Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on Sep 6th 2014 at 04:33:03 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under konami, stars of destiny, nintendo, ds, rpg

Suikoden Tierkreis was the second Suikoden game made by Konami for a non-Sony system and was the first to be released outside of Japan. The first, Suikoden Card Stories, was released on the Game Boy Advance (Japan exclusive) and is basically a retelling of Suikoden II as a trading card game. Though I have no idea what I'm doing in that game due to the language barrier, I do know what's going on in Tierkreis. Tierkreis was the first Suikoden game released since Suikoden V on the PS2, and was anxiously awaited by fans of the series, since there was about a three year gap between these releases.

Tierkreis is a complete and total spin-off of the series. It has absolutely nothing to do with the main, numbered series. As a result, it introduces its own world with its own set of rules, all new characters, and new political entities. However, there are some familiar elements from previous games, such as the headquarters and the 108 Stars of Destiny to recruit (called Starbearers in Tierkreis).


Some of the most loved design choices from the main series are not present in this game. There are no tactical battles and there are no one-on-one duels. Technically, there are some one-on-one fights, but these take place in the normal, party-based battle system. The familiar cinematic system of dialogue and counters is nowhere to be seen and the weapon sharpening system has been "axed" in favor of equipped weaponry. What was a nice way for characters to have more defined personalities is replaced by an ultimately 'throwaway character' system.

Many of the plot elements are unfolded through the job board. A number of these entail the recruitment of more Stars, but some are just there for money making purposes. Thankfully, not all of the recruiting involves this board; you still have to explore towns and other areas to find out where people are hiding out. You make most of your money in this game by actually moving the plot forward, as you can turn in missions at the job board to earn a big paycheck.

One common element that Tierkreis carries over from the numbered series is the focuses on political machinations and the various ambitions of the independent rulers of their respective areas. However, unlike the main games, there are many different nations, kingdoms, tribal areas, and cities within the game world. There is a religious, militant, zealous imperial styled country, a magical kingdom, a city of porpoise people, a tribe of felines, a kingdom of swordsmen, and other smaller villages.


The world of Tierkreis is much larger than just the explorable area, as there are many worlds connected by gateways. There is actually a tribe that specializes in using these gateways to travel between worlds and use items they find to trade in other worlds. This mechanic allows characters from other worlds to visit your own, but sadly the reverse is not true. It would have been awesome to have small areas to explore in other worlds, while keeping the plot focused on the main world.

Interacting with other dimensions is not completely unique to this game. The idea of other, parallel worlds existing has been blatantly mentioned in previous games, including the first two, Suikogaiden II, Suikoden IV and Tactics. Some of the Stars from those games are theorized to be from other worlds, but this idea was never the focus of any of the stories, only one piece of a massive puzzle. Tierkreis is focused not only on the fact that these parallel worlds exist, but also how they are related to each other.

The lack of tactical battles in Tierkreis really hurts the feeling of grandeur that previous Suikoden games provide. Going into a different screen where there are units to maneuver, and tactics and strategy used to earn a victory is just much more satisfying. In Tierkreis you typically make one to three parties and each party gets a couple of normal battles (maybe a boss battle) and then you're on your way.


The music in Tierkreis is a big step down from the main series. Short loops make their return from the first Suikoden, but each area gets its own unique tracks. The visuals are quite nice for a handheld of the time, and most characters have multiple pieces of art to represent different emotions and facial expressions. The game even has voice acting, though I do not care much for it on the main characters. It sounds like somebody gave the voice actor for the main character an extra $20 to say all of his lines as fast as possible, and as a result, he is hard to understand. He also has a lame catchphrase: "We don't know what's going to happen until we try!" The other voices range from good to mediocre, but with the game's budget, it is better than one might expect.

Overall Tierkreis is a fine game for what is offered. Though the story is a bit simpler than the main series entries, it is worth a play even if you're not a fan of the series or if you are looking for a fun RPG to play on the go. If you've played the main games before, Tierkreis may feel underwhelming with all the changes and omissions. The game is fine for what it tries to do and give to the player. The story works well, but the localization is quite messy at times with punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes fairly consistent throughout the game.

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Psycho, I sure hope they kept the 108 Stars and politics - after all, the Suikoden games are all loosely based off the Chinese classic literary novel "Water Margin", which read phonetically in Japanese is "Suikoden".

I've been meaning to pick up a translated copy, as there is an entirely different set of historical Suikoden games from Koei that I've been looking to pick up.
That NES Suikoden game from Koei is not cheap...
This looks like an good game on the surface, but going by your review it makes me thing, "meh."  Oddly enough this was the way I felt about the second game upon having it explained to me by a friend.  Still might be worth a pickup, however.

I tried looking up "Suikoden famicom" and it appears to be using the box art for Bandit Kings of China.  Is is the same game?
@bombatomba: Yeah the NES game is called Bandit Kings of Ancient China. The Famicom release is Suikoden: Tenmei no Chikai I believe.
Koei released many of their early Famicom and Super Famicom titles on the PlayStation, and they should be cheap to pick up (but many don't have translations). I'm a fan of the Chinese literary classics, if you couldn't tell by my love of anything Romance of the Three Kingdoms. I still haven't picked up Water Margin, but I've been on the lookout for a translation version for a while now.
I don't know why, but I have always loved card based games. Looks like I definitely need to snag this one of the DS before it becomes too hard to find.
@Boshamp: Card Stories is in Japanese, and I have no idea what's going on in it. I also find the idea of Riou and Luca Blight going head to head in a game of Yugioh to be strange and oddly hilarious.
I didn't mean it as a comment on the game mentioned at the top of this blog, just in general that I loved card-based games; any time I see or hear of one, I am interested. Even though this one isn't card-based, the title is definitely one I will be keeping an eye out for as well.

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