolutions for 2017 that I listed out at the beginning of the new year. Well, hold up, I did manage to cross the 80,000 Gamerscore mark, but other than that, my Steam backlog is either the same size as before or larger than ever, Earthbound is still untouched on my Wii U, and I don’t know what I was thinking when it came to musing about “creating something.” I mean, I’m already doing that with my art over at Death, Divorce, and Disney, slow as it may take, though perhaps one day I’ll do something with game design. I sure do have a bunch of ideas, but not the knowledge to put them into motion, and knowledge doesn’t come quick or easy.

Anyways, here is me equipping a mighty ice-pick of endurance+3 and chipping away at the legendary glacier boss that is Suikoden III. I played it for a couple of hours several years ago, eventually running into an issue with the game soft-locking on a loading screen due to scratches on my PlayStation 2 disc. That sucks, but I quickly moved past it and found a bazillion other games to occupy my time, including the original two games in the series. I then acquired a digital version for the PlayStation 3 about two years ago, easing my heart and mind somewhat with the knowledge that I could return to Konami’s third entry in the RPG series via a scratch-free experience. Still, it remained neglected once more…until now-ish. Dun dun dunnn.

This time around, I’ve decided to start Suikoden III from a new perspective, selecting someone different from my first go at the game. See, Suikoden III uses something called the Trinity Site System to tell its tale through three different POVs–namely, Hugo, the son of the Karaya Clan Chief Lucia, Chris Lightfellow, a Zexen Knight, and Geddoe, a mercenary from the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia. Phew, that was a mouthful. Last time, I went with Hugo, and this time I started the adventure off with Chris Lightfellow, who, by name alone, you might mistake as a man, but she’s actually the acting captain of the Zexen Knights, as well as the Tenbi Star, just like Kirkis was in the original game. Cool, cool. Basically, you get to play snippets from each of these characters’ storylines, with some overlapping others, and I suspect they will eventually meet up and form a single through-line to follow to the end. We’ll see.

It’s still a little early for me to say this, but I’m not a fan of the changes Konami made to combat in Suikoden III. Don’t worry, don’t worry, everything is still turn-based, but characters are now paired up during fights. This means you give a command to each pair rather than to them as individuals, which often makes the combat feel clunky and not highly strategic. For example, one person gets a specific action, such as casting a spell or using an item, while the other is forced into attacking by default. It’s not Miitopia random, but you are definitely not 100% in control of what everyone gets to do, and that’s a bummer. Also, I’ve put in about six to seven hours so far, seeing chapters from all three characters–Chris, Geddoe, and Hugo–and I’ve seen only one or two unite attack options during battle, which this JRPG series is famous for. Also, because we’re jumping around a lot, I’ve been reluctant to drop a lot of money on new armor and weapons or training because I don’t yet know who is going to be around for the bulk of Suikoden III, which is mildly frustrating.

So, clearly, it’s been slow going, but it has been refreshing to see some new characters and areas this second time starting Suikoden III. Also, evidently during my first time with Hugo I had missed an entire side quest involving bandits and Melville’s father, so that was great to see, content-wise, even if it did little to change what happened in his first chapter. I’m now playing as Geddoe and his Twelfth Unit from Harmonia as they embark from Vinay del Zexay…to do something. Not quite sure what their goal is yet. I’m eager to see a few more towns as Vinay del Zexay is not fun to explore and somewhat confusing and does not hold a candle to Gregminster, Greenhill City, or even Gordius. Then again, these games are all about building up a base. Speaking of that…

From the brief bit of research I’ve done, it sounds like once all three starting characters hit chapter three, I’ll have to make a major decision, one that will definitely affect how the story moves forward. It also sounds like, after Suikoden V, Suikoden III takes the longest for everyone to get inside a castle and start building up your army, which is one of the best parts of this series, and that’s a bummer because I want to go to there right now. Ugh. Here’s hoping I hit that milestone somewhere in 2018, the earlier the better. Because then I eventually need to try out Suikoden IV. And Suikoden Tactics. Oh, and I should probably re-play Suikoden V at some point because that is mostly a blur to me now.


Grinding Down’s 2017 gaming resolutions


This is always dangerous, making promises. I’ve done it in the past here on Grinding Down, only to burn myself and those written words when it, for instance, ultimately, took many more years for me to beat Final Fantasy IX. Still, it’s always good to have goals, something to reach for and hopefully achieve after putting in the hard work, and, at the very least, these empty checkmark boxes give me direction, a place to go when I’m not sure what to do next. I’m not saying I’ll be successful on every account below, but I am willing to try. For all we know, 2017 could be the year of our very unmaking, and I might as well go down fighting for a cause, trivial as some of these may be.

Right. Allow me to highlight some future gaming goals…

Suikoden III

It’s always been my intention to play (and replay) the entire Suikoden series from start to finish to get to the games I’ve never touched yet, specifically Suikoden III, Suikoden IV, and Suikoden Tactics. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t believe I ever saw credits roll on Suikoden V, but I do have a memory card save…somewhere. I got through replaying the first two games rather quickly, but then moved on to other non-Konami adventures after that.

For 2017, I’d like to get back to collecting them 108 Stars of Destiny, especially after finally playing some Dragon Age: Inquisition last year and seeing a few strong connections between the two. The roadblock is that I want to finish up everything for Dragon Age: Inquisition first before moving on to another large, time-demanding RPG. I just became friends with Dorian and am looking to move things forward romantically with Blackwall before tackling many more side missions. It’s probably going to be awhile.

So, I did play a bit of Suikoden III a few years ago, but my PlayStation 2 copy seems scratched up and unreliable. Thankfully, during some past PSN flash sale, I purchased a digital copy for the PlayStation 3, which means I really have no excuse now. It’s installed, ready to go. The real question is, as always, what to name my castle once I acquire it.


I’m not sure what it’s going to take me to finally start playing EarthBound. I was hoping buying the game, for more or less zero dollars thanks to Nintendo Club’s closing back in May 2015, was a solid place to begin. Alas, nope. I haven’t loaded it up once. Honestly, having this game available on the Wii U gamepad and not actually a Super NES locked to a TV should make this process even easier, considering I can take the experience with me into bed (hey now) before the Sandman visits.

However, that would mean I’d have to put down my Nintendo 3DS for some time, and with Disney Magical World 2 taking up all my pre-sleep time and Pokemon Moon waiting in the wings–as well as the remake of Dragon Quest VIII waiting even further in the wings–this might not happen just yet. Maybe by Spring 2017. I mostly wrote that to both give myself some breathing room, but also a starting point to stick to. This one’s for you, Iwata.

Steam backlog

At the time of writing, I have 362 games in my Steam library. Yeowza. Granted, many are not installed, and not all of them are huge, triple A titles that can’t even run well on my struggling-to-breathe ASUS laptop. Many have not been played at all, in fact. See, I have a bad habit of downloading just about every free thing released on the platform, as well as gobbling up indie bundles for real cheap to bloat this thing out even more. It’s gotten to the point that, when I do finally occasionally scroll through the list, I can barely remember where some of these titles came from, and then I freeze in fear, unable to decide what to try next, eventually settling on something safe, like AdVenture Capitalist or another unsuccessful run in Runestone Keeper. This is a problem.

I’m not here to make any kind of crazy schedule, like trying to play X number of games every week. That’s not going to gel with life. I am, however, here to make an effort, and make that effort known. I’m going to start small, using HowLongToBeat to help identify the not-so-big-timesinks and start whittling away from there. My problem, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, is that I always want to experience as much of a game as possible, that I can’t remove it simply after beating it if there are, for instance, collectibles remaining to find or extra challenges that could be accomplished. I need to work on that. I need to accept that not every game needs to be squeezed dry, leaving nothing behind but a colorless husk. For 2017, I need to let go more often.

80,000 Gamerscore

This seems more than doable, especially considering that I jumped 10,000 Achievement points in the matter of six months last year. This goal also feeds into the constant sub-goal of clearing up hard-drive space on my consoles and removing finished games, as I continue to download those freebies every month, but not do much else with them except wonder when I’ll find the time. I’m looking to polish off Earthlock: Festival of Magic real soon, as well as a number of those single introductory episodes from Telltale’s numerous adventure gaming series, which will probably help make a good step forward towards this next milestone.

Create something one might call a game or experience or waste of time

Now, I know nothing about programming and code and how to submit something for certification with the big console-makers. It takes me upwards of three minutes to remember how to hyperlink something using HTML when the button doesn’t work here on WordPress. That’s fine. I’m not looking to do all that and beyond. This can obviously be argued, but: I can draw, I can write, and I have ideas.

And so, I want to create something. An experience, with emotions and mood and meaning and jokes, maybe stuff to click on, a puzzle or two or twist you never saw coming. Something interactive. Which leads me to think that a piece of interactive fiction is a good starting area. I plan playing a few pieces of interactive fiction soon, which will hopefully help bring the inspiration juices to a boil (ew gross). The trickier part would be deciding what story to tell, y’know, from the hundreds bouncing around in my brain every day.

Well, there you have it. Five things make a post. Two named games to finally dive into, a whole bunch of things within my Steam library, a larger Gamerscore, and something creative. We’ll stop there, as any more goals will just tip the boat over.

That said, how about y’all? What are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2017? It need not be related to videogames. Perhaps you are finally ready to start cleaning up that garage full of clutter (hi, Dad!) or want to exercise more or get into knitting. Either way, let me know in the comments. I like knowing.

Five things make a post, and Suikoden III is an undeniable PlayStation 2 classic

gd bought suikoden III again on psn

Activity on Grinding Down has been sparse as of late, which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to the summer months. Truth be told, between moving from one state to another, working, burning the midnight oil, frowning over piles of paperwork, living a life, and eating up several episodes of House of Cards on Netflix every night, I’ve not been juggling many games at once, continuing to focus on my current mainstays: Pokémon Shuffle, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, and a handful of mobile entries, one of which I’m not even ready to openly admit to “playing.” What a tease!

Anyways, here’s a few–well, five, if the title of this post is to be believed–short topics I have enough words to spew about. Perhaps I’ll get back to longer, more traditional posts sooner than later, but I promise to make no promises. Except for that promise.


Steam Sale Has Shipped

I always imagine myself going crazy and buying game after game after game during Steam’s annual Summer Sale…but that never seems to happen. It should, as there are plenty of great sales, and I checked in on the marketplace at least once a day, almost pulling the trigger on Grow Home, but nope. This year, I spent a total of $0.74 for the Developer Alliance bundle, and of them, I’ve only got to enjoy one outing so far. The other titles are at least installed on my machine. Also, I tried out that weird meta “keep on clicking” mini-game about monsters battling, but had no idea really what the point of it was, other than contributing to unlocking additional sales.

Well, there’s always the end-of-year Holiday Sale to look forward to. Maybe I’ll spend over a dollar for that event. Maybe I’ll finally grab a copy of Grow Home before 2015 concludes. Maybe.

Welcome to tactical alien shooting

Naturally, I have a longer, much more detailed post in the works for The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, but the videogame-musing words have not been very forthcoming these last few weeks. Anyways, I finally beat this last night, but the final fight took–ready for this–nine attempts. Seven with my team of agents that I’ve been playing with since perhaps the second or third mission of the game, which was frustrating as the last fight seemed designed to undermine every one of their abilities. Instead, I had to swap out my generic-but-loyal dudes for two other dudes with different classes, and yes I totally understand that these are personality-less soldiers, but, to me, to CIA Agent William Carter’s journey as a whole, it made more sense that his long-standing comrades should’ve finished the fight with him than these newbies. Oh well.

The Flame Champion once more

The Suikoden franchise, as much as it hurts to write it, is dead. And this time, there’s no late-game manner of reviving it like there was with a certain Young Master’s friend. Clearly, Konami doesn’t even want to make videogames anymore.

Thankfully, there’s been a few gasps of air over the last couple of months with the bringing of Suikoden II to the PlayStation Network as a digital download. This fantastic trend is continuing, with Suikoden III popping up this week for fans of Konami’s star-studded RPG series to eat up. Yes, I purchased a digital copy immediately for a whopping $9.99; y’all might remember the time and length it took me to finally snag a (used) retail copy, but it turns out that my used discs are a wee bit scratched and unreliable. Now I don’t have to worry about that, though I’ll have to start the adventure over. Methinks I will once I get through Final Fantasy IX.

What in the world was that?

I burned through a guessing game on my non-fancy Windows 8 phone the other week called What in the World?, which basically presents you with a category, a low detailed drawing, and a bunch of letters at the bottom. Your goal is to guess what it is, and, for the most part, the answers are pretty obvious. Harry Potter, Madonna, Paris, Spider-Man, and so on. I struggled mostly with celebrity names and automobile brands, but if you get stuck you can use power-ups to remove unused letters or even put several correct letters in their final places. In the end, I unlocked all the Achievements and then deleted the thing from my phone.

Quote the raven

Once again, I’m tasked with making room on my fledgling of an Xbox 360, as I’d really like to download Just Cause 2 and see some chaos unfold. But first, let’s complete some other Games with Gold freebies from my hard-drive. Like…um, The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief. Well, Episode 1 at least. It’s a point-and-click adventure game…on a console. Grrr. So far, I’m glad that this was free, but generally once I start something, I need to finish it, even if it is only the first episode. My favorite subtitle typo currently has been about a train patron when she “looses” her purse, but the next line contaiedn the correct use of “lose.” Can’t win ’em all, the creators of The Book of Unwritten Tales.

That’s all for now! I have to go find some lady’s lost purse, as well as trick a violinist into opening up his violin case. Videogames–am I right?

Suikoden IV has joined its brothers and sisters in my Suikoden collection

suik 4 now mine 6-s4-42-208

So yeah, the big news was that I bought a PlayStation 3 over the weekend, but there was another purchase that really, for me, hit it big, and I’ve been saving the reveal for its own post. Like this one. Uh yeah, onwards…

My local GameStop in Pennsylvania is probably one of the last to still sell PlayStation 2 games, and because of this, I’m constantly sifting through their standalone shelves for goodies before the store simply stops selling them, and then that’s that. In the past, I’ve found a number of gems, such as Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters and Suikoden III, as well as some real duds, like Monster Rancher EVO, but regardless, it’s helped me fill out my collection nonetheless. Over the weekend, before I asked the dude behind the counter for the “Classic White” PlayStation 3 bundle, I made my way over to the PS2 section and noticed that they were “buy-two-get-one-free” for the time being, a type of sale that I just can’t ignore. And I hadn’t even scanned more then five covers before I saw it, just sitting there all nonchalant, waiting for me to pick it up: Suikoden IV. I found Wild Arms 4 and Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, thus snagging Suikoden IV for free. Whoop whoop!

I understand that, for many, it’s considered the worst in the series–or is that Suikoden Tierkries?–but this isn’t actually about the gameplay, but rather finding the game. A physical copy of it. See, Suikoden II is one of my favorite RPGs, with both the saddest scene and best story, and I find the series as a whole really enjoyable, especially once you get to your castle headquarters and can begin recruiting locals 108 Stars of Destiny to see how they affect everything. It’s a series that I’ve wanted to have as a whole, and once I got Suikoden V I was determined to eventually find the III and IV to round out the numbered entries in the series. That task…is now complete.

And here they all are, one happy family:


Mmm. Love it. Now to figure out if I’m determined enough to pick up the non-numbered spinoffs in the Suikoden franchise and really call myself a diehard fan. Currently, there are three:

  • Suikoden Tactics (PS2)
  • Suikoden Tierkries (DS)
  • Suikoden: The Woven Web of a Century (PSP)

Well, the chances of me getting a PSP are 0.000002%, so there goes that, and I feel like Suikoden Tactics is the rarest of the PS2 bunch. Chances are high I can find a used copy of Suikoden Tierkries though it sounds like a far cry from a traditional experience. Still curious about it though.

Either way, this is exciting. I’m still working my way through Suikoden III and amazing myself over the hilarious dialogue, but I will test out IV some day soon. I wonder if my PlayStation 3 is backwards-compatible. Probably not…

Suikoden III is forever “now loading”

I…I think I have some bad news. I say it like that because I don’t want to admit to myself that any of this is true, as I am a man that holds on and hopes, even as everything around me crumbles, but things do look a little dire. My PlayStation 2 disc for Suikoden III, a game I have been searching for high and low over a number of years and only finally just acquired last year, is busted. Has to be. If you’ll recall, I ran into a nasty loading problem during the first hour of the game, wherein the disc spun unremittingly while the words NOW LOADING flashed at me with malice. Well, it happened again, different spot. And once again after that.

Currently, I’m in this weird place. I spent a week or two burning through all four Blackwell point-and-click games with Tara and then proceeded to kick Mass Effect 2‘s ass to the curb and then systemically achieved 30,000 Gamerscore on the nose. And then…well, I haven’t really known what to do with myself when a moment of spare time opens up. I’ve dabbled a bit more in Rage, played some more Cave Story on my 3DS, and watched maybe too many episodes of Felicity at once. Eh, let me take that back; I could watch Felicity all day long, but only up until the episode when she chops all her delicious hair off.

And so, the other night, I decided to hop back into Suikoden III and see what was happening; I had played beyond the first hour for maybe another forty-five minutes, stopping at an impasse where my party had to wait a little bit before they could meet with the higher-ups of Vinay del Zexay. Turns out, we just needed to stay at the inn two or three more times, which is kind of annoying as the inn–seeing as it has no competition in town–charges a hefty 300 suikobucks each time. After your party has rested enough, Sergeant Joe suggests heading back to the town hall to see if we can deliver our message. And we can. Hugo and friends are invited inside, there’s some small talk, and then the screen goes dark to–I assume–load an important cutscene. Only, the game goes nowhere–it just sits on that loading screen, and I sit staring at it until I realized I’ve sat for probably too long. I don’t immediately think it’s locked up, as Secret Agent Clank taught me that some PS2 games take forever and then some.

Disappointed, I shut off the PS2, examined the game’s disc, and then turned the system back on. That kind of worked the last time. I stayed at the inn two more times again, went back to the town hall again, chatted again, and watched as the NOW LOADING screen mocked me again. Well, boo to that. I have to suspect that the discoloration on the disc is problematic for loading cutscenes. That said, I’m not giving up yet. I’ll keep trying to play for as long it lets me play, and whether that means going off on one of the other main characters’ adventures, then so be it. Maybe Hugo and I weren’t meant to be. Maybe I’ll run into the same problems elsewhere. Maybe, maybe.

It might just be worse to have an unusable copy of Suikoden III in my collection.


Hey, remember when I drank a bunch of Felix Felicis and found a copy of Suikoden III recently? And then remember when I told the world how scared I was to even play it? Well, I finally did it. Play, that is. For sixty minutes and then some. Even took notes. You can read all about discolored used game discs, getting lost in the smallest village ever, and duck soldiers over at The First Hour.

I’ve played past Suikoden III‘s first hour, too. Thanks to Sergeant Joe, Hugo was able to schedule a meeting with the people doing business in Vinay del Zexay’s council building, but we have to wait at least a day; until then, the capital is ours for the exploring, and it’s a pretty big place, with lots of shops and citizens to speak with. Alas, Hugo’s not rich, so there’s not much to do. I’m guessing at some point I’ll sleep at an inn and go back for that meeting. At some point…

But yeah. Again, please check out my coverage of Suikoden III‘s first hour from Hugo’s chapters.

Still haven’t played Suikoden III yet

You might recall reading about me finally finding a copy of Suikoden III after many years of searching through shelves of used PS2 games at every GameStop I visited. Actually, I wrote about it one month ago exactly. And yet, despite my deep and unrelenting love for the series, despite my excitement over finding a copy and having it in my collection and picking up the box now and then to confirm that, yes, it is real and, yes, it is mine…I’ve still not played it. Honestly, I’m kind of scared to.

Then again, I was also a wee bit scared to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but for different reasons. Open-world games as massive as Bethesda makes ’em can be nothing but daunting; I love them, but sometimes struggle with staying focused, with sticking to the plan, and before you know it, I’ve lost the main thread and am now just wandering around, trying to find a place to call home. Still having fun, mind you, but feeling off, like I’m playing it wrong. I want to do everything, but to do everything means total and utter devotion. Which also means time, and time for videogames is not something I have as much for as I used to, seeing as I still plan to be either a famous writer or cartoonist–whichever happens first is fine by me.

With Suikoden III, I’m worried about being disappointed and then having to deal with the fact that I put way too much thought and care into obtaining something that ultimately did not do it for me. That’s some heavy thinking there, but it’s how my mind operates; I build my own structure of hype, and it’s very hard to get down from it safely. Supposedly Suikoden III is the best of the 3D games in the franchise, but a lot of that praise was printed back when the game came out. Y’know, in 2002. It’s hard to know how to interpret those claims some ten years later. I mean, I thought Suikoden V was fantastic, even with its slow start; in fact, that eight or nine hour intro is the reason why I admire it so.

Over the summer, for seemingly no reason at all, Tara popped Final Fantasy VII into her PlayStation. I chose not to watch, but because we were in the attic The Leaky Cauldron, I had to listen, and from what I heard, it sounded bad. Some games don’t age well, and some gaming mechanics definitely don’t age well; what might have been fast-paced battles and crazy good graphics back then certainly do not cross the mark today. Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII are games I’m scared to go back and play, and prefer to just leave them as fond memories for as long as possible. Same reason I haven’t gone back to Suikoden or Suikoden II–though, as an uber fan, I have to believe they stand the test of time.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just bite the bullet, put Skyrim aside for a bit this weekend, and see how Suikoden III goes. It’s gotta be better than some other PlayStation 2 games I’ve played recently, right? Right? Keep me in your thoughts.