I’ve been a fan of the Suikoden games for a long time. Even through the disappointments that were the third and fourth games in the series, I’ve retained, on the whole, a positive attitude towards the series. I haven’t played Rhapsodia (retitled Suikoden Tactics for its English release) yet, but the fifth game in the main series was good.
I first encountered mention of Suikoden: Tierkreis for the Nintendo DS on Amazon.com when I was engaged in purchasing Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (which, by the way, rocks my socks). The trailers available showed me a different graphical style than I’m used to, so I looked up previews of the English version and reviews of the Japanese version of the game. Everything I read indicated that the game is neither in the main story nor even in the same world. Furthermore, it seems they’ve modified the gameplay to make it a stepping stone into the Suikoden games for newbies.
I decided to buy the game anyway. Different than what I’m used to, perhaps, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and the story still looked interesting.
It arrived today. I popped it into my DS, started it up, and within three seconds of the pre-start-screen video starting up, I noticed something that filled me with sadness: video compression jaggies. A pre-drawn, animated cutscene with video compression jaggies.
I find myself hoping that it’s an indication that this cartridge is jam-packed with so much gaming goodness they were forced to compress the animated scenes a little too much. I’ve never been one to put excessive stock in the beauty of a game. It’s nice for a game to look sweet, but not necessary if the gameplay is engaging enough to make up for it. I still don’t want it to look like crappy streaming media, though. I’d rather have cutscenes rendered with the game engine, like the previous Suikoden games.
I find this development especially interesting in light of the fact that when you load the game, listed along with the developer is mobiclip video codec. Mobiclip specializes in video codecs for handheld devices, it seems. And so far, I am unimpressed. If I were them, I don’t know if I’d really want my name displayed so prominently in connection with inferior video quality.
That said, I will now actually start playing the game. TTFN.
Edit: Less than three minutes into the game itself, it’s already displaying a lot of voice acting. For better or worse, at least I know the cartridge is being used.