Suikoden II (1998)

by Ji-yeong
7 minutes read


Released in 1998, Suikoden II is celebrated for its epic tale of warfare, magic, friendship, and betrayal. Featuring over 108 characters, strategic battles, and a world rich with lore, it’s a classic that continues to captivate players with its depth and storytelling.


Suikoden II stands as a towering achievement in the JRPG genre, offering a compelling blend of storytelling, strategy, and character development. Its release in 1998 set new standards for what players could expect from narrative-driven video games.


“Suikoden II” is a role-playing video game developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation console. It is the second installment in the main Suikoden series. The game was released in late 1998 in Japan, 1999 in North America, and in 2000 in Europe.

The game takes place three years after the events of the original Suikoden and centers on an invasion of the City-States of Jowston by the Kingdom of Highland. The player controls a silent protagonist who is the adopted son of Genkaku, a hero who saved the City-States of Jowston in a war against Highland years ago.

The protagonist and his best friend, Jowy Atreides, each gain one half of the Rune of the Beginning, one of the 27 True Runes of the Suikoden setting, and become caught up in the intrigues of the invasion and the dark fate of those who bear the halves of that Rune. As with other Suikoden titles, the game also centers on the recruitment of the 108 Stars of Destiny, who together have the power to alter fate.

The game features a vast array of characters, with over 100 recruitable characters, of which over 40 are usable in combat. The game also features multiple gameplay formats ranging from one-on-one combat to large scale confrontations between two armies.

The game was initially released to lackluster sales and somewhat tepid critical reception, with some criticism being directed at the game’s simpler and more retro 16-bit sprite visuals at a time when 3D graphics were heavily emphasized across the industry. However, since its release, the game has become a cult classic, in retrospect being cited as a classic of the role-playing genre and one of the greatest video games of all time.

In the game, after successfully freeing the occupied City-States from Highland control, the New State Army defeats the Highland army and invades the capital city, causing Jowy to flee.

The game world is presented in the traditional top-down view of console role-playing games. The player controls a sprite of the main character through towns and the World Map to interact with objects and NPCs, thus advancing the plot and unlocking secrets and sidequests.

Like its predecessor, Suikoden II features random battles where a party of six characters are controlled. Commands to fight, use Rune magic, an item or flee are available. Players also have the option of allowing the AI to automatically conduct a round of battle without needing to manually input commands.

A battle party of sufficient level above encountered enemies will see its flee command changed to either bribe or let go, which will either cost Potch (the game’s currency) or simply release the enemy to end the combat.

In a tradition that would continue with most future installments, Suikoden II allowed memory card data from a Suikoden save file to be loaded at the beginning of a new game. This allowed a player to not only import improved statistics, levels and equipment on recurring characters, but unlocked additional plot points and allowed for the recruitment of Suikoden’s hero in Suikoden II.

“Suikoden II” is a game that has left a lasting impact on the role-playing genre and continues to be celebrated by fans and critics alike for its engaging gameplay and compelling narrative.


The game boasts a diverse cast of over 108 characters, each with their own backstory, abilities, and role in the unfolding drama. From valiant warriors and cunning strategists to powerful mages, the characters of Suikoden II bring the game’s world to life with their unique personalities and motivations.


Suikoden II enhances the JRPG formula with strategic map battles, a dynamic party system, and an expansive world filled with secrets. The recruitment of characters is central to the gameplay, affecting the player’s ability to progress and revealing hidden layers of the story. The castle-building feature adds a personal dimension, allowing players to see the tangible effects of their journey.


Suikoden II is not just a game; it’s an experience that transcends its medium to tell a story about the human condition. With its unforgettable characters, deep strategic gameplay, and compelling narrative, it remains a seminal work in the world of JRPGs.

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