I’m a huge fan of Japanese role playing games which has become a dying genre. The Playstation had a wealth of jrpgs over its life span but in the first two years of the consoles release there wasn’t much in the way of jrpgs (Beyond the Beyond which was terrible and Persona which was a mess). My parents had taken me to CompUSA to let me pick out a game and unfortunately, CompUSA didn’t have much of anything I wanted but I wasn’t leaving until I found a game. I came across Suikoden which had some terrible box art (later do you realize the cover has almost zero to do with the game) but the gameplay pictures on the back on the case looked like something I would dig but I wasn’t ready to seal the deal just off a few pictures. I went to the magazine rack and started flipping through an issue of EGM2 and it actually had a walkthrough of sorts (EGM2 at the time was full of guides and what not, wasn’t a magazine that typically had reviews) for recruiting all 108 playable characters. 108 PLAYABLE CHARACTERS!? Sold!
Visually, the game isn’t impressive, it looked like I was still playing a SNES game (a great soundtrack though more than makes up for that). The charm of the game though is the characters and the story. You play as a character who is the son of a great general and through setting out on a few missions for the empire, comes to find out about corruption and has to make the choice to look the other way or fight against it. 20 hours gets you through the game but if your looking to recruit all the characters, upgrade everything and find all the hidden items, it goes way past 50 hours.
The physical copy of the game might be a bit pricey to hunt down but at last check it was downloadable on the Playstation store. This cold be the best $10 you spend all year.
I don’t want to give much a way even thought this game is near 20 years old but if its a game better left to experience with not much knowledge of what happens. If I was putting together a list of my top 5 games, this would be in the top 3.