Suikoden III, released as Genso Suikoden III (幻想水滸伝III) in Japan, is a role-playing game developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 video game console. It is the third installment in the main Suikoden series.
Suikoden III was a radical departure from the earlier entries in terms of gameplay mechanics. Several new mechanics were introduced and some series standbys were altered to compliment the new additions. The game still has three battle modes of Dungeon Crawling, Duels, and War Battles. For the most part Duels remain unchanged from previous titles.
One of the major changes is the introduction of a Trinity Sight System which give access to control three different main characters, such as Hugo son of the Karaya Clan Chief Lucia, Chris Lightfellow a Zexen Knight, Geddoe a mercenary from the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia. Aside from it, the Trinity Sight System also gives control to other three unlockable character.
Dungeon Crawling still involves exploring dungeons and towns, though the world map is now a series of points representing said dungeons and towns, and connected by roads you quickly traverse between areas. The battle system was altered extensively from the two previous titles. The player controls six man teams but the teams are broken up into three units of two, of which the player can only give one set of orders to one member of each unit. The other character in the unit will simply auto-attack when their partner recieves specific commands like using a rune. Two-party Unites Attacks can only be usable if the two characters involved are set together as a single unit and the new Mounted feature works on the same principle. Characters also now walk around on the battlefield during battle, and the game now puts into account casting times and action times. A character's stats/skills determines if they will have time to move to their target and perform an action. Some slower characters for instance might only be able to have time to reach their target but not be able to attack, whereas faster characters can quickly reach a target and even attack it several times in one turn. Magic is the biggest system affected by this new turn based system.
Spells now have casting times and characters and enemies alike can now be "knocked out" of chanting if they take enough damage before casting a spell. Players can avoid this by raising a characters skill in their magic which will decrease casting time, as well as increase the effectiveness of the spell. Due to the new element of taking account a 3D environment and your characters moving about the battle field, magic damage spells now have the ability to cause collateral damage to your own party if the player isn't careful about their party set-up, though friendly party members will usually try to move out of the way of a spell and defend during it to significantly lower the damage they take.
The Skill System is the other new feature of the game. Skills allow a player to customize their characters to be more effective and skills are directly linked to the new time/charge based battle system. Skills allow some basic things like increase damge, increase defense, and lower casting time for magic; but they also add new features like Swing which allows a character to attack a single target with multiple strikes of their weapon, or Holy Dash which allows slower characters to reach targets quicker, or Parry and Shield Protect which negate damage and counterattacks. The skill system adds a new layer of control over a character's growth and compliments the multiple rune customization system as well. The party can also put in a 7th party member who is a non-combat character who features support skills like the ability to use certain types of shops while in dungeons or increase potch and treasure gained in battle.
Army Battles now feature a new grid based map with several points interconnected by roads. Players command units that are placed on these points and are either composed of generic warriors or members of the 108 Stars of Destiny that have been collected. When units engage the enemy, the battles are played out the same as regular battles in the Dungeon Crawler aspect of the game except the players are mainly A.I. controlled and units are broken down into a Leader and it's subordinates. Victory is achieved by either eliminating all members of the unit or simply killing the Leader. When battles are initiated, players have the option of choosing: Fight, Defend, or Retreat. The individual actions of a character when Fight is initiated is determined by the A.I. though customization set-ups and levels from the dungeon crawler aspect are fully represented so the player can increase the odds of success with proper foresight.
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- This is the only Suikoden of the main series that wasn't released in Europe at the time of its original release.
- The game's events takes place 15 years after Suikoden II.
- This was the last Suikoden title that the series creator Yoshitaka Murayama worked on.
- This was the first numbered Suikoden entry to not be composed by Miki Higashino.
- This game has the most True Runes appearances in the whole series, with six.
- The Opening FMV of the game was produced by GONZO Studio who also produced famous anime series like Last Exile, Chrono Crusade, and Afro Samurai.